iHeps15 – Women’s Sprints & Hurdles

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Schedule:
Women’s 60m  – Semifinals, Saturday 11am | Finals, Sunday 1:40pm
Women’s 200m – Semifinals, Saturday 1:20pm | Finals, Sunday 2:40pm
Women’s 400m – Semifinals, Saturday 11:50am | Finals, Sunday 12:40pm
Women’s 500m – Semifinals, Saturday 12:05pm | Finals, Sunday 1:10pm
Women’s 60m Hurdles – Semifinals, Saturday 11:35am | Finals, Sunday 12:20pm

There is little change in the sprints this year as Cornell, Columbia, and Harvard should amass high points again in their battle towards the team title. Harvard has one of the best sprinters in Heptagonal history in Danielle Barbian. Already the defending champion in the 60m, she has improved this year by running the conference record of 7.41 on her home track and the 5th fastest time ever in the indoors 200m (24.11) at Boston University.

Her main competition in the 60m should come from a trio of all-time conference performers – Dartmouth’s Kaitlin Whitehorn, Columbia’s Ashley Cunningham and Akua Obeng-Akrofi.  Barbian’s teammate, Ashley Collinsworth did place 2nd last year in a PR of 7.49 and should be in the mix if she is up to form.

Barbian has much stiffer competition in the 200m where Columbia’s Obeng-Akrofi and Cunningham have the 1st and 3rd best conference times this year (as well as 4th and 6th fastest all-time) and could pull off a 1-2 finish.

Cornell should pick up some points with Udeme Akpaete and Adrian Jones.  Harvard could have three finalists with Barbian, Collinsworth and Autumne Franklin (who has not run a 200m this year, but was 5th last year).  This promises to be an exciting photo finish race as there is little separation between the top eight times run this year.

The 400m should be dominated by Cornell’s Akpaete, who is the 5th fastest conference performer ever and is the defending champion.  This year, she has run almost 0.2 seconds faster than her closest competitor, Dartmouth’s Jennifer Meech (who is also the defending 200m champion).  Harvard’s Jade Miller could break up these two as she was 2nd last year, but has not run this distance this year.

The first Heptagonal Champion of the 500m may come from Princeton’s Cecilia Barowski (6th all-time), Harvard’s Miller (9th all-time), Penn’s Candace Taylor (10th all-time) and Princeton’s Kim MacKay. It is possible that none of these athletes may run this event at all. But all the schools will be attempting to add as many talented 400m or 800m runners in this event to pick up points in this new event.

Harvard’s Franklin, the 60mH defending champion and clear favorite, leads two other impressive teammates: Jackie Modesett (4th last year) and Miller. Columbia’s Iris Chijioke will attempt to break this points grab by Harvard, as she placed 3rd last year.  Brown’s Rachel Van Metre should compete and will be a scorer.

– L. Kelsey Armstrong (Penn ’95)
photo by Doug Austin

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