Conference Championship Previews: Northeast

This weekend is when all the college conferences have their championships. I’ll be previewing all of them right here.

I’ll be breaking the previews down into groups by the five regions I use for team rankings.

Today I’m going with the Northeast. An easy one to start with, because every Northeast conference but one had their championship last week. So just a preview of the Heps (really the Ivy League, and why it’s called the Heps is a long story).

Rankings in the previews refer to my own college team rankings.

Heptagonal Championships

Saturday and Sunday at Cornell’s Barton Hall
Championship Central

Men’s meet

Nationally-ranked teams: #21 Princeton, #25 Cornell
Regionally-ranked teams: #3 Princeton, #4 Cornell, #15 Columbia, #21 Harvard, #24 Dartmouth

Analysis: You have to go back to 1997 to find a men’s Heps indoor champion besides Princeton or Cornell, and that streak will almost certainly continue. The Tigers are the two-time defending champions, but the Big Red have the home advantage. I rate this one as a complete toss-up.

Events to watch
Weight Throw (11 AM Saturday). In his first meet back after a long layoff, Princeton’s Conor McCullough destroyed the Ivy League record with a massive 76’ 1” throw (23.19m). The collegiate record is 78’ 9¾” (24.02m). The sky is the limit for this kid.
Mile (Noon Sunday). Princeton won the 4xMile Championship of America last April and returns some quality runners, including All-American Donn Cabral and 3:58 runner Peter Callahan. Columbia’s Kyle Merber has run only one mile race so far this year – but when it’s the Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games, you’re considered a favorite.
High jump (1:30 PM Sunday). Penn’s Maalik Reynolds has been consistently excellent all year. He could get a push from Cornell’s Montez Blair, who jumped 7’ 3” in December but hasn’t been reasonably close since then.

Women’s Meet

Nationally-ranked teams: none
Regionally-ranked teams: #6 Cornell, #10 Dartmouth, #13 Princeton, #14 Harvard, #15 Columbia, #20 Penn

Analysis: Like the men’s side, Cornell and Princeton have dominated the conference for over a decade. Here, though, Cornell is considered a strong favorite and the fight will likely be for second.

Events to watch
Mile (12:10 PM Sunday) and 3000 meters (2:00 PM Sunday). Dartmouth’s Abbey D’Agostino and Columbia’s Waverly Neer are two of the very best runners in the NCAA, and they will face off in one or both of these races. D’Agostino has already qualified to the NCAA Championships in the mile and 3k, and Neer has done so in the longer race. D’Agostino was third at last fall’s NCAA Cross Country Championships. Fifth in that race was Princeton’s Alex Banfich, who could add another layer of complexity to these races.

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