Nathan Crumpton Photo
If you measure the margins of performance for the spring, the person most likely to stand atop the podium in their specialty is also the person most likely to show up on that podium in a mascot costume. Yes, Julia Ratcliffe of Princeton — looking to repeat as the hammer throw champion — has a spirit as grand as her talent. And her talent is off the charts. The New Zealander’s season best toss of 70.28 meters (230-7) at the Larry Ellis Invitational is a nation-leading mark (by 12 feet), a Heps record, an NCAA all-time top 10 and League’s 2014 best by 43 feet. Her closest competition is Harvard senior Adabelle Ekechukwu, who is in the nation’s top 30 at 187-6.
But at Heps the measure of performance is how many points one can score for the team and Brown senior Victoria Buhr is expected to make quite a haul for her Bears. She has the League’s best shot put (48-4 1/2) and discus throw (170-5) this spring, but she is being chased in both disciplines.The discus is particularly compelling as the top three throwers are among the League’s all-time top 10. Buhr’s best, which came at the Raleigh Relays, is No. 4 while Harvard freshman Nikki Okwelogu (167-9) and Brown sophomore Kebbeh Darpolor (165-4) look like they shall be battling for years to come.
Okwelogu will also be battling Buhr in the shot put. She won the Indoor Heps title at Dartmouth this winter and had throws beyond 50 feet. She likely expects to throw well beyond her outdoor best (47-5 3/4) in New Haven. Also looking to challenge for a title will be hometown favorite Karleh Wilson of Yale, who is within six inches of Buhr’s top throw, and Dartmouth’s Emmaline Berg, who was third at Outdoor Heps in Princeton a year ago.
The javelin throw features two former champions — Harvard’s Hannah Mayer (2011 champ) and Brown’s Niina Al-Hassan (2012 champ) — but the favorite will be Penn sophomore Kelsey Hay. She has been well over 150 consistently this spring, including a career-best 48.78 meters (160-0) at George Mason’s Spring Invitational. That throw is No. 3 all-time among Ivy Leaguers and more than 10 feet better than her nearest rivals Kacie Hargett of Cornell and Ellie Gravitte of Brown. Hay was second at Heps last year behind Cornellian Victoria Imbesi.