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HEPS Cross-Country Preview

Can Princeton Sweep Titles Again? We Know Their Women Can

By: LetsRun.com's Employee #1 And Coaching Guru JK
October 28, 2009

Last year, it was a black and orange celebration in the Bronx, as the Princeton men and women took home narrow and dominating victories, respectively. The men's 2008 race was led by three graduated seniors in champion Ben True, Mike Maag and Zac Hine. The men's race in 2009 will produce a new Heps individual champion and perhaps a new team champion. The Princeton women finished 5th at the NCAA Championships in 2008 and are headed for a similar finish this year (they're ranked #6 in the country).

On the men's side, Columbia returns a solid team after a close runner-up finish last year. Their 12th-place finish at Pre-Nats was impressive considering they had a guy go out and win the open race who, if placed in their top 7, would have moved them ahead of solid, previously-ranked teams like the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Lions will run the HEPS on their home course, as they do every year, and they'll even have the advantage of knowing the new course even better. Van Cortlandt Park is under construction, so the course is altered significantly.

We know Columbia is solid. If they have a weakness, it's the lack of a proven frontrunner, someone who can break into the top 5 in the race. Brendan Martin appears to be the guy to do it and is the 8th-best returner looking at last year's results.

We know Princeton is pretty good but not scary. They only managed 10th at the Roy Griak Invitational, and lost at home to Texas in their final Heps tuneup. Princeton has a bona fide individual threat in true sophomore Brian Leung. Frontrunning Leung has raced extremely well every time out this year, including winning the Princeton Invite by over 10 seconds with his teammate, XC freshman Donn Cabral, in 2nd. Leung made XC nationals as an individual as a freshman last year. Princeton has not suited up star Ben Sitler yet this year. Sitler, the league's top XC returner, studied abroad last fall and the Tigers flew him across the pond to compete at the Heps, leading them to a narrow win over Columbia. Sitler is rumored to have had surgery, but will he come out of the woodwork again in 2009?

In the middle of the pack are Dartmouth, Harvard, Brown and Cornell. Each of these teams have some quality up front but have questions in spots 2 through 5. Dartmouth has two runners running well in Chris Zablocki and miler Tom Robbins. Harvard's Dan Chenoweth ran a great race at Pre-Nats to get 8th in his section and almost cracked 24:00 (he ran 24:01). The absence of All-Ivy Chas Gillespie would really hurt the Crimson. He didn't run Pre-Nats.

Brown has a weak team after two studs up front. Christian Escareno is back from a hiatus and dependable Duriel Hardy is running well, as always. Both Escareno and Hardy ran well at Pre-Nats and should be in the top 8 on Friday. Cornell's Nate Edelman ran 23:42 on the Paul Short course in Bethlehem, PA almost a month ago. Edelman was runner-up in the 2009 Heps 10,000m race to his teammate Zachary Hine and has run 29:31 for the distance on the track. We expect he will be contending in the lead pack.

Women's Race
Princeton has one of the best teams in the country and will go unchallenged in this meet. They are led by Liz Costello, the odds-on favorite for the individual title. Harvard looks to have the next best team.

LRC Men's Team Predictions
1. Columbia
2. Princeton (without Sitler)
3. Cornell
4. Dartmouth

LRC Women's Team Predictions
1. Princeton
2. Harvard
3. Cornell
4. Brown

Top Individual Contenders
Brian Leung, Princeton
Nate Edelman, Cornell
Dan Chenoweth, Harvard
Donn Cabral, Princeton
Christian Escareno, Brown
Duriel Hardy, Brown
Tom Robbins, Dartmouth

If they're healthy, look out
Chas Gillespie, Harvard
Ben Sitler, Princeton

Get team previews and coach quotes from the great conference running site HepsTrack.com.

HEPS Men's Stats Courtesy Of John Kellogg

Brown (2008 - 5th)   In 2009 - 20th Pre-Nationals Blue

Berg, Erik (freshman - 1:54, 4:17)
Brett, Colin
Cooper, Kevin (Ireland - 3:55 1,500)
Duffy, Matt (33rd HEPS 2008, 18th returner)
Escareno, Christian (9th HEPS 2007)
Grogan, Conor (freshman - 9:26)
Haenle, John (26th HEPS 2008, 14th returner)
Hardy, Duriel (7th HEPS 2008, 4th returner)
Jack, Dillon (freshman - 4:16)
LaForgia, Matthew (freshman - 9:29)
Loeser, John (38th HEPS 2008, 23rd returner)
Schilder, Brian (47th HEPS 2008, 28th returner)
Shigenobu, Taro (freshman - 9:08)
Snyder, Austin (freshman - 9:21)

