Three sub-four seniors had excellent outings over the weekend to share the award. Penn’s Chris Hatler (Sparta, N.J.) ran a 3:42.89 for 1,500 meters at the Stanford Invitational while Columbia’s Rob Napolitano (Brick, N.J.) won the event at the Florida Relays in 3:43.50. Cornell’s James Gowans (Mexico, N.Y.) won the mile run at the Bob Larsen Distance Carnival at UCLA in 4:00.73. Hatler’s race drew international interest because an official simply wandered into the path of the runners more than midway through the race, causing a collision. Hatler was nearly derailed, but a Barry Sanders’ move to the outside allowed him to continue.
Competing in his home state, Penn freshman Sean Clarke (Longwood, Fla.) cleared 5.07 meters (16-7 1/2) in the pole vault at the Florida Relays. That is not only the best clearance in the League so far this season, it is the best mark by any freshman in the Eastern United States. Only one freshman in the entire U.S. has soared higher than Clarke in 2017.
There were several stellar performances this week, but no one could match the exploits of Harvard sophomore Gabby Thomas (Florence, Mass.), who put on a show at the Florida Relays. She broke her own League record in the 100-meter dash (11.24) and posted the East’s top time in the 200 (22.60). Nationally, Thomas is ranked third in the 200 and seventh in the 100.
Penn freshman Elena Brown-Soler (Chamblee, Ga.) and Harvard rookie Simi Fajemisin (Oxford, U.K.) share the rookie award after strong showings at the Florida Relays. Brown-Soler ran on two record-breaking relays as the Quakers finished the 4×1 in 45.31 (No. 3 Heps all-time) and the 4×4 in 3:37.94. Fajemisin — who also has the league’s best long jump this spring — moved into the Heps’ top 10 in the triple jump with a 12.78-meter leap (41-11 1/4) in Gainesville.