The women’s distance entries appear to have more of the usual suspects than the men’s equivalent. But in general, it appears the titles in one or both of these events can go to one of four women – Princeton’s Elizabeth Bird, Dartmouth’s Dana Giordano, Brown’s Natalie Schudrowitz, and Harvard’s Courtney Smith.
Why one of these four? Bird is the reigning HepsXC champ who has filled in the shoes of the absent Megan Curham quite nicely. She has also proven to have quite a finishing kick as she ran a 4:38 mile earlier this season, so if the races get tactical, she could outkick the field for the win. Giordano is the two-time defending champion of the Indoor Heps 3,000m race who has a lifetime personal best of 9:07 in this event. Schudrowitz was an All-American this past cross country season and has the top seed time in the 3,000m (9:13.53) that ranks her #8 in the conference record book. Smith has also improved by significant margins this year and holds the top seed time in the 5,000m (15:46.44) that is the fourth best in conference history. It’s not uncommon for many of these athletes to do a 3,000m-5,000m double (typically entering the 5,000m with a “no time”), or they could drop down to the mile-3,000m double (as Giordano did last year, winning both events).
But who else can score? Cornell’s Caroline Kellner and Jackie Katzman are within scoring contention. Kellner is in the top 6 in both events going into this weekend and scored in the 5,000m last year. Columbia will be looking to Natalie Tanner to break up these favorites. Smith could get some scoring help from her teammates Emma Payne and Elianna Shwayder in the 5,000m. Payne has run both of these events multiple times this season, improving her mark each time – hopefully she can continue that trend this weekend. Penn has potential scorers in Cleo Whiting and Ashley Montgomery. Montgomery was also a First-Team All-Ivy in cross country this past year and ran at NCAAs so she is able to keep up with the speedy foursome to give the Quakers some needed points.
Now in the past years, the women have not been afraid to have the distance races be honest and not solely have it be a “sit and kick” kind of race. Last year, Curham attempted to use the Indoor Heps 5,000m race qualify her for NCAAs. Check out the Heps Meet top 10 lists to the right – many of these times have come in the last few years. Yes, it does go to show how talented the recent crops of runners have been but it also goes to show how fearless they are at the same time.
image by Doug Austin
– Mary Boggs