Columbia (2008 - 2nd)   In 2009 - 2nd George Mason, 12th Pre-Nationals White

Cowan, Blake (freshman - 9:15)
DeMatteo, Dominick (freshman - 9:16)
Feigan, Mark (freshman - 4:14 mile, New England XC champion)
Hartnett, Bobby (13th HEPS 2008, 8th returner)
Heck, Justin
Iglehart, Steven (freshman - 9:20)
Martin, Brendan (11th HEPS 2008, 7th returner)
Merber, Kyle (20th HEPS 2008, 12th returner)
Merra, Anthony (50th HEPS 2008, 31st returner)
Murphy, Michael (freshman - 9:22)
Poland, Tom (10th HEPS 2008, 6th returner)
Prial, Terence (35th HEPS 2008, 20th returner)
Snyder, Paul (freshman - 9:09)
Spencer, Leighton (freshman - 9:11)
Tansey, Liam (freshman - 1:52, 4:08)
Tsembelis, Evan (freshman - 4:13)
Veilleux, Benjamin (freshman - 9:13)

Cornell (2008 - 3rd)   In 2009 - 7th Paul Short, 1st PSU/Lock Haven

Arnold, Andy (freshman - 4:18)
De Silva, Matt (Purdue transfer - 14:24)
Edelman, Nate (17th HEPS 2008, 9th returner)
Frost-Tift, Joel (37th HEPS 2008, 22nd returner)
Hatch, Charlie
Johnson, Kevin (freshman - 9:06 2 mile)
Kasak, Max
Kelly, Brett (freshman - 9:05)
Kimple, Owen
Loy, Pete (18th HEPS 2008, 10th returner)
McCullough, Matt (freshman - 9:19 2 mile)
Micikas, Bobby (freshman - 8:23 3,000)
Shalla, Hassan (31st HEPS 2008, 17th returner)
Taylor, Dale
Trofa, Adam (freshman - 9:16)

Dartmouth (2008 - 4th)   In 2009 - 6th Paul Short, 16th Pre-Nationals White

Danaher, Mike (freshman - 9:25)
Doherty, Adam (freshman - 9:18)
Gault, Jonathan (freshman - 15:11)
Hall, Alex (34th HEPS 2008, 19th returner)
Robbins, Tom (19th HEPS 2008, 11th returner)
Romaniw, Anthony (freshman - 1:52)
Schroeder, John
Treadway, Kevin (28th HEPS 2008, 16th returner)
Zablocki, Chris (41st HEPS 2008, 25th returner)

Harvard (2008 - 6th)   In 2009 - 23rd Pre-Nationals Blue

Chenoweth, Dan (8th HEPS 2008, 5th returner, 42nd NCAA 2008)
Galebach, Phil (freshman - 9:25, FL finalist)
Gillespie, Chas (5th HEPS 2008, 2nd returner)
Gilmour, Jeremy (Great Britain - 3:52 1,500, 8:37 3,000)
Jarrett, Brandon (42nd HEPS 2008, 26th returner)
Pohorence, Sean (freshman - 4:17 mile, 9:08)

Penn (2008 - 8th)

Baird, Chris (36th HEPS 2008, 21st returner)
Black, Josh (freshman - 9:27)
Cawkwell, Philip
Chylak, Matt (freshman - 4:16)
Foy, Kevin (freshman - 4:18, 9:20)
Grau, Luke (27th HEPS 2008, 15th returner)
Kiley, Mike (freshman - 9:31 steeplechase)
Santillo, Austin
Sullivan, Kevin (46th HEPS 2008, 27th returner)
Tolev, Anguel
Welleck, Sean (freshman - 4:15)

Princeton (2008 - 1st)   In 2009 - 10th Notre Dame, 2nd Princeton

Amirault, Mark
Cabral, Donn (RS freshman - 4:09 mile, 8:56 2 mile, FL All-American, 14:08 freshman track season)
Callahan, Peter (freshman - 1:51, 4:05 mile)
Franklin, Michael (freshman - 9:07)
Galasso, George (freshman - 9:15, FL finalist)
Leung, Brian (6th HEPS 2008, 3rd returner, 121st NCAA 2008)
Mathabane, Nathan (freshman - 1:51, 3:50 1,500, 8:59)
Palmisano, Michael (freshman - 1:52, 4:13)
Predmore, Zach (49th HEPS 2008, 30th returner)
Price, Ted
Sitler, Ben (4th HEPS 2008, top returner, 3rd HEPS 2007, 212th NCAA 2007) ***Injured?***
Soloff, Kyle
Speare, Rob (25th HEPS 2008, 13th returner)
Van Ackeren, Trevor (39th HEPS 2008, 24th returner)
Webb, James (freshman - 8:55)

Yale (2008 - 7th)   In 2009 - 3rd PSU/Lock Haven

Bogdan, Matt
Brown, Max (48th HEPS 2008, 29th returner)
Dooney, Conor (RS freshman - 8:36 3,000)
Goutos, Demetri (freshman - 9:14)
Kirtner, Sammy (freshman - 8:35 3,000)
Labosky, Chris
Perrella, Jeff
Sheinbaum, Julian
Walden, Max

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