Cornell Women, Heps Throwers Win At Easterns

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Doug Austin Photo

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the blazing women’s 4×100-meter relay at Outdoor Heps last weekend was not Harvard’s record-setting 45.40 lap around the track. It might have been that Cornell wasn’t in the picture as shaky handoffs ended with the Big Red in fifth place behind Dartmouth, Penn and Columbia.

Well, what a difference a week makes. At the ECAC & IC4A Championships at Princeton, Cornell posted relay notice in the prelims of the 4×1 with the very same lineup of Adrian Jones, Zena Kolliesuah, Ebolutalese Airewele and Katie Woodford running 45.55. It was the fastest-time in the qualifying round and No. 2 all-time in Heps history. The Big Red would run 45.92 in the finals, good for fourth place, but would make even bigger news in the 4×4.

Again, Cornell ran the fastest prelim mark (3:37.21) before taking the ECAC title on Sunday with an all-time Heps No. 1 of 3:35.50 with a lineup of Kolliesuah, Elyse Wilkinson, Airewele and Udeme Akpaete. The splits from Coach Artie Smith were Kolliesuah (54.5), Wilkinson (54.9 to pass two teams and take the lead), Airewele (53.3 to extend the lead) and sophomore Udeme Akpaete (a stunning 52.4).

The old Heps’ record was 3:35.69 set by the Sharay Hale-anchored Columbia Lions in 2010. Cornell’s old record of 3:36.04 was anchored by Shonda Brown in 2005.

Cornell’s victory was far from the only Ivy win at Princeton this weekend. Particularly noteworthy was the League’s dominance in the throws. It was a sweep on the women’s side with Princeton’s Julia Ratcliffe taking the hammer (226-8), Harvard’s Hannah Mayer the javelin throw (158-0, Heps’ No. 6 all-time), Brown’s Victoria Buhr in the discus (169-6) and Harvard’s Nikki Okwelogu in the shot (49-2 1/4).

Cornell’s Stephen Mozia (62-2 1/2 in the shot) and Penn’s Sam Mattis (198-5 in the discus) — both Heps champions a week ago — claimed IC4A titles as did Princeton’s Matt McDonald in the 10k run (29:53.86).

Two women’s runners also took home Eastern titles. Last week Megan Krumpoch of Dartmouth didn’t run the 800 at Heps, opting for the 400-meter hurdles. Sunday she returned to the two-lapper and won in 2:05.90. The woman who defeated her in the intermediate hurdlers at Heps — Harvard freshman Jade Miller — not only won that event at ECACs, she posted the No. 2 time in Heps history (57.32) behind only Olympic finalist Brenda Taylor. Miller’s teammate, sophomore Autumne Franklin, was fourth in 57.91 — just the fifth Heps runner to go under 58.

Other notable performers included Cornell senior pole vaulter Peter Roach, who cleared 17-4 1/2 for second place. That is No. 5 all-time. Columbia sophomore Ashley Cunningham also moved into the Heps’ all-time top 10 with a 24.03 clocking in the preliminaries of the 200-meter dash.

Princeton was not the only site for Ivy action this weekend as three Ivy Leaguers won events at the New Balance Boston Twilight Meet. Harvard’s Erika Veidis won the women’s 1,500 (4:21.05) while Dartmouth’s Steve Mangan claimed the men’s (3:45.88). Brown’s Henry Tufnell took the men’s 800-meter run in 1:49.92.

On Thursday, the accepted athletes to the NCAA regionals will be unveiled. Expect well more than 100 Ivy Leaguers to head to the East Regional (May 29-31) at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Fla., with spots to Nationals on the line.

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