While students eagerly await the opening of the new football stadium next fall, most overlook the piece of land sandwiched between that site and Jadwin Gym.
The opening of the forgotten plot of grass and polyurethane is something the men's track team and head coach Fred Samara have been awaiting for a year and a half.
Saturday Princeton will christen the multi-million dollar William M. Weaver '34 Stadium with its first race, the Sam Howell Memorial. The track, which boasts wide lanes and a long turn radius, will hopefully aid the Tigers in their quest to recapture the Heptagonal title.
"We feel it is one of the best facilities in the U.S.," Samara said. "It is definitely the best one in the east."
The Howell meet, named in honor of Princeton's former athletic director, will be the first outdoor meet of the year for some of the team. But for most, it will be the second. Those individuals were competing in the Rutgers Invitational in Piscataway, Saturday.
The team, fresh off a spring break jaunt to Florida, was looking to solidify its lineup and prepare for the upcoming season. Princeton turned in plenty of solid individual performances, giving both Samara and the Tigers plenty to look forward to during the upcoming season.
Junior Brandon Delley turned in one of the five first-place finishes for the Tigers, capturing the 400-meter hurdles crown. Princeton garnered the top three spots in the event, with freshmen Robert Zimardo and Paul Gallup handing in solid performances to finish just off of Delley's time of 55.8 seconds.
Capturing another one of Princeton's five firsts on the day was junior Jason Melton. Melton, who finished seventh at Heptagonals last year in the long jump, outdistanced Rutgers' Reggie Funderburk by .13 meters, leaping 7.20 meters.
In the javelin competition, junior co-captain Royce Reed threw for 60.85 meters, good enough for second place. Reed also ran for the 400 relay team which captured first place.
The multi-talented Reed, who also competes in the 400 and 400 hurdles, is definitely one of the individuals the team will look upon to lead them in their quest for the Heps championship.
"Reed is definitely one of the keys, if not the key, to our team," Samara said.
Reed, who is coming off surgery in the fall, hopes to regain his past championship form. Last year, he was named to the All-Ivy team after garnering second-place honors in the 400-meter hurdles at Heps and finishing fourth at the IC4A Championships in the 400 meters.
Sophomore thrower Hugh Kennedy, a bright spot for the Tigers last season, won the hammer throw with a distance of 54.3 meters. Kennedy hopes to improve on his fifth-place performance at Heps last season.
While Princeton dominated the meet, the individual scoring format denied the Tigers from being crowned winners. The Tigers will certainly hope to break in their new stadium with a win Saturday.