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Ellis, Cantine break records as men’s and women’s track and field prepare for Ivy Champs

<p>Junior Sam Ellis broke the school record for the mile with his finish at 3:57.66. Photo courtesy of Princeton Athletics</p>

Junior Sam Ellis broke the school record for the mile with his finish at 3:57.66. Photo courtesy of Princeton Athletics

Over the weekend, the men’s and women’s track and field teams traveled to Staten Island, N.Y., to compete at the Ocean Breeze Fasttrack Invitational and Boston, Mass., to compete at the Valentine Invitational, hosted by Boston University (BU).

With less than two weeks left before the Ivy League Championships (Heps), the Tigers were looking to post last-minute top marks to gauge their rankings in the league and gear up for the competitions ahead.

On the men’s side, the day was dominated by junior Sam Ellis, who posted a stellar performance in the mile. Ellis crossed the line in an outstanding time of 3:57:66, finishing second place overall, behind Harvard’s Kieran Tuntivate and breaking a 29-year Princeton record of 3:58:70, set by Bill Burke in 1991. 

For his record-breaking performance, Ellis was named this week’s GPT Athlete of the Week, presented by Coach USA. Reflecting on his performance in the mile — the first mile he has run this season — Ellis commented, “running under four minutes is a goal of every miler, and to run 3:57 for my first time is more than I could ever ask for.”

Though eager to see how he does in larger competitions late in the season, Ellis is, for now, “focused and locked in on Heps in two weeks” and will “start thinking about Nationals after we get the team win.” 

The 3000m was another exciting race for the Tigers, as seven men achieved personal bests, including senior Conor Lundy, who posted an impressive time of 7:58:30. In the 400m, sophomore Michael Philippy ran a season-best of 48.02, even with his shoe slipping off mid-race.

Later in the day, the 4x400m relay — comprised of Philippy, sophomore Greg Sholars, and first-years Klaudio Gjetja and Andersen Dimon — produced a season best of 3:41:13 to clinch first place in the event. Impressive marks were also posted at the Ocean Breeze Fasttrack Invitational, with the Princeton men dominating the shot put.

Sophomore CJ Licata won the event with a massive throw of 18.46m, and junior Kelton Chastulik finished close behind with a mark of 17.44m. 

The mile race at the Valentine Invitational proved to be an exciting event for the women as well. Junior Sophie Cantine crossed the line in 4:41.49, a time that ranks fourth-fastest in school history and currently number four in the Ivy League. Cantine is now the only woman in Princeton’s program history to rank top 10 all-time in the mile, 1K, and 3K.

“This was my first mile of the year/ season, and I had no idea what time I would run going into the race,” Cantine said. “I just chose to hang on to the front group from the start of the race and then gave it my all in the final 400m. It’s been great having my fellow miler and 800m teammates pushing me in workouts and having more teammates join our workout group as they come back from injuries and illness. I think we could accomplish a lot as a group over the next few months.”

Other impressive performances were recorded in the 500m and 1K at BU from first-years Charlotte O’Toole and Maggie Hock. O’Toole won her section in a personal-best time of 1:14.17. She currently ranks second in the Ivy League, behind Penn junior Uchechi Nwogwugwu  — last year’s 400m Ivy League Champion and Honorable Mention All-America.

Hock also ran a personal-best time of 2:47.79, which places her third on Princeton’s all-time list and second in the League, only 0.23 away from Yale sophomore Jocelyn Chau. At the Fasttrack Invitational, sophomore Hanne Borstlap jumped a personal record of 4.05m in the pole vault to place first in the event, with no misses. Borstlap’s mark ranks second in the Ivy League, 0.03m shy of the top performance.

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Up next, the Princeton Tigers will be hosting the Princeton Invitational this weekend at Jadwin Gymnasium, where a few athletes from both the men’s and women’s side will have one last opportunity to tune up before the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships are held the following weekend at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

Head Women’s Coach Michelle Eisenreich is looking forward to seeing what the Princeton Tigers do, as the team members have “worked hard and pushed themselves to new levels and have competed fearlessly.” 

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