Archive for January, 2011

Former Harvard standout Lindsey Scherf was the early news at the 2011 USA Half Marathon Championship in Houston, Texas, over the weekend. Not content to let the field relax, Scherf took off on a 5:17 first mile to set the pace and would hold on for a seventh-place finish (1:13:40).

The event — which served as a preview of the course being used for the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon next January — was won by Mohamed Trafeh on the men’s side and Jen Rhines on the women’s.

Both Scherf and former Columbia star Loretta Kilmer finished below the Olympic Trials’ qualifying standard of 1:15. Kilmer cut it very close, finishing 11th in 1:14:59. On the men’s side, Princetonian David Nightingale was 11th as well, beating the men’s qualifying standard by 31 seconds (1:04:29).

Here’s a post-race interview with Scherf.

Also in Heps’ alumni news, I just noticed that two former Heps champions and Olympians were among the top 20 quotes from 2010 as selected by LetsRun.com readers.

A year ago, talking about the experience of competing at the Millrose Games, Dartmouth graduate Adam Nelson said, “It’s definitely a circus, and we’re the big animals that people come to see.”

Brown grad Anna Pierce, after winning the USATF 1,500m final, talked about finishing eighth earlier in the season. “Sometimes I think maybe it’s good to get your a** kicked.”

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We warned you we were going to do this after the weekend. We took the updated performance lists, applied Ivy scoring in the events that will be contested at Indoor Heps and now we are giving you the results.

First, yes it is too early to do this because not everyone has competed in some of the less-frequently contested events. Yes, there are athletes racking up points that they couldn’t compile in a single meet. Yes, some athletes have yet to peak. Yes, it is unfair to compare because the teams have been competing on differing tracks that yield different results. Yes, apples are not oranges.

We agreed with all of that and, yet, it does not stop us from doing it. And, in brief, make your plans for the Armory now because it will be fiercely competitive. (By the way, 500 people have said they are coming, when will you join them?)

On the men’s side, thanks to a remarkable weekend for the Princeton Tigers, there has been a flip at the top. Heading into the weekend, Cornell had a wide margin, but now Princeton has shuffled the deck. Here are the new men’s pre-Heps results as of the end of January:

1. Princeton, 200; 2. Cornell, 183; 3. Dartmouth, 85; 4. Penn, 49; 5. Columbia, 23; 6. Yale, 22; 7. Brown & Harvard, 13.

For the women, we reported last week that it would be close. We know that Princeton will dominate the distance races and, possibly, the throws, but will Columbia be able to outbattle Cornell in the sprints and jumps to claim its first title? Will Cornell find enough points across the board to upend both of them? Here’s how it looks today:

1. Princeton, 129 3/4; 2. Columbia, 128; 3. Cornell, 107 1/4; 4. Dartmouth, 51; 5. Brown, 46; 6. Harvard, 26; 7. Penn, 20; 8. Yale, 19.

Flame away!

MALE ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Wow. Princeton junior Austin Hollimon (Decatur, Ga.) produced the most stunning of a series of stunning marks from the Tigers at the Armory’s NYRR Saturday Night at the Races. His winning 400-meter dash time of 46.47 was two seconds clear of the field and the fourth-best in the nation this winter. It was also the second-fastest indoor 400m in Heps history, just .13 behind Erison Hurtault’s 46.34 in 2007. Hollimon wasn’t done. He also anchored the Tigers to a winning 3:11.63 time in the 4×400-meter relay, breaking the school record and placing third all-time in Heps’ history. Princeton claimed the team title on Saturday as well.

