For the last few years when we’ve written the Outdoor Heps previews, I’ve received the following question from Navy alum Ronnie Harris – “When will my Heps Championship record in the 5,000m be broken?” Harris is quite proud to still hold the meet record of 13:53.74 from his 1987 win, but he is ok if someone else is takes it from him. The talent that is in the conference right now CAN break it. Penn’s Thomas Awad – the defending champ in this event – enters his final Outdoor Heps with a seed time of 13:41.77. Cornell’s Mark Tedder, Dartmouth’s Joey Chapin, and Harvard’s Brandon Price are within reach of the championship mark with their personal best times of 13:57.38, 13:58.35, and 13:58.57, respectively. Brown’s Will Sheeran is flirting with the 14 minute mark after improving 70 seconds over the course of the past year, while Cornell’s Ben Rainero is adjusting well to the 5,000m distance in his first year of actively competing in it. But will this final go out as fast as needed to break the championship mark? I’d say the odds are low as in recent years, the meet has been more tactical due to the competition and hot weather conditions.
Last year, the men’s 10,000m final had to be contested during the evening hours due to the 80 degree weather conditions that lingered during the championship weekend. This weekend is proving to be cooler and cloudier than last year (a bit more ideal for these athletes), so who will thrive the best? It’s hard to say since many athletes can be entered in this event for the first time this season and athletes typically only race this event once before Heps so fitness can improve over the course of the season. Cornell’s David Taylor is the conference leader going into this weekend – he finished 17th in this event last year. Dartmouth is looking for Curtis King, Brian Masterson, and Nathaniel Adams to make it to the podium. King and Adams did last year – King was the 2015 runner-up and Adams finished 6th. King is joined by Yale’s Kevin Dooney (3rd), Columbia’s Tait Rutherford (3rd), and Penn’s Brendan Shearn (5th) as returning scorers from 2015. Princeton’s Michael Sublette is also a potential scorer this year after improving his time by 40 seconds so far this year and finishing 14th in this event last year.
Meanwhile, Penn is looking to be the top team in the steeplechase. They have three men ranked in the top 6, Ross Wilson and two Heps steeplechase champions – Nick Tuck (2015) and Brendan Smith (2014). Best case scenario – they get 24 points with this threesome. But Cornell’s Connor Herr (3rd in 2015) and Yale’s Duncan Tomlin (4th in 2015) stand in their way in a potential 1-2-3 Penn finish as both men are capable of running 8:55. Princeton’s Eddie Owens is back on the steepling scene after not competing in 2015. His personal best in the event is on the same level as Tuck – 8:46 to Tuck’s 8:44. Last year, the athletes needed to run sub-9 to make the podium. We are guessing it will take the same again this year.
Ivy League Conference Rankings – Top 6 Distance
1. Awad, Thomas (Penn), 13:41.77
2. Tedder, Mark (Cornell), 13:57.38
3. Chapin, Joey (Dartmouth), 13:58.35
4. Price, Brandon (Harvard), 13:58.57
5. Sheeran, Will (Brown), 14:01.07
6. Rainero, Ben (Cornell), 14:04.27
1. Taylor, David (Cornell), 29:14.07
2. Shearn, Brendan (Penn), 29:28.83
3. Masterson, Brian (Dartmouth), 29:35.86
4. Sublette, Michael (Princeton), 29:37.90
5. Dooney, Kevin (Yale), 29:39.06
6. Rutherford, Tait (Columbia), 29:41.64
1. Tuck, Nick (Penn), 8:44.88
2. Tomlin, Duncan (Yale), 8:54.59
3. Smith, Brendan (Penn), 8:59.06
4. Wilson, Ross (Penn), 9:00.34
5. Owens, Eddie (Princeton), 9:00.97
6. Herr, Connor (Cornell), 9:03.11
– Mary Boggs
photos from the Ivy League