Yale senior Frances Schmiede has the League’s 1,000 record and is No. 3 in the mile, but she will not run in either. She is slated to contest the 800-meter run, giving Columbia senior Brittney Wade a solid challenge. Unless there is a health issue, that seems to set up the Bulldogs for a very strong charge in the distance medley relay. With Schmiede out of the 1k, that race becomes as open as the 500. Her absence in the mile makes Dartmouth senior Helen Schlachtenhaufen the top seed, but leaves Schmiede’s senior teammate Meredith Rizzo able to score big points.
Let’s go ahead and point out that last year Schlachtenhaufen won the mile, becoming the person with the longest unhyphenated last name — male or female — to win an Indoor Heps title. But even among the hyphenated, Schlachtenhaufen is tied with the longest winning name — joining Ibralate Stanley-Ikhilioju, who won the triple jump for Yale in 2004.
Harvard sophomore Gabrielle Thomas is going for her second straight three-peat in the 60- and 200-meter dashes and the long jump, but she has some serious competition.
Dartmouth freshman Cha’Mia Rothwell will battle Thomas in the 60 and the long jump, but also contest the 60-meter hurdles. The top six seeds in the hurdles are freshmen and the League record could be on the chopping block.
Harvard freshman Judy Pendergast is entered in both the 3k and the 5k. Columbia senior Henna Rustami has a 15-second advantage on seed time in the 3,000, but Brown junior Natalie Schudrowitz — who has a similar time to Rustami — has opted for the 5k.
Columbia junior Akua Obeng-Akrofi, who had the League’s best times in both the 400- and 500-meter dashes, will run the shorter race against Harvard senior Jade Miller. That leaves the 500 wide open with no one under 1:14 without a flat-track conversion.
It is confirmed that Cornell senior Rudy Winkler — the Heps’ record holder in the weight throw — is entered. That means he will be the first Indoor Heps competitor who has already represented the U.S. in the Olympic Games since 1953, when Columbia’s George Shaw took to the long jump runway. Two others — Yale’s James Fuchs and Vic Frank — had done that prior to Shaw.
Princeton junior Carrington Akosa, unsurprisingly, is entered in both the 60- and 200-meter dashes. But one of his expected 200-meter rivals, Yale senior Marc-Andre Alexandre, will not run the one-lapper, but instead the 400. Alexandre has not run the indoor 400 in nearly two years, but he did win Heps that year. Brown junior Tosin Oyewole, the top seed, suddenly has an unexpected challenge.
The schedule did not lend itself to let Harvard sophomore Myles Marshall to double, so we are expecting a strong effort in his 800-meter efforts. He may be focused on going out fast after getting tripped up in the 800 at the Armory a month ago at the Columbia East-West Challenge. His sole focus on the 800 also leaves the 500 pretty open.
Three of the League’s four sub-4 milers — Columbia senior Rob Napolitano, Penn senior Chris Hatler and Cornell senior James Gowans — will be running in the oft cat-and-mouse mile while the other sub-4, Yale senior James Randon, looks for a title in the 3,000.
Princeton junior Noah Kauppila is a strong favorite to defend his 1,000-meter title as no entrant has run within three seconds of his season best 2:21.52.
While Princeton senior William Brennan has a wide season lead in the 5k, it is worth noting that Indoor Heps will feature the 5,000-meter debut of his freshman teammate Conor Lundy, who was the League’s breakout star during the cross country season.