As the indoor track season draws near with the Indoor Heptagonal Championships in less than two weeks, the Princeton track and field teams look towards the spring to continue their success.
Last year on the men’s side, the Outdoor Heptagonal Championships came down to a meet between Princeton and Cornell. It was a tight battle after the first day of competition as Cornell led Princeton by only a 2-point margin – 45 to 43 points. The first day of competition mostly focused on field events where the teams were closely matched.
After the first day, however, Cornell proved to be too much to handle. They eclipsed 200 points, the first time in Ivy League history, and pulled away from the Tigers. Princeton finished in second with 157 points, while Cornell tallied 211 points for the victory. Notable individual performances included now-senior captain Greg Leeper winning the 400m hurdles, now-senior captain Chris Cook winning the shot put followed closely by current junior Mitchel Charles, and Princeton going 1-2 in the pole vault with current junior August Kiles finishing second. Additionally, current junior Carrington Akosa took second in the 100m and third in the 200m. Current sophomore Adam Kelly also finished second in the hammer throw. The Tigers also won the 4x100m relay and finished second in the 4x800m relay.
This year, however, the Tigers look poised to strike back. The team has a freshman class which is already contributing to the program and last year’s young talent has matured and improved. The team lost several exceptional seniors last year, but as a group, Princeton has only gotten stronger than their former selves. The team has frequently been quoted as one of the most talented in the program’s history, so they look to prove their worth and reclaim the lost crown this spring.
On the women’s side, the competition also came down to Princeton and another team, this time Harvard. Princeton looked to upset the heavily favored Harvard team, and after the first day, Princeton held an 11-point lead over Harvard, 48 to 37 points.
On the subsequent day, however, Harvard was able to just outpace the Tigers and come away with its third title in a row. Harvard scored 160 points while Princeton took second with 139 points. Now senior captain Allison Harris won the pole vault and took fifth in the 100m hurdles, current junior Kennedy O’Dell took third in the discus throw and fifth in the shot put, and current senior Elizabeth Bird finished third in the 3000m steeplechase. In an exciting race, the Tigers also claimed the 4x400m relay victory and finished second in the 4x800m relay.
The women’s track team will miss some of last year’s seniors who played a large role in the team’s success at the Outdoor Heptagonal Championships. However, the team has been able to fill the voids with new youthful talent and athletes stepping up. They will face another tough challenge with the Harvard team, but the team has tallied several great performances during the indoor season and hope to keep it rolling heading into the outdoor season.
The men’s team will open up their outdoor season at the Penn Challenge held in Philadelphia, PA, on March 25. The women’s team will compete at the North Florida Invite held in Jacksonville, FL, on March 24. Both teams will head to the Stanford Invite in Stanford, CA, on the weekend of March 31.