2010-11 Athlete of the Week winners
Dec. 5 — Nick Huber (Cornell)
Dec. 12 — Darcy Wilson (Harvard) & Austn Hollimon (Princeton)
Jan. 9 — Bob Belden (Cornell) & Russell Dinkins (Princeton)
Jan. 16 — Maalik Reynolds (Penn)
Jan. 23 — Marty Evans (Yale)
Jan. 30 — Austin Hollimon (Princeton)

MALE ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Dartmouth’s Jalil Bishop (Twinsburg, Ohio) had a sensational 200-400 double over the weekend at the Terrier Classic at Boston University, recording top-five times in the League in each event. His 22.03 in the 200-meter dash is the second-fastest overall, although three other freshmen are within .12 of his time! His 49.38 in the 400-meter dash is fifth overall and tops among first years.

2010-11 Rookie of the Week winners
Dec. 5 — Chris Bain (Cornell) & Kinsley Ojukwu (Cornell)
Dec. 12 — Tom Hopkins (Princeton)
Jan. 9 — Damon McLean (Princeton)
Jan. 16 — Maalik Reynolds (Penn)
Jan. 23 — John Spooney (Brown)
Jan. 30 — Jalil Bishop (Dartmouth)

FEMALE ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
Things have gotten kinda tough for the selection committee. And when times get tough, the selection committee wilts, naming three women as this week’s top athletes — Columbia junior Sharay Hale (Detroit, Mich.), Cornell junior Melissa Hewitt (Brampton, Ont.) and Princeton senior Ashley Higginson (Colts Neck, N.J.). Hale was a second faster than any collegian in an elite 400-meter field at the Penn State National Invitational, winning in 53.77, a time that is ninth nationally. She also ran a personal-best 24.15 in the 200, the second-fastest time in League history. Hewitt simply dominated at the New York Road Runners’ Saturday Night at the Races held in the NYC Armory. She won the 60- (7.46) and 200-meter dashes (24.55) as well as the long jump (18-10 1/2) as the Big Red held off Princeton and Villanova for the team title. Her 60m time is one-hundredth of a second behind Jeomi Maduka’s all-time Heps record. Higginson put down a remarkable 3k time at the Armory, winning in 9:14.47. That is the sixth fastest time in the nation this winter and has been bettered, indoor or outdoor, by only four Ivy Leaguers — Jenny Stricker, Lynn Jennings, Kate O’Neil and Cack Ferrell.

2010-11 Athlete of the Week winners
Dec. 5 — Kate Grace (Yale) & Brynn Smith (Brown)
Dec. 12 — Thanithia Billings (Princeton)
Jan. 9 — Thanithia Billings (Princeton) & Melissa Hewitt (Cornell)
Jan. 16 — Kim Standridge (Cornell) & Sharay Hale (Columbia)
Jan. 23 — Kate Grace (Yale)
Jan. 30 — Sharay Hale (Columbia), Melissa Hewitt (Cornell) & Ashley Higginson (Princeton)

FEMALE ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Columbia’s Tara Richmond (Long Beach, Calif.) has taken honors for the second straight week, clearing 1.75 (5-10 1/2) in the high jump and bounding 11.92 (39-1 1/4) in the triple jump at the Penn State National Invitational. The high-jump mark places her in the League’s top 10 all-time, but it came with a lot of suspense. She missed twice at 5-8 3/4 before clearing and then missed her first try at 5-10 1/2. Richmond is now tied for 15th nationally in the event.

2010-11 Rookie of the Week winners
Dec. 5 — Colby Lubman (Brown) & Gabrielle Piper (Penn)
Dec. 12 — Alaina Murphy (Harvard) & Kristin Smoot (Princeton)
Jan. 9 — Kristin Smoot (Princeton) & Katelyn Walker (Dartmouth)
Jan. 16 — Marvellous Iheukwumere (Columbia)
Jan. 23 — Tara Richmond (Columbia) & Monica Adler (Dartmouth)
Jan. 30 — Tara Richmond (Columbia)

