Posts Tagged ‘Tora Harris’

A Change is Gonna Come?

Posted: 6 January by Brett Hoover in Cornell, Princeton
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The Big Green men’s and women’s squads — playing host to the Dartmouth Relays — aren’t the only teams taking to the track around the League this week. Cornell and Princeton will also lace ’em up as the Big Red hosts the Cornell Open at Barton Hall on Friday and Princeton heads to Annapolis, Md., to face off with Navy Saturday.

Do you know you have to travel back in time, May of 2002 in Annapolis to be exact, to find the last time that a team other than Cornell and Princeton won a Heps track and field championship. That’s 32 championships in a row. Eight indoor. Eight outdoor. Both genders.

The last team to beat the Red Tigers (or Big Orange) was the Penn men at the 2002 Outdoor Championships and those Quakers needed to close the meet with a record-setting performance in the 4×400-meter relay to beat the Tigers by just two points. I remember that well as a combination of that close finish coincided with Princeton’s Tora Harris clearing 7-7 in the high jump as a nasty storm rapidly descending on Thompson Field. I don’t even recall if the typical awards ceremony even took place as everyone scrambled for shelter.

It is crazy to think that last time a team other than the Red or Orange, men or women, won a Heps track title, we had never heard of the Beltway snipers or American Idol, the U.S. had yet to invade Iraq and baseball Hall of Famer Ted Williams was alive.

Could this be the year for a change?

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Nine different Ivy Leaguers have been named to Track & Field News‘ year-end national rankings, including three that the ‘Bible of the sport’ considers to be in the top 10 in the world.

Ageless Adam Nelson of Dartmouth, a three-time Olympian, was Heps’ top-ranked athlete on the world stage, tabbed seventh globally in the shot put (third in the U.S.). Two other former Heps champions — Anna Pierce of Brown and Morgan Uceny of Cornell — were ranked eighth and ninth in the world in the 800-meter run. Each was ranked in the top 10 in the U.S. in both the 800- and the 1,500-meter runs. Pierce was second in the 800 and sixth in the 15 while Uceny was third in each.

While not ranked in the top 10 in the world, Dartmouth’s Sean Furey was the only Heps athlete to hold down a top spot in the U.S. in his specialty, the javelin throw. Brown senior Craig Kinsley, the NCAA champion in that discipline, is ranked third nationally.

Kinsley is one of three active Hepsters to be ranked, joining a pair of Princeton steeplechasers. Junior Donn Cabral is ranked eighth among the men and senior Ashley Higginson fifth for the women.

The final two Ivy Leaguers in the rankings are each multiple League champions — Princeton high jumper Tora Harris (fourth) and Columbia steeplechaser Delilah DiCrescenzo (ninth).

Confession time. Right before Outdoor Heps, I was running a series on Heps’ most unbreakable records. Things got really busy and I never finished it. Then I just ignored it, like it never happened. I had 10 of the 12 done, but never wrote about high-jumping legends Dora Gyorffy of Harvard and Tora Harris of Princeton. So…. now that I discovered the polling feature on here, I opt to give you the final say.

By the way, that’s Tora in the middle in this photo. I was on hand in 2002 to watch him as a storm was rapidly approaching Outdoor Heps in Annapolis. Word came to me that a timers’ cable was laying inside of Tora’s approach path, so I wandered over to see for myself. It was true, but I didn’t want to disrupt his preparations. I was in discussion with the timer, pointing to the cord, when Tora walked passed and said, “It’s fine.” About 20 seconds later he cleared 7-7. So I vote for that!