oHeps14 – Women’s Sprints/Hurdles

oHeps-Akpaete
Nathan Crumpton Photo

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Cornell’s Udeme Akpaete has really blossomed on the Ivy track scene in the last year. At the 2013 Outdoor Heps, she had qualified for both the 200m and 400m finals but only scored in one event (400m, fifth place). This year, she has the fastest marks in the conference for both the 200m (24.07) and 400m (53.71), two performances that place her among the best in conference history. If she can continue to run like the wind, she will have little competition in the 400m as she leads the field by almost a second.

oHeps-AutumneIf she does happen to falter, she shouldn’t be too upset as it would be one of her teammates — Zena Kolliesuah, Ebolutalese Airewele or Katie Woodford, — who could fill in the spot. All have times within the season’s top 10. The 200m crown will be more of a challenge for Akpaete as defending champion Marvellous Iheukwumere of Columbia (24.08w) and Indoor Heps champion Jennifer Meech of Dartmouth (24.13w) are both close behind.

Marvellous has two sprinting crowns that she wants to hold onto, after all, who doesn’t want to leave their final Heps as a champion? Marvellous currently is the No. 2 seed in the 100m with a personal best of 11.68.  The #1 seed? Harvard’s Danielle Barbian, who reset the conference record in her first meet of the season (11.65), but will enter Outdoor Heps with a No. 1 seed time of a wind-aided 11.63. Oh, and Barbian was the one who took Marvellous’ Indoor Heps crown back in February. According to a Columbia Spectator article from mid-April, Marvellous is coming back from a hamstring sprain, which could allow Harvard’s Ashley Collinsworth, Dartmouth’s Kaitlin Whitehorn and Penn’s Lydia Ali the chance to get All-Ivy honors in this short sprint.

The hurdles performance listings continue to be painted Crimson as there are seven Harvard performances within the top six for both the high and intermediate hurdle performance listings. For the second Outdoor Heps in a row, Autumne Franklin tops the season’s performance listings in both the 100m hurdles (13.56w, 13.90 wind-legal) and 400m hurdles (58.53). This year, she will be joined by two freshmen teammates – Jackie Modesett in the 100m hurdles (13.91w, 14.04 wind-legal) and Jade Miller — as some of the top seeds in the 400m hurdles. But the Harvard hurdlers do not have these titles set in stone.

Penn senior Gabrielle Piper has been picking up speed these last few weeks, breaking the 14-second barrier for the first time since her freshman year at the Larry Ellis Invitational (13.97). Piper won the Outdoor Heps 100m hurdle title in 2012. Also, Dartmouth’s Megan Krumpoch is the defending champion in the 400m hurdles, but with her recent improvements in the 800m (including the Indoor Heps 800m title followed by All-American honors), she could have a stronger kick for this race than she did last year.

— Mary Boggs

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