HAMMER TIME: Princeton University men’s track performer Paul Brennan displays his hammer throwing form in recent action. Sophomore Brennan, a former Princeton High standout, made his college debut this spring after the 2020 season was canceled due to the pandemic. He threw 189’4 in the Princeton Invitational on April 25 in his first collegiate competition. (Photo provided courtesy of PU’s Office of Athletic Communications)
By Justin Feil
Paul Brennan did not have to travel far to get to Princeton University, but he did have to wait a long time to begin his outdoor track and field career.
Brennan, a 2019 graduate of Princeton High, was thrilled when the Tiger men’s track and field team was able to take advantage of reaching Phase 4 of the University’s COVID-19 protocols to return to play. Phase 4 allowed full competition, and Brennan and the PU men were able to compete in the Princeton Invitational on April 25 and at the Fast Times Before Finals at Rowan University on May 1.
“It’s definitely exciting for all of our guys,” said Brennan. “At least for my class, we haven’t had any outdoor competitions. Our first collegiate outdoor competition was last weekend. We’re almost like freshmen coming in. We’ve been training for over a year and a half trying to prepare for a season.”
The preparation paid off. At Rowan, sophomore Ibrahim Ayorinde ran 20.88 seconds to win the 200 meters in the second-fastest time in program history. Freshman Daniel Duncan was second in 21.06, the third-fastest time in school history. Duncan also recorded the third fastest time in program history in winning the 100 meters in 10.47 seconds after running a blazing 10.42 in the trials. Junior Taraje Whitfield won the 110 hurdles in 14.60 seconds and freshman William Doyle took the 400 in 48.05 seconds. Sophomore Ethan Reese set a new personal best of 1:51.69 for the 800 meters. Senior Kelton Chastulik won the shot put at 54’ 8½.
“It’s a real testimony to the desire our guys have,” said Princeton men’s head coach Fred Samara. “I think it’s what sets apart our team from other teams we compete against. These guys are so close to one another and the team spirit they have. They don’t care where they are, they’re going to train hard and compete and light it up, which they’re doing.”
Despite the topsy-turvy training over the last year, limited interaction on campus, and no outside competition ahead of time, the Tigers showed in a wave of performances just why the program is so excited to have its full team intact next year. Eighteen men took the year off from school and several others are training on their own while they take classes remotely. Those on campus like Brennan have gotten back into the swing of things after students were able to return to campus for the second semester and went through the phases of return to play. more