HANOVER, N.H. - You can see it when you walk into the Dartmouth track & field offices. There is an anxiousness. Not a nervous anxiousness like a student waiting to walk into a classroom to take a test, but more like the anxiousness you see from a child waiting for Christmas morning.
The coaches are excited. They are waiting for this weekend to get here already as it brings with it the 2012 Heptagonal Championships at Penn's Franklin Field.
Men's head coach Barry Harwick said that the feeling of excitement comes from a desire to see how his team responds to the high level of competition it will encounter in Philadelphia.
There are high hopes in the offices of those five coaches that the Big Green will build on the successes of the outdoor season so far and carry that momentum over to the Ivy League championship meet.
A week removed from sending several male and female competitors to Franklin Field for the 2012 Penn Relays, Dartmouth will return for Heps with a much larger contingent of student-athletes ready to compete for the Green and White.
The meet, which starts Saturday morning, will kick off with several field events and the first leg of the men's decathlon.
Dartmouth expects strong showings on Saturday from T.J. Servino (Highland Mills, N.Y.) in the hammer throw, the first event to get underway, before Brett Gilson (Richboro, Pa.) looks to score points in the javelin. Ethan Shaw (Falmouth, Maine) and Bridget End (Summit, N.J.) in the men's and women's 10,000 meters are also expected to perform well in the final two events of the first day of competition.
Sunday marks the finals of several events that began on Saturday and should be an exciting finish to the weekend in the City of Brotherly Love.
In the women's heptathlon, Dartmouth should be a favorite as it has last year's outdoor champion Priscilla Trojano (West Bridgewater, Mass.) and this season's indoor champion Janae Dunchack (Northern Cambria, Pa.) both competing.
The Big Green female distance runners should also make an impact on the team scoring as Abbey D'Agostino (Topsfield, Mass.) and Alexi Pappas (Alameda, Calif.) will both take on the field in the 3K. D'Agostino will move on to run in the 1,500 meters as well, while Pappas will head over to the steeplechase, an event she has dominated this spring. Both have set records and top times in the nation this year and figure to factor prominently in the team's point total.
The coaches are expecting to pick up crucial points in several events, including the men's 100 and 200 meters. Both those races will feature Connor Reilly (Niskayuna, N.Y.) and Brett Buskey (Blackstone, Mass.), who have each had strong springs in those events.
Reilly and Buskey will also make up the third and fourth legs of the 4x100-meter relay team that will compete Saturday morning at 11:50 a.m.
John Bleday (Westwood, Mass.) is set to compete in the 5,000 meters on Saturday and, like Shaw, should give the Big Green an opportunity to score points, given that Bleday won the 3K during Indoor Heps back in February.
After the strong team performances put on by both the men and women during the indoor season, a spring that has seen a steady improvement in each competition and a litany of defending champions and record holders, there is a well-deserved level of excitement in the Dartmouth coaching offices that should translate to fast times and good measurements this weekend at Franklin Field.
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