Mid-Winter Heat


I think in order for one to stay warm this winter, we need to head to a nearby indoor track facility.  The competition at Indoor Heps is going to be hot and fierce – just read what happened this past weekend in order to get an idea of how Heps will be.  We have less than two weeks to go, and hopefully, that will give enough time for HepsNation along the East Coast to defrost and dig themselves out in order to attend the meet.

This will be our last full out weekend recaps for the indoor season, as this week, our new HepsTrack reporting team will start prepping for our Indoor Heps coverage that will begin next Monday.  We have one final addition to our team for the indoor season – Nell Smith, an All-American sprinter for Wheaton College who completed a Masters of Science degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2012.  Welcome to the team!

Boston University Valentine’s Invitational – Women’s Recap (Susan Rodriguez, Columbia ’13)

This weekend, Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, and Penn each sent athletes from the women’s teams to compete at the Boston University David Hemery Valentine Invitational. In a large and extremely competitive field featuring professional as well as collegiate athletes, the Ivies each had impressive showings, including 5 performances that broke the top ten Heps all-time list.

The sprint events saw several season-best performances. In the 60m hurdles, Iris Chijioke of Columbia finished in sixth place. Her time of 8.64 is a PR and the second-best Heps time this season. Marissa Evans of Dartmouth competed well in the 400m dash, running a season-best 55.52 for fifth place overall, and fourth in the Heps rankings. In the 500m dash, Alexandra Stanton of Brown was the runner-up in a PR 1:13.78, and fifth in the Heps rankings. She was followed closely by Erica Hendershot of Dartmouth in fourth place with a season-best 1:14.14. The most exciting event of the night for the sprints was the 200m dash, in which three Heps women went 6-7-8 and re-wrote the all-time top ten list. The new Heps season leader, Akua Obeng-Akrofi of Columbia ran a season-best time of 24.06 to make it to number four Heps all-time. Danielle Barbian of Harvard and Ashley Cunningham of Columbia were right behind in a photo finish, running PRs of 24.11 and 24.12, respectively. This places them fifth and sixth all-time.

The middle distances started off strong for the Heps women with Carey Celata of Penn in the 800m run. Her PR time of 2:09.05 placed seventh overall and moved her into fourth on the Heps season performance list. In the 1,000m, Taylor Worthy of Brown ran an impressive race for third place (2:48.26), right behind Brown alum Anna Willard (2:45.28). Worthy’s time was a PR, which brings her to second in Heps this season, and number ten all-time. Also in the 1,000m, Molly Renfer of Harvard was fifth in her first race of the season and fourth in Heps, in 2:50.10. The 1 mile run brought some new Heps season leaders as well. Dartmouth’s Dana Giordano ran a PR of 4:41.12 for third place and is first in Heps this season, less than one second off the all-time list. Close behind her in fourth place was Columbia’s Olivia Sadler, who also ran a PR of 4:41.64 and is now second in the Heps rankings.

The only distance runners in the top eight of the meet were in the 5,000m, where three Heps runners ran their first-ever track 5,000m’s. Columbia’s Leila Mantilla led the group, placing second in 16:38.66. She was a good eighteen seconds ahead of third-place Lucy Van Kleunen of Brown in 16:56.68. Rounding out the top eight was Leah Eickhoff, also of Brown, in 17:03.60.

Dartmouth and Brown saw some action in the relays as well. In the 4x400m, Dartmouth put together a solid group for third place overall, and third in Heps this season. The quartet of Evans, Hendershot, Sara Kikut, and Jennifer Meech combined for a time of 3:45.30. Brown entered two teams in the DMR, both of which placed in the top eight. The ‘A’ squad of Worthy, Emmaline Suchland, Stanton, and Clare Peabody finished in 11:36.35, good for fourth place overall, and fourth in Heps. The ‘B’ squad placed eighth in 12:02.77.

Off the track, the field events saw a number of impressive performances. In the high jump, Kaitlin Whitehorn of Dartmouth had a winning mark of 5-10.75. Her jump is a PR and the new Heps season leader, also tying for ninth place all-time. Also in the high jump, Allison Frantz of Dartmouth was fifth with 5-07, and Madelyn Magee of Columbia was eighth with 5-05. In the pole vault, Dartmouth’s Marina Plesons tied for seventh with a height of 11-09.75. Nadia Eke of Columbia placed sixth in the long jump with a mark of 18-07.75. Brown’s Josie Natrasevschi finished fifth in the shot put with a throw of 42-08.75.

