In both hurdle events, all of last year’s scorers are returning. No team looks to gain a huge advantage in this event, with athletes spread relatively evenly among teams. Max Hairston (Cornell), the defending champion in both the 110H and the 400H and the 2014 Track MVP, will need a breakthrough performance to pull off the double again this year.
With Hairston returning to form, he will be the one to watch once again in the 110H. He has been cutting down his times all season and sits in a good spot right now, leading the season rankings with a time of 14.00, just 0.06 seconds off his winning time from last year. Not far behind at all is Jarvis Harris (Harvard), the 2013 champion ahead of Hairston and the 2012 runner-up. He did not compete at oHeps last year. He ran a new wind-legal PR early this season of 14.05 but has consistently been running top-4 times. He will be looking to repeat his 2013 performance for the win. Greg Caldwell (Princeton), last year’s runner-up, will be looking to score for a third consecutive year. His current season best of 14.29 is exactly the time he ran to place second last year. His teammate Robert Mohr has been a consistent scorer in the past and will likely be in the running again this year. Ben Bowers (Penn), another returning scorer, currently sits in 5th. Last year he PR’d in the 110H prelims by 0.11 seconds. The highest-ranked freshman is Paedyn Gomes (Yale), though his best times are all wind-aided. He and fellow freshman Jay Hebert (Harvard) could break up the field of veterans.
The 400H will be the much bigger challenge for Hairston, whose time from last weekend ranks sixth right now. It was his third time running the event this season, and he has made big cuts each time. However, he is still over two seconds off of his winning time last year. This race will be interesting this year – even though all six scorers are returning, Tom Timmins (Penn) is the only one so far to run faster than last year’s sixth-place time. He leads the field this season by over 1.5 seconds with 51.74. The time is a PR for Timmins and is his most recent 400H race. He is the only one this season to break 53 seconds, which he has done in two out of his three races. After placing third in 2013 and fourth in 2014, this will be his year to go for the win. Greg Leeper (Princeton) will be another to look out for. He has consistently run in the 53-54 range since April and scored last year as a freshman. His season best was just run this past weekend. Corey Hammond (Columbia) will be another potential scorer, sitting in third right now. His PR is from last year’s finals. Edward Wagner (Dartmouth), last year’s runner-up, is in the mix as well. Harris is the only athlete besides Hairston to be ranked in the top six of both the 110H and the 400H. He is currently fifth with a time of 53.69. His times have not been super consistent, so it is hard to predict where he will end up. Still, he is likely to be in scoring contention.
– Susan Rodriguez
top photo by Doug Austin; Timmins image by Bill Shearn