And for the stat-minded among us:
Princeton, Cornell and Columbia at the NYRR Saturday Night at the Races (New York, N.Y.)
Brown and Yale at the Boston Indoor Games (Roxbury, Mass.)
Dartmouth at the Terrier Classic (Boston, Mass.)
Penn at the Wesley A. Brown Invitational (Annapolis, Md.)
Harvard and Dartmouth at the Harvard Multi-Meet (Cambridge, Mass.)
Columbia at the Metropolitan Championships (New York, N.Y.)
Updated Heps Performance Lists


From Cornell assistant coach Artie Smith: “The Cornell men will compete in the 104th Millrose Games tonight at Madison Square Garden. The Big Red will race in the Gotham Cup Challenge College Men’s 4×400 at 8:20 pm and will also line up a competitive squad in the Byron Dyce Men’s College 4×800 at 8:44 pm. The meet will be televised live on ESPN2 from 8 to 10 pm tonight. Entries and other information can be found at millrose-games.com.

The fields for those races have not yet been posted online and HepsTrack has reached out to sources for more information. Hope to bring it to you soon.

Back On The Good Foot

Posted: 28 January by Brett Hoover in Athletes, Dartmouth
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At Outdoor Heps in Philadelphia two years ago, Dartmouth’s then-sophomore Alex Tanner had a breakthrough. Her winning time in the final of the 400-meter hurdles (59.04) was the fastest at the Championships in nine years and the fastest by any Ivy Leaguer in any meet in five.

What would she do for an encore in 2010? She told Austin Major of The Dartmouth recently that she had a “dismal season.” By the end of the year, she did run within a quarter-second of her winning time at Outdoor Heps, but this time it was good for only fourth place.

She told Major, “I had a rough time getting back into track last indoor season after my off-term — needless to say, I was kind of out of shape. When you’re used to doing well, not doing well becomes unacceptable. I told myself no matter how much it hurt, I would get back to where I needed to be before the year ended, and by mid-outdoor I had, and this year I’ve already improved even more.”

To say the least. The senior captain has already matched the school record in the 60-meter hurdles, which isn’t necessarily her specialty. More impressively, she recently ran a personal-best 56.14 in the 400-meter dash, which is second only to Sharay Hale of Columbia this winter. She also anchored the Big Green to a win in the 4×400-meter relay at the Dartmouth Relays as her success is spilling over to the underclassmen. Coach Sandy Ford-Centonze explained that that’s why she is the team’s captain. “She is someone that will push herself beyond her limits,” she said. “And will also push her teammates.”

The pushing continues this weekend at the Terrier Classic in Boston.

The Green, Black and Gold

Posted: 27 January by Brett Hoover in Athletes, Princeton
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It is no longer a secret that track and field is a national obsession on the island of Jamaica. There are far more Jamaican flags waving about in the stands at the Penn Relays than red, white and blue ones. And when I lived in New Jersey, I couldn’t catch the bus without running into a Jamaican track hero as former George Mason middle-distance star Simon Bowen was my neighbor and remains a close friend.

There hasn’t been a huge migration from the land of Marley to the Ivy League, but there have been some notable exceptions. Brown grad Mark Thompson represented the homeland in the 400-meter hurdles at the 1992 Barcelona Games while Harvard’s Nicky Grant has won several Jamaican hammer throw titles.

And the latest Jamaican looking to conquer Heps is Princeton freshman Damon McLean, who is the League’s top triple jumper this year. Paul Burrowes of the Jamaica Observer recently caught up with McLean, who said that he chose Princeton because he “watned to grow both intellectually and athletically.”

He reported that “academics take the forefront” in the Ivy League. “I eventually decided to enter the Ivy League, especially Princeton, because I found the coach to be a great one … that is capable of helping me better myself,” McLean told Burrowes. “I really want to establish myself on the national scene. I know this will take time, but with the experience of the coaching staff and my work ethics, I know I will continue the strong tradition of Jamaican jumpers in the NCAA.”

He will also look to continue a remarkable line of Ivy TJers, which include NCAA Champions Rayon Taylor and Muhammad Halim and world championship qualifier Samyr Laine.