The 800m may very well be one of the most exciting events of the meet as it could feature epic inter- and intra-team showdowns. The top 5 places in the league heading into this weekend belong to either Columbia or Princeton athletes and currently sitting 1-2 are Columbia senior teammates Connor Claflin and Brendon Fish. At the Indoor Heps this past winter, they brought home two individual mid-distance titles for the Lions – Claflin won the 800m while Fish took the 1000m. Fish has the best time of the season with a 1:48.08 and is the top returning athlete (2nd last year) while Claflin has run 1:48.79 outdoors. If both of them choose to run, their duel for the title and quest for Columbia’s continued middle distance domination will certainly be one to watch. But look for them to be challenged as 4 other athletes have gone under 1:50 so far this season – Joshua Ingalls (Princeton), Bradley Paternostro (Princeton), Rob Napolitano (Columbia), and Henry Tuftnell (Brown). Also keep an eye out for Penn junior Drew Magaha who was 2nd at Indoor Heps and could be ready to shake things up.
The 1,500m could also prove rather interesting depending on how the entries shape up. Penn junior Tommy Awad has the best time of the season with his 3:40.68 performance at the Larry Ellis Invitational (6th all-time in Ivy history), but whether or not he will run remains to be seen. As the top seed in the 5k and the defending champion in the 10k, adding in not one but two 1500m races may be a bit much for even him to handle. Regardless of whether or not he runs though, expect there to be stiff competition for the title. Paternostro and Napolitano (2015 Indoor Mile champ) have run 3:42.88 and 3:44.69 respectively this season and could help make the race hot should they decide to forgo the 800m. Also look for Yale senior James Randon to be in the mix of things as he is the top returner from a year ago (6th) and was a scorer this past winter (5th). Rounding out the top 6 are Brown junior Ned Willig and Cornell junior Ben Rainero.
– Rachel Sorna
photos by Doug Austin