Boston University Valentine’s Invitational – Men’s Recap (Rachel Sorna, Cornell ’14)

On the men’s side, the Valentine Invitational provided some great Ivy performances. The meet featured squads from Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, and Penn. As has been the case for the last several years, the level of competition in the middle distance events was especially high, drawing in talent from up and down the entire East Cost. The Heps Men combined for a total ten top 6 and two top collegiate finishes among the extremely elite fields.

In the 400m, Brown junior Ryan Kelly finished 6th with a conference leading time of 47.68. In the 500m, Columbia junior Corey Hammond took top collegiate honors with a second place overall showing in a time of 1:03.61. He was followed by a slew of other solid Ivy performances including Dartmouth sophomore Phil Gomez (4th, 1:04.05) and Columbia sophomores Ronald Busby (7th, 1:04.40) and Johana Sowah (8th, 1:04.49). In the 3000m, seniors Martin Martinez of Brown and Paul Ross of Columbia ran 8:10.13 and 8:10.84 to finish 7th and 9th respectively among collegians. Former Heps champ and now BAA member Ethan Shaw (Dartmouth ’13) took 6th place in that race in a time of 7:58.01. And in the 5000m, Columbia senior Ben Eversole and Brown freshman Matt Mahoney took 3rd and 4th place with times of 14:20.94 and 14:22.80.

In the field events, Brown sophomore Taylor Alarcon took 9th in the triple jump with a leap of 47-03.75. It was the throwing events that brought the strongest showings. In the shot put, seniors Courtland Clavette of Brown and Dom Filiano of Dartmouth threw 55-04.75 and 52-09.25, good for 4th and 10th overall. And in the weight throw, Brown junior Matthew O’Hara and Dartmouth sophomore Tim Brennan took 6th and 9th place with heaves of 59-02.75 and 56-03.75 receptively. As for the relays, the 4x400m saw a Heps preview with squads from Columbia (3:14.65), Brown (3:15.84) and Dartmouth (3:16.11) finishing one after another to take 7th, 8th, and 9th respectively.

But it was in the middle distance events where the Ivy men really rose to the challenge, producing some of the season’s best performances in the process. In the 800m, Columbia senior Connor Claflin took 2nd place overall and the top collegiate honors with a run of 1:48.67. Claflin’s conference leading time ranks him 6th all-time in the Ivy League and 20th in the NCAA. Penn freshman Jess Wiseman also had a fine run of 1:51.23, good for 9th place. In the loaded mile field, Ivy representation came from both collegiate and post-collegiate athletes. Columbia sophomore Rob Napolitano had a great day as he posted a career best time of 4:00.64. That time was good for 14th place overall, 8th among collegians, and currently ranks him 2nd in the League rankings. Just behind him was Dartmouth junior Curtis King with a fine time of 4:01.45 – another personal best. And, racing for the post-collegiate BAA group, Steve Mangan (Dartmouth ’14) and Dan Lowry (Brown ’14) also impressed, running 3:58.24 and 3:58.52 for 4th and 7th place respectively.

Monmouth Winter Collegiate Invitational (L. Kelsey Armstrong, Penn ’95)

Penn sent a small crew of athletes to Monmouth University for the Winter Collegiate Invitational. The women won the overall title with 155 points, while the men placed 2nd overall with 67 points behind host Monmouth. There were several noteworthy performances, highlighted by the sweep in the women’s 60m by freshman Taylor McCorkle (7.62), freshman Barbara Biney (7.78) and senior Lydia Ali (7.80).  Junior Thomas Pitt placed 3rd in the men’s long jump with a jump of 22-11, moving him up the conference standings to 6th. Freshman Devinne Miller triple jumped her way into conference contention (7th best) with a 38-05 winning jump, followed by a third place jump of 37-09 1/4 by senior Jenny Thompson. Junior Gabby Cuccia placed 2nd in the women’s 800m in a time of 2:14.53, followed by sophomore Ashley Montgomery (3rd place-2:15.64) and sophomore Ella Wurth (4th place-2:15.97). The women’s shot put had freshman Taylor Hojnacki place 3rd with a throw of 42-11.75, followed by 4th place junior Serena Graf’s throw of 42-09.  The women’s 4x400m sped to a 3:54.21 time, good for 2nd place.

