As the outdoor season comes to a close, men’s and women’s track and field are both gearing up to host the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships (Heps) this weekend. With titles in cross country and indoor track and field already under their belt, the men will strive for their second triple crown in two years. And with the women’s title all but guaranteed to go to powerhouse Penn, the Tigers will aim for for a second-place finish.
The men’s side boasts top-ranking athletes across all running, jumping, and throwing events. First-years Gregory Sholars and Simang’Aliso Ndhlovu are ranked fourth and sixth in the league in the 100 meters, respectively. Fellow first-year Michael Philippy ranks sixth in the 400 meter hurdles.
In the 110m hurdles, junior Joseph Daniels is only 0.01 seconds behind his top-ranking competitor with a time of 13.84 seconds, and first-year Christian Brown is ranked fourth in the event with a time of 14.21. In the 400m hurdles, first-year Taraje Whitfield and junior Gabriele Montefalcone take positions two and three.
Moving up in distances, two Tigers are ranked among the top six in the 1500m: sophomore Sam Ellis and junior Conor Lundy. Lundy is also seeded second in the 5000m, along with sophomore Matt Grossman and senior Jeremy Spiezio, who are ranked fourth and sixth. In the 10,000m, junior Viraj Deokar’s 29:34.18 makes him second in the league. After performing consistently well in the 3000m steeplechase throughout the season, sophomore Ed Trippas enters the meet ranked second.
In the jumps and throws, the Tigers have performed exceptionally well this season. Sophomore Jeff Hollis and senior Andrew Diehl are ranked one and two in the high jump, while junior Jesse Thibodeau ranks first in the long jump and over a foot ahead of the rest of the competition.
In the shot put, sophomore Kelton Chastulik ranks first with a mark of 17.96 meters. Sophomore Zorawar Otal ranks third in the discus. Coming off of a stellar first season, first-year Chandler Ault currently ranks second in the javelin and boasts the second spot on Princeton’s all-time list.
Meanwhile, senior and indoor Ivy League Champion Adam Kelly is seeking to defend his dominance in the hammer throw as he enters the meet ranked eighth in the NCAA and first in the Ivy League with a throw of 71.34 meters, which he set at the Sam Howell Invitational in early April.
“Our goal since late August has been to win the Triple Crown,” said men’s head coach Fred Samara — who has secured eight triple crowns in his 39 seasons at Princeton. To secure the third leg, he said, “we will need a very large and enthusiastic crowd in the stands on both days. So I hope everyone will come out a cheer us on to victory.”
The women’s team finished third at cross country Heps and fifth in indoor. A first-place finish — much less a triple crown — seems out of its reach, but head coach Michelle Eisenreich isn’t worried.
“Our team has competed exceptionally well at home this season and we look forward to exploiting the home track advantage,” she said.
The women’s distance team boasts a host of top-six seeds. Senior Jackie Berardo’s 2:06.34 800m at last weekend’s Larry Ellis invitational made her second-fastest on Princeton’s all-time record board and the second-fastest Ivy League runner this season.
Senior Allie Klimkiewicz is hoping to put a cap on an incredible final season with a 5k-3k steeplechase double. She is ranked sixth and second in those events, respectively; her time of 10:16.12 in steeplechase has dropped steadily throughout the season and now ranks fourth on the all-time school record list. Sophomore Sophie Cantine is also looking strong this weekend after running a personal best in the 1500m in early April. She is seeded fifth in the that race with a time of 4:22.29.
Two Tiger sprinters are ranked in the top three for the 100m hurdles as well. Seeded second with her time of 13.79, senior Ellie Randolph will look to improve upon her third-place ranking on the Princeton all-time list and vie for the gold this weekend. Senior Carly Bonnet will compete in the 400m hurdles and is currently ranked third with a time of 1:00.01.
After a second-place finish at the Ivy League Indoor Championships, first-year Hanne Borstlap is ranked third in the pole vault going into this weekend with a height of 3.90 meters. In the triple jump arena, Senior Kerri Davidson is also seeded third with a mark of 12.47 meters.
On the discus side, multiple women are ranked in the top six. One of them is sophomore Obiageri Amaechi. She last year placed seventh at the NCAA championship finals and this season set a new Ivy League record with a throw of 57.71 meters. Sophomore Julia Harisay and first-year Jalah Morris will also compete in the discus and are ranked fifth and sixth in the league respectively.
Junior Ellen Scott-Young will compete in the hammer and is seeded third this weekend with a mark of 57.14 meters, along with first-year Luisa Chantler Edmond, who is ranked sixth in the event with a mark of 52.04 meters. In the javelin, sophomore Rylie Pease is coming off a spectacular year after setting the Princeton school record in her season opener at the North Florida Spring Break Invitational with a throw of 48.01. She enters the competition ranked first, almost three meters ahead of the second-place seed.
“To have the meet at home is incredible special,“ said captain Klimkiewicz. Cantine agreed.
“We are so excited that Heps is at our house this year,“ she said. “We are looking forward to competing fiercely, with the home field advantage.”