The 2011-12 season was a charmed one for the men’s track and field team. Princeton shattered numerous program and Ivy League records and cracked the national top 10 in cross country en route to Heptagonal championships in the fall and winter seasons. In the context of this success, as well as Princeton’s No. 24 national ranking in the outdoor season (the next Ivy League team, Cornell, was ranked 59th), one could have thought that the final leg of an Ivy League triple crown was just a formality.
But records and rankings are determined by a handful of top runners. Heptagonals is a two-day, team-wide marathon with 22 different events. Having star athletes capable of winning events is certainly a boost, but Ivy League track championships are often determined by which team has more finishers in second, third, and fourth place. Heading into this weekend’s championships, HepsTrack.com actually projected Cornell to win a close competition.
Instead, Princeton secured its second straight triple crown with plenty of room to spare, collecting 193 points to Cornell’s 161.75. After winning the last six Ivy League championships, the men’s track and cross country teams are at their highest point since the turn of the century, when they won three straight triple crowns from 1998-2000.
Certainly, many of Princeton’s top athletes performed to their billing at Penn’s Franklin Field this weekend. Donn Cabral ’12 won the 10,000-meter race and hammered the field in the steeplechase, while Conor McCullough ’15 outdistanced his competition by 40 feet in the hammer throw, joining three other Tigers as individual champions.