Wednesday, March 6, 2013


TigerBlog watched the video of the Princeton men's distance medley relay team as it qualified for the NCAA championships, and he couldn't help but be impressed.

With the closing sprint of Peter Callahan, obviously, and then the shot of the scoreboard after.

Anything that reads " 1. Princeton, 2. Stanford" is fairly impressive, no?

The distance medley relay is a fairly unique event, in that the four competitors run different distances. The first runner goes 1,200 meters, followed by 400, 800 and 1,600. In the end, it all adds up to 4,000 meters.

At least that's what it says on Wikipedia, where the event has its own entry.

According to Wikipedia, the world record is 9:15.56, an outdoor mark. The American indoor record is 9:21.77.

Princeton - with a foursome of Michael Williams, Austin Hollimon, Russell Dinkins and Callahan -   ran 9:27.74 at the Alex Wilson meet at Notre Dame over the weekend, and in doing so did more than come less than six seconds away from the American record.

For starters, it's an Ivy League record. For another, it was the second-fastest time this year by a college DMR, and it qualified Princeton for this weekend's NCAA championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Princeton would not be getting out of town now had it not been for the ridiculous run that Callahan had. Running not far from his home of Evanston, Ill., Callahan was in sixth - and last - place with fewer than two laps to go and then in fifth with half a lap to go.

And then?

Bang. He was off and gone.

Callahan blitzed past runners from Illinois, Oklahoma State and Arkansas and then found himself trailing only Stanford, though he was quickly running out of time. Not that it would matter.

Callahan went from well behind the leader to well in front of him in no time. By the time Callahan crossed the finish, he had plenty of room to spare.

And, judging from the video, he didn't look like it was all that tough for him. Half a lap to go? Fifth place? No problem. He simply went into another gear.

In fact, it looked like the runners in the other video were putting out way more effort. Those runners would be the members of the Princeton track and field team who were watching in the lockerroom in Caldwell Field House and appeared to use up way more energy cheering and celebrating than Callahan did chasing down the field.

There will actually be five Princeton men's athletes competing, as Damon McLean will be in the triple jump, where he finished eight outdoors last year.

By the way, the video from the lockerroom is what TB envisioned when the decision was made to abandon printed recruiting guides a few years back. The goal was to show in live action what the experience of a Princeton student-athlete is. That video, shot with a cell phone, accomplishes way more than any printed piece could.

TigerBlog had a listing of the top five achievements from this past weekend, and the DMR race wasn't one of them.

Again, that shows how great a weekend last weekend was for the Tigers.

This one could be pretty good too, with men's basketball, women's basketball and men's swimming and diving competing for the final Ivy League championships of the winter and some nice early-season matchups for spring teams, including the men's lacrosse game at North Carolina Saturday.

And then there are the NCAA track and field championships.

Princeton has the second-fastest time in the country this indoor season (1.14 seconds behind Penn State), so clearly the Tigers have to be taken seriously as contenders.

Especially with the way Callahan can finish a race, something he's now done two weekends in a row, first at Heps and last weekend at Notre Dame.

Can he do it three weekends in a row?

It'll be worth watching. 

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