If Columbia wants to retain its team title, the Lions will need to get as many points as they can in the sprints and hurdles. In the ideal situation for Columbia, Marvellous Iheukwumere would win the 60-meter dash and place top two in the 200m with Sharay Hale (order depending on how quickly Hale returns to her 2010-2011 championship form). Then the Light Blue would also have Iris Chijioke and Ashley Cunningham each setting a new season’s best to jump into scoring positions in the hurdles and dash, respectively, resulting in a total of nearly 30 points.
But given the current sprinting environment, achieving the ideal situation would be a great challenge. Harvard has the numbers and speed to score high with the top season dasher in Danielle Barbian and top 2013 hurdler in Martina Salander. Three others — Autumne Franklin (No. 2 in hurdles and No. 3 in 200m), Olivia Abbate (No. 4 hurdles) and Ashley Collinsworth (No. 5 dash) — are also scoring threats. Penn can also crash some of Columbia’s hopes with its sprint force of Lydia Ali, Nonyerem Onyeador, Heather Bong and Gabrielle Piper. In fact, Piper might just be the only one who could possibly best Salander in the hurdles. She won that title last year in 8.42. Other spoilers for Columbia, Penn, and Harvard are in the forms of Princeton’s Cecilia Barowski, Cornell’s Katie Woodford and Mina Amick-Alexis and Dartmouth’s Mollie Gribbin.
It must be noted that Princeton had a freshman, Sarah Lavin, who put up some ridiculous times in December (7.59 in the dash, 8.55 in the hurdles), but she has been off the roster for some time now.
Top fives for 2013:
7.59 — Danielle Barbian (Harvard)
7.60 — Marvellous Iheukwumere (Columbia)
7.69 — Lydia Ali (Penn)
7.69 — Nonyerem Onyeador (Penn)
7.75 — Ashley Collinsworth (Harvard)
24.29 — Marvellous Iheukwumere (Columbia)
24.79 — Sharay Hale (Columbia)
25.03 — Autumne Franklin (Harvard)
25.07 — Ebolutalese Airewele (Cornell)
25.11 — Gabrielle Scott (Harvard)
8.56 — Martina Salander (Harvard)
8.61 — Autumne Franklin (Harvard)
8.72 — Gabrielle Piper (Penn)
8.77 — Mina Amick-Alexis (Cornell)
8.80 — Iris Chijioke (Columbia)
— Mary Boggs