Princeton’s Julia Ratcliffe (Hamilton, New Zealand) improved her indoor weight throw best, inching ever so much closer to the 20 meter mark. At the end of the indoor season, her new best was 64-10 ¾ (19.78 meters). But it is the outdoor season where she really shines. She reset the conference hammer throw record twice, with her best mark of 230-07 making her the 5th best female hammer thrower and 12th best hammer performance in NCAA history (it also helped Ratcliffe earn a USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week recognition on April 14, 2014), as well as setting a New Zealand national record in the event. Ratcliffe easily defended her conference title in New Haven at Outdoor Heps, but she got one more title that had eluded her in 2013 – the NCAA title. Ratcliffe’s national hammer title is a first for a female Princeton track and field athlete, and continues a 43-year streak where an athlete or team from Princeton had won a NCAA title. She also earned another podium finish before she started her junior season – in July, she earned a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games, representing Team New Zealand in the hammer throw competition.
Nadia Eke (Columbia) – After earning a number of runner-ups as a sophomore, the junior from Accra, Ghana rebounded her junior year to claim three Heps title across the year, including an indoor-outdoor sweep of the triple jump. On top of earning All-American honors in indoor track (where she finished in 6th place with a distance of 42-10 ¾), Eke got the chance to compete at the Commonwealth Games and African Championships for her home country of Ghana. She broke Ghana’s national record twice over the summer – once at the Commonwealth Games (43-01 ¼) and once at the African Championships (wind-aided 43-11 ½). The non-wind-aided mark ties Eke with the fourth best leap in outdoor conference history, while the wind-aided mark earned Eke her first global medal – a silver medal at the African Championships.
photo by Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard