NEW YORK - Dartmouth College plays host to the 2018 Ivy League Indoor Heptagonal Championships, which get under way Saturday at Leverone Field House and conclude Sunday.
The field events kick off the meet on Saturday at 10 a.m., with the men’s long jump, pole vault, and shot put finals taking place. The women’s finals in those same three events will follow, while the trials and semi-final heats on the track begin at noon. Aside from the 3,000m final that is ran on Saturday, most of the finals from the track take place on Sunday, along with the weight throw, high jump, and triple jump.
Similar to recent years, the men’s squad will once again bring a tough contingent of runners to the middle distance events.
Three of the four legs of the 2017 Indoor Championship 4x800m relay team return in juniors Josiah Langstaff, Sam Ritz, and Alek Sauer. Along with these three, Spencer Haik has put together a strong indoor season, and was a part of the winning 4x800m relay team during the indoor season of his freshman year.
The Lions own three of the top 10 times in the 800m this season in the Ivy League, led by Langstaff’s 1:50.85 during his last competition, the BU Valentine Invitational. Sauer has only ran one open 800m this season, but clocked the conference’s eighth best time at 1:51.45, while sophomore Willie Hall posted a 1:51.56 which puts him ninth.
Sauer enters the weekend with the Ivy League’s top 1,000m time, clocking a 2:22.09 during the Villanova Invitational on Feb. 3, which was the fifth fastest time in school history. Ritz is right behind Sauer in the Ivy standings in third at 2:23.03, while Langstaff is fifth at 2:23.53, and Haik is sixth at 2:24.34.
If Kenny Vasbinder enters the 3,000m run on day one, he will be among the favorites, as the sophomore has the third best time in the Ivy League this season at 8:08.68. In the 5,000m run, Aidan Goltra has the conferences 12th best time at 14:58.41, while Tal Braude can claim the 14th best time at 14:59.61.
In the field events, Robert O’Brien will likely provide a boost. The Columbia indoor and outdoor school record holder in the pole vault has cleared 5.20m (17-0.75) this season, which is the third best effort in the Ancient Eight. In the weight throw, Jack Pihlkar enters Heps with the eighth best throw at 16.60m (54’5.5) which is just ahead of Hunter Hasley, who is 11th at 16.09m (52-9.5).
A pair of seniors that return as Indoor Ivy League Champions are looking to have a big meet in their final Indoor Heps.
In the history of the Ivy League Indoor Heptagonal Championships, only Sarah Hardie has won the 1,000m run. When the conference first put in the five-lap race during her rookie season, Hardie took the tape in 2015, then did the same as a sophomore in 2016, before following that up last year. The school record holder in the event has yet to compete in a 1,000m run this season, after excelling in the 1 Mile run this winter. Hardie enters the weekend as the Ivy League’s top Miler, and has a shot at competing in the NCAA Indoor Championships after a 4:40.69 (4:37.94 conversion) last weekend during the UCS Invitational, while she has also clocked a school record of 4:39.11 this season.
The Ivy League standings in the 400m and 500m have the same name at the top of the board: Columbia’s Akua Obeng-Akrofi. The senior has a 53.48 to her name in the 400m, and returns as the 2017 Indoor Heps Champion at the distance. Obeng-Akrofi has also excelled at the 500m this spring, clocking a 1:11.48, which is the conference’s best time by 1.55 seconds.
Depending on the arrangements of the 4x400m relay, 4x800m relay, and DMR, the Lions should be a threat to take the tape in all three events. Along with Obeng-Akrofi’s top 400m time, Iman Sule has ran the sixth best time in the Ivy league at 55.98 this season, while Sydney Petersen went 56.92 for 10th. At 500m, Terri Turner (4th/1:14.05) and Petersen (6th/1:14.48) provide the Lions with depth in the event, and in the relays. At the BU Valentine Invitational, Bianca Alonzo crushed a previous PR in the 800m by over three seconds when she ran 2:08.29, giving her the conferences fourth fastest time, with Turner’s season-best not far behind in 2:12.70.
Although she has won a Cross Country Heps Title this past fall and holds All-Ivy honors in Outdoor Track & Field and Cross Country, senior Nell Crosby is still seeking her first individual Heps title. An All-American during the outdoor season of 2017, Crosby enters the weekend with the top time in the 3,000m run at 9:19.84 from the BU Valentine Invitational when she topped a number of Ivy League runners to give her the fourth best time in school history.
The other distance race features another Lion at the top of the standings in sophomore Abby McLaughlin. During the same meet where Crosby impressed, McLaughlin finished third overall in the 5,000m at 16:27.73, giving her the fifth best time in school history, and unseating Princeton’s Megan Curham previous top time of 16:32.27.
Additionally, Columbia should look to score points this weekend in a number of field events. Maryam Hassan enters the weekend with an 11.81m (38-9) effort in the triple jump, as she looks to improve on her third place finish at Indoor Heps a season ago. Alexis Turley-Young posted the seventh best long jump this year in the Ivy League at 5.73m (18’9.75), while Grace Campbell has the sixth best high jump at 1.71m (5-7.25), and Abigail Sharkey sits eighth in the pole vault at 3.70m (12-1.5).