Doing the event preview for the men’s long-distance events always involves some guesswork as many of these men won’t run either the 3,000m or 5,000m distances for the first time until Indoor Heps. It’s not to say that these men haven’t raced at all this indoor season – and some have not – but this unpredictability is what makes the guesswork most exciting.
Here’s what we do know. Based on the TFRRS rankings going into Indoor Heps, Dartmouth stands to gain the most points as they four men in scoring contention. Joey Chapin has the fastest 3,000m time in the conference (7:57.12), while teammate Curtis King is less than 3 seconds back. King is the defending Indoor Heps 5,000m champ. Brian Masterson and Nat Adams are within steps of each other in the 5,000m, sitting #2 and #3 in the conference rankings. Meanwhile, there is only one man in the top 6 of both long-distance events – Cornell’s Ben Rainero. The breakthrough he had during the cross country season has extended into the indoor season. Last year, he raced the mile, but will he move to the longer distances with this new strength? It will help Cornell’s scoring quite a bit if so. Columbia’s Tait Rutherford is the highest ranked member of the HepsXC championship team, sitting at #5 in the 3,000m. He won the Indoor Heps 3,000m in 2014 and he scored in both long-distance events last year. Keep an eye on some Brendans/Brendons in these races – Penn’s Shearn and Smith (who were both a part of the HepsXC runner up team and raced at NCAA XC) and Harvard’s Price – as these guys have improved their bests in these races and aim to score high for their respective teams.
But here’s what we don’t know. Will defending Indoor Heps 3km champion Thomas Awad contest either of those events? We know he has the wheels to possibly do the double but last year, he only raced the 3,000m and then anchored his DMR squad to victory. He had raced a competitive 3,000m going into the 2015 Indoor Heps for NCAA qualification, but he has not done that this season. Columbia’s Aubrey Myjer has yet to complete a race this indoor season (he hasn’t finished a race since HepsXC last October), so is he redshirting the indoor season? Princeton has usually closed the gap on Cornell in the team scoring through the distance events, but there is very Tiger presence in the top 20 of either event. Perhaps they are saving their speed for Indoor Heps scoring as those races tend to be more tactical than speedy affairs. If so, Michael Sublette and Sam Berger – All-Ivy during HepsXC – should be key scorers for the Tigers.
photo by Doug Austin
– Mary Boggs