Harvard-Yale-Princeton (Mary Boggs, Harvard ’06)

The Princeton Tigers swept the 2015 indoor edition of the Harvard-Yale-Princeton tri-meet on Saturday.  The Tiger men dominated their Ivy foes, 125 to Harvard’s 36 and Yale’s 22, by 13 event wins out of the 17-event meet.  This is Princeton’s 24th “straight” win at this tri-meet (it should be noted that the Princeton men did not participate from 2002 to 2005).  Princeton frosh Carrington Akosa dominated the sprints, claiming the 60m (6.88) and 200m (22.24) titles and running the first leg of the victorious 4x440yd relay (3:19.53).  Akosa also led Princeton claiming 7 out of 8 possible scoring spots across the sprinting individual events.  Junior Jake Scinto also won multiple events, claiming the event wins in the long jump (conference leading 23-07.5) and high jump (6-07.5).  Freshman Lane Russell won the triple jump with a huge new personal best of 50-08 (it was a personal best by almost 2 feet and top conference mark) and sophomore Chris Cook is the second man this season to throw past 60 feet in the shot put, as he the 60-02 to win the event (he is currently 2 inches away from making the conference’s top-10 all-time listing).  The Tigers also won the hurdles (Caldwell, 8.00 – #3 in conference rankings), mile (O’Toole, 4:08.09), 500m (Schulz, 1:04.82), 800m (Paternostro, 1:50.78 – #4 in conference rankings), 4x880yd (7:40.21), and pole vault (Bragg, 17-00 ¾).  Harvard’s two wins came in the weight throw (Josh Whitener, 60-05) and 3,000m (Tom Purnell, 8:08.67).  Yale also had two wins, with Marc-Andre Alexandre winning the 400m (48.44) and James Randon claiming the 1,000m (2:29.48).

The women’s meet was a little closer, but the Princeton women held off Harvard and Yale, 87 to 54 to 41, to claim their 5th title in 6 years.  Like the men, Princeton’s women had the most number of event wins, claiming 8 events.  Sophomore Megan Curham led a 1-2-4 Princeton finish in the 3,000m en route to winning in a season’s best of 9:25.67.  Junior Julia Ratcliffe dominated the weight throw with her toss of 65-03.5 (2 inches away from her personal best).  Princeton also claimed the wins in the mile (Hanss, 4:49.29), 400m (Blocker, 55.72), 500m (McMullin, 1:15.34), 800m (Barowski, 2:07.45 – #2 in the conference rankings), long jump (Ronde, 18-04.25), pole vault (Harris, 12-07.5 – #2 in conference rankings), and high jump (Buscak, 5-08 – #2 in conference rankings).  Harvard dominated the sprints, claiming the titles in the hurdles, 60m, 200m, and 4x440yd relay. Autumne Franklin led a 1-2-3 finish in the hurdles (8.61). Danielle Barbian led a 1-2 finish in the 60m (7.51), and Christi Scott claimed the 200m (24.89).  Franklin and Scott also were members of the winning 4x440yd relay (3:45.92).  Harvard frosh Florianne Kameni won the triple jump with 34-04.75.  Yale got two wins in the meet.  Junior Emily Waligurski claimed the 1,000m title with a new season’s best of 2:50.18 (#5 in conference rankings).

The performance of the meet came from the women’s shot put, where Harvard sophomore Nikki Okwelogu reset the conference record for the second week in a row.  On her fifth throw in the competition, Okwelogu broke the 54-foot barrier and improved her personal best 5 inches to 54-02.  In perhaps what was the closest event of the meet, the timers needed to read the photo finish tape very carefully in the women’s 4x880yd relay as Yale and Princeton both crossed the line in 9:00.78.  Yale’s quartet was determined to be the winning team, thanks to Shannon McDonnell’s well-timed lean over Princeton’s Zoe Sims.

Iowa State Classic (Mary Boggs, Harvard ’06)

Brown had two athletes compete at the Iowa State Classic over the weekend.  Senior Henry Tufnell competed in the 800m, where he set a new indoor personal best of 1:50.05 that is the 3rd best mark in the conference rankings.  He finished 3rd in his heat (where he got edged out by Virginia Tech’s Grant Pollock in 1:50.04) to finish 11th overall in the event.  Classmate Jordan Mann also ran a new personal best at the meet.  In the 5,000m, Mann finished 18th overall (14th collegian) in the fast heat with a time of 14:10.63.  The time currently tops the conference event rankings.  It should be noted that this is Mann’s 3rd time running the 5,000m on the college track according to the TFFRS website.

Millrose Games (Nell Smith, Columbia M.S. ’12) Nell_Smith

Ivy League alumni had a strong showing at the 108th NYRR Millrose Games on Saturday, February 14, at the New Balance Track and Field Center. In this sold out event, nearly 5,000 fans gathered at the New York Armory to watch records fall, challenges ensue and new histories written.

