iHeps ’16 – Men’s Mid-Distance

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This year, the Ivy League has seen three men go under 4:00 for the mile – Penn’s Thomas Awad, Cornell’s James Gowan, and Columbia’s Rob Napolitano.  Awad redefined how fast an Ivy Leaguer can go in the mile, running a 3:57.03 at last weekend’s Millrose Games.  But is this an event that he’ll do at Indoor Heps?  He did win the Outdoor Heps 1,500m last year after winning the 5,000m the night before.  I guess it will depend on what the coach thinks is best for him in the terms of the season’s plan and what is best for the team.  But if he doesn’t run the mile, Gowan and Napolitano won’t mind it at all.  Napolitano is the defending mile champion and wants to extend the Light Blue reign in the mid-distance events.  Gowans wants to be Cornell’s first mile champion since 2009.  It was an epic battle when they went head-to-head on Staten Island earlier this month, with Gowans prevailing in the final lap.  Indoor Heps could be the rematch the fans have been waiting for.

But of course, that rematch might not happen.  Napolitano also has the top seed time in the 1,000m with a flat-to-banked converted time of 2:23.79, and the #3 time in the 800m of 1:50.03. So will Napolitano go for another event if it is an easier path to 10 team points? If his 1,000m time is unconverted, he is about even with the #2 seed – Princeton’s Noah Kauppila, who has run 2:25.67.  Kauppila has the option of going for the 800m title as his 1:49.67 is good for a #2 spot behind Harvard freshman Myles Marshall (1:49.35).  We expect that 800m final to be exciting if both of these men make it.

There are plenty of men who can spoil the party in any of these events as the longer the races go, the more tactical it becomes (there have been a few times in recent years where it appears the men’s starting pace was about the same as the women…).  Keep an eye on Princeton’s Josh Ingalls and Harvard’s Jonah Aranda in the 800m; Columbia’s Spencer Haik, Cornell’s Sam Baxter, andPenn’s Kirk Webb in the 1,000m; and Yale’s James Randon and Dartmouth’s Joey Chapin in the mile.

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image by Doug Austin

– Mary Boggs

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