Six Tickets to Eugene, Please


HepsNation had a great Day 1 at the NCAA East Preliminary Round on Thursday.  Six Ivy athletes booked tickets to the national finals that will be held in Eugene, Ore. on June 10th to 13th.  Along the way, one conference record got reset.

In the women’s javelin throw qualifying, the conference record of 164-02 (set by Harvard’s Hannah Mayer last year at this meet) was broken twice.  Penn’s Kelsey Hay – who once held the conference record last year – broke the mark on her first throw of the second flight with a distance of 165-07.  Hay later improved her mark to 167-10, which will stay the conference record for now.  Mayer also bested the previous conference record on her first throw – 164-04 – but because she threw after Hay, it was not an official “conference-record breaking mark”.  In the end, both women secured spots in the top 12 to advance to Eugene, as Hay finished 4th overall and Mayer finished 7th.

Cornell’s Rudy Winkler had a tense series in the men’s hammer.  After his first throw, he was sitting 8th overall.  He dropped to the bubble-position after the second throw.  On his final toss, he moved up into 7th overall with a best toss of 216-00.  Since he was competing in the final flight of the competition, he stayed in 7th and will advance to Oregon.

Each of the throws that Harvard’s Nikki Okwelogu made during her preliminary round would have made the top 12 cut in the women’s shot put.  Her best throw came on her second attempt, where she threw 55-02 1/2.  She finished 5th overall in the competition.

In the only direct-to-Eugene events on the track, Princeton is going to be sending two athletes in the 10km – Megan Curham and Sam Pons.  Curham finished 9th in the women’s 10km race in 34:14.85 to make the cut.  Curham stuck with the front pack through the majority of the race.  The leaders went through the 5km in 16:57 while Curham was at 17:01.  Curham was 10th with a mile to go, but she moved up into 9th by the finish to make her second trip to Eugene for NCAAs.  Meanwhile, the entire men’s 10km field was a slow, close pack through the initial 5km in 15:30.  It began to spread out around the 4-mile mark, and with the thinning, Princeton’s Sam Pons moved up in the field to be among the top 12.  He continued to move up, and with 800m to go, he sat in 4th place.  He maintained that position and earned a plane ticket to Eugene with a final time of 29:54.15.

For the remaining track first rounds, a total of 11 athletes advanced to their respective quarterfinals that will be held later in the week:

  • Harvard’s Jade  Miller (57.59) & Autumne Franklin (58.36) and Cornell’s Taysia Radoslav (58.43) each nabbed the auto berths in their 400m hurdle heats.
  • Harvard’s Sarah Gillespie was able to advance out of the women’s 1,500m first round by being one of the fastest non-auto qualifiers with her 4:22.23.
  • Five men advanced to the 1,500m quarterfinals.  Columbia’s Rob Napolitano (3:45.38), Yale’s James Randon (3:45.39), Cornell’s James Gowans (3:45.42), and Dartmouth’s Silas Talbot (3:50.64) each nabbed auto berths, while Princeton’s Bradley Paternostro grabbed the final time qualifier spot with his 3:45.69 finish.  Unfortunately for Brown’s Ned Willig, he was the first man out (3:46.19).
  • Cornell’s Udeme Akpaete finished 