Among the Ivy squad was Dartmouth alum Will Geoghegan (Oregon) in the men’s 3000m, who finished second to his Oregon teammate Eric Jenkins. Geoghegan clocked the sixth fastest time in NCAA history in the event running a 7:45.71, just missing the 3000m collegiate indoor record set by Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp. Junior, Thomas Awad (Penn) also made a mark in the record books with his fourth place finish and time of 7:54.81, breaking a 41-year-old school record and setting a new 10 second personal best.

Ashley Higginson (Princeton alum) notched an eighth place finish in the women’s 3,000m at 8:57.86.

On the final lap of the men’s 1000m race, former NCAA champion Robby Andrews (coached by Jason Vigilante of Princeton) pursued a 200m chase to the finish against Erik Sowinski. Andrews fell .05 seconds short of the win finishing in 2:21.23 for second. Liam Boylan-Pett (Columbia alum) claimed the third place finish in 2:23.44, besting Olympian Duane Solomon who finished fourth.

Former cross country, indoor and outdoor NCAA All-American at Princeton University, Donn Cabral, secured a fourth place finish in the men’s 5000m with an indoor personal best of 13:28.64.

The star-studded field in the highly anticipated Wanamaker Mile featured world-leaders in the event, including winner Matthew Centrowitz (3:51.35), Nick Willis (3:51.46), Pat Casey (3:54.36) and Bernard Lagat (3:54.91). The alum duo John Gregorek and Kyle Merber (Columbia) finished 10th and 11th in the Wanamaker Mile respectively. Gregorek (Oregon) set a new personal best, 3:57.47, and in his second debut at the Millrose Games, Merber clocked a 4:05.96.

In the women’s Wanamaker Mile, Morgan Uceny (Cornell alum) ran an indoor personal best of 4:29.39 to finish 5th overall in the event.

Columbia’s women’s 4x400m relay team rounded out the Ivy League performances at the Millrose Games with a second place finish behind St. Johns University. The quartet of Mariella McCormack, Brittney Wade, Akua Obeng-Akrofi, and Jaycee Parker ran a season best of 3:48.98 placing them fifth among other Ivy League 4x400m teams.

Spire D1 Invitational and Sunday Invitational (Becky Wexler, Cornell ’98)

Several Cornell athletes traveled to Geneva, OH, to participate in the SPIRE Invitational on Friday and Saturday. The steep competition (including athletes from Big Ten powers Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State) pulled many Cornell runners to fast times and big jumps and throws. Highlights on the women’s side included a second place pole vault by senior Eve Bishop (12-06.25); indoor 400m PRs for senior Katie Woodford (55.56, ranked fifth in the conference) and freshman Taysia Radoslav (55.61, ranked sixth in the conference); an indoor mile PR for junior Claire DeVoe (4:50.08, ranked tenth in the conference; and a 3,000m PR for junior Caroline Kellner (9:28.03, ranked fourth in the conference).

Highlights for the men included a second place pole vault from sophomore Grant Sisserson (17-04, just a half inch off his PR); a second place PR in the weight throw from senior Rudy Winkler (65-10.5, ranked second in the conference); a sixth place finish and a PR in the 800m for sophomore James Gowan (1:49.78, ranked second in the conference); a fourth place finish for the 4x400m relay team of Tobenna Attah, Cisco Olloqui, Stanford Cooper and Michael Smith (3:12.68, ranked second in the conference); and a PR in the 200m for freshman Brailin Paulino (22.10, tied for ninth in the conference).

Back in Ithaca, Cornell hosted its own Sunday Invitational. Doubling back from her performance in Ohio, Eve Bishop won the pole vault in a PR and conference leading height of 12-10. Other event winners were freshman Ellen Shepard (200m, 25.60);  senior Marianne Collard (800m, 2:15.92); freshman Jacquelyn Katzman (1000m, 3:00.20); junior Maggi Szpak (3,000m, 10:16.32); junior Hillary Holmes (long jump, 18-02 1/2, ranked sixth in the conference); and freshman Drayton Taylor (shot put, 42-02).

On the men’s side, senior Stephen Mozia made up for a (slightly) off day at the SPIRE Invitational with a season’s best, a win, and a conference leading shot put of 63-06. Other event winners were junior Ben Rainero (800m, 1:55.51); freshman Chase Silverman (mile, 4:14.69); and junior Bryan Rhodes (weight throw, 61-08.25). Cornell alum and Olympian Muhammad Halim won the triple jump with a leap of 47-07.

photo by Finn Mundinger

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