iHeps14 — Women’s Sprints/Hurdles

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Last year, Columbia’s Marvellous Iheukwumere dominated the sprinting scene, not only winning both the 60m and 200m at Indoor Heps, but also claiming the 100m, 200m, and 4×100 at Outdoor Heps.  Going into this weekend, she is the odds favorite in defending her 200m title on the flat Dartmouth track.  Her personal best of 24.02, which she set on the banked track at the NYC Armory, is more than a half-second faster than her closest competitors — Cornell sprinters Zena Kolliesuah, Adrian Jones, Udeme Akpaete, and Columbia teammate Jaycee Parker.

ht-iheps-marvellousIn the open 60 dash, Marvellous will have to contend with Harvard’s Danielle Barbian, whose new personal best is only 0.02 second behind Marvellous’, 7.46 to 7.48.  These two ladies went 1-2 at last year’s Indoor Heps, with Marvellous edging out Barbian by only 0.02 seconds for the conference title.

But last year, Harvard earned 51 points in just the 60m, 200m, 400m and hurdles alone which helped them secure the team crown. This year, they could potentially earn more. The Crimson have high scoring potential from Barbian, Ashley Collinsworth, defending 400m champion Gabrielle Scott, and their Hurdling Horde – defending hurdle champion Autumne Franklin, Jackie Modesett, Jade Miller and Olivia Abbate. Columbia’s Iris Chijoke is within striking distance of the hurdle crown, and 2012 hurdle champion Gabrielle Piper of Penn wants one more crown before she graduates this spring.

Cornell is in a position to easily earning 20 points in the 400m alone from Akpaete, Airewele and Kolliesuah. This is Akpaete’s first full indoor track season, as she only joined the Cornell squad in February 2013, but she will be giving Scott a good run for her money. Akpaete’s season’s best of 54.02 is the fifth-fastest in conference history, while Scott’s best is 54.48. The odds might be in Akpaete’s favor though as the Leverone Field House indoor track is flat — just like the Barton Hall track Akpaete trains on, so she knows how to grip and handle those long, flat turns.

— Mary Boggs

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