Outdoor ’15 Athletes of the Week #4

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I know we are starting to repeat ourselves, but these performances are just good.  It was hard to pick the best of the best ones as there were many great performances.  An additional perk of these performances – we get a better idea of possible match ups at Outdoor Heps.  Speaking of Outdoor Heps, are you coming to Philly?

Male Rookie of the Week:

Dartmouth ‘s Colin Minor covered a lot of miles this past weekend.  On Friday, he was down at Princeton’s Larry Ellis Invitational where he won the hammer throw with a new personal best of 199-00 (second best mark in the conference listing).  He then traveled almost 300 miles northeast to Lowell, Massachusetts overnight to participate in the University of Massachusetts – Lowell George Davis Invitational, where he showed his consistency in the event as he won in 192-09 in windy conditions.  At Lowell, he led a 1-2-3 Big Green finish in the hammer.

Male Athletes of the Week:

Two men will be sharing the prize this week, as these are the two men who made changes to the record  books.  Penn’s Thomas Awad showed off his wheels again at the Larry Ellis Invitational as he ran a speedy 3:40.68 in the 1500m to finish 2nd behind Villanova’s Jordan Williamsz (3:39.53).  When converted to a mile-equivalent time (1.079 ratio), Awad’s time of 3:58.11 is consistent with his 2014 Penn Relays mile time of 3:58.34.  It is unlikely that Awad will race another individual 1500m (unless it is at Outdoor Heps), but that kind of closing speed at the end of a 5000m or 10km can be deadly to his opponents.

Cornell’s Rudy Winkler improved his personal best in the hammer throw by over 2 feet at the Cornell Outdoor Upstate Challenge on Saturday.  He won the event on his first throw, but he reached the new PR of 216-04 on his fifth throw of the competition.  This two-foot PR moves Winkler does not change his position in the all-time record books (5th best), but he is now ranked 14th in the country (his previous best of 214-03 would rank him 21st in the current rankings).

Female Athlete of the Week:

It only took Harvard’s Nikki Okwelogu two outdoor meets this season before she grabbed the outdoor shot put record.  At the Virginia Challenge, Okwelogu won the event with a new personal best of 55-00 3/4, breaking the former conference record set by Brown’s Amber Knighten back in 2001 (54-07 1/4).  Okwelogu broke the mark on her second throw of the competition, but she did not win the event until the final throw of North Carolina’s Sarah Howard (who has a season’s best of 55-09 that is ranked 5th in the country) did not beat Okwelogu’s best mark.  Okwelogu is now ranked 8th in the country.

Female Rookie of the Week:

Brown’s rookie Natalie Schrudowitz is lingering on the outside of the top-10 all-time in the steeplechase.  At the Virginia Challenge, she finished 5th in the event (7 seconds back of Yale’s Kira Garry, who finished in 4th) with a new personal best time of 10:18.18.  In order to make it into the top-10, Schrudowitz needs to surpass 10:16.38.  We have a feeling that she could do that by the end of the season, as she will have great competition at both Outdoor Heps and NCAA Preliminary Round (see below for more).

Other performances of note from this past weekend:

  • Princeton’s Megan Curham just dominated the 5,000m race at the Larry Ellis Invitational on Friday night.  She won by over 30 seconds, getting a new personal best of 15:54.03, the 5th fastest in conference history and 16th fastest time in the country.  Guess who’s right behind her in the national rankings?  Conference rival Dana Giordano of Dartmouth, who ran 15:54.05 at the Mt Sacs Relay in California.  Will both women go head-to-head in the 5,000m at Outdoor Heps, or will we need to wait until a later meet (like NCAA Preliminary Round)?
  • The women’s steeplechase record book is probably going to go through the most rewrites this season.  Princeton’s Elizabeth Bird became 4th Ivy Leaguer to break the 10:00 barrier in the event with her winning time of 9:58.33 at the Larry Ellis Invitational.  Bird moved from 8th all-time to 4th all-time with that performance.  Yale’s Kira Garry had no problem moving into that 8th all-time slot though, as she ran a new personal best of 10:11.59 at the Virginia Challenge to finish 4th in the race.  Garry previously had the 10th best all-time performance of 10:17.52.  And as we shared earlier, Schrudowitz is lurking just outside the top-10 all-time.  We predict that these three WILL likely battle at Outdoor Heps.
  • Columbia’s Olivia Sadler has been chasing after the Columbia school record in the 1500m all outdoor season, a record held by Devon Martin (4:18.04, set in 1990).  Sadler came close to breaking that record on Friday night at Larry Ellis, as Sadler ran 4:18.36 to finish 2nd overall in the event.  The time ranks her 21st in the country and 8th all-time, right behind Martin.  Will Outdoor Heps provide a fast enough pace for her to get the school record, or would she have to wait until the NCAA Preliminary Round?  Hard to say as these races can be more tactical than fast…
  • Cornell’s top hurdler Max Hairston is back.  At the Upstate Challenge, Hairston won both the high and intermediate hurdle events in top-10 conference ranking times.  His winning time in the 110 hurdles was wind aided, but his 14.15 time is second in the conference listings.  Meanwhile, his 400m hurdle winning time of 54.54 ranks him 9th in the conference listings.  This is not his first meet of the season, but this is the first meet where he looks like the hurdler that we know.  He is the defending Outdoor Heps 110 hurdle and 400 hurdle champion – can get back to his 2014 form in time to defend his titles?

photo by Doug Austin

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