This is our final round of Athletes of the Week for the indoor season, as we have Indoor Heps coming up in 10 days and there will be limited action this upcoming weekend.
Male Athlete of the Week:
Penn’s Thomas Awad is looking for his first bid for NCAAs for indoor track. Even though he ran a competitive mile (4:00.20) a few weekends ago at the Armory, we believe that Awad might have better odds in the 3,000m. At the Millrose Games, Awad got the chance to compete in the 3,000m race against some of the top-tier distance names in the NCAA. Awad finished 4th overall (3rd collegian) in 7:54.81 – a 10-second personal best, fastest time in the conference by 6 seconds, the 4th fastest time in indoor Ivy history, and 12th fastest 3,000m time in the country. Only the top 16 make it to NCAAs in a given event, so we will be keeping our fingers crossed that his 7:54 will hold up.
Aside: It should be noted that Dartmouth grad Will Geoghegan (who is competing for Oregon in order to use up his NCAA eligibility) also finished the race with a huge PR – 7:45.71 (while his best Dartmouth time was 7:51.57, 2nd fastest in conference history).
Female Athlete of the Week:
Another weekend, another record. Harvard’s Nikki Okwelogu has been on an upward trajectory in her event, as she has once again reset the shot put record. At the annual Harvard-Yale-Princeton tri-meet, she easily won the event by almost 7 feet by throwing her new PR/conference record of 54-02 on her fifth throw. The mark is currently the 14th best throw in the NCAA (note: top 16 make it to NCAAs). Okwelogu has now become the first Ivy woman to throw further than 54 feet in this event. With the Indoor Heps meet record sitting only at 51-09 3/4 (set in 2011 by Brown’s Brynn Smith), it is quite possible that we will be expecting that mark to fall as well in 10 days.
Male Rookie of the Week:
Princeton frosh Carrington Akosa had a phenomenal first Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet. He did not set any new seasonal bests in his races, but his finishes and team contributions helped the Tigers maintain their 24-year winning streak at this meet and keep the Tigers undefeated in the year for their dual meet season (according to Track and Field News, the Tigers rank 17th in the end-of-season dual meet rankings). Akosa won the 60m (6.88) while helping Princeton sweep all of the scoring positions in that event. He also won 200m dash (22.24) and was the lead-off runner on the winning 4x440yd relay (3:19.53).
Female Rookie of the Week:
There is only one female rookie that sits on top of the conference standings in a given event right now – Columbia’s Akua Obeng-Akrofi. This past weekend, Obeng-Akrofi used Boston University’s speedy oval to set a new conference leading time in the 200m of 24.06, a time that led to a 6th place overall finish at the meet and also is entered into the conference record books as the fourth fastest all time. En route to her finish, Obeng-Akrofi bested her teammate Ashley Cunningham (who also made the record books with her 24.12, 6th fastest all-time) and defending Indoor Heps champion in this event, Dartmouth’s Jennifer Meech. The next day, Obeng-Akrofi returned to New York to participate in the Millrose Games, where with her teammates Mariella McCormack, Brittney Wade, and Jaycee Parker, they finished 2nd in the Women’s College 4×400 Relay with 3:48.98.
Alumnus of the Week:
Although a number of alumni participated at the Millrose Games on Saturday, Columbia graduate John Gregorek, Jr. made history in the infamous Wanamaker Mile. While he did not win the event, Gregorek finally broke the 4:00 barrier with a 3:57.47 time for 10th place (ranks him 7th nationally). His previous best while at Columbia was 4:02 from the 2014 Indoor Heps final, but it could be considered “sub-4” when converted to 3:58.95 from flat to banked 200m track. With this REAL sub-4 mark, Gregorek joins his father, John Sr., as the 8th father-son duo to both run sub-4 in the mile. Father Gregorek first ran sub-4 on May 30, 1981 with a 3:57.10.
photo by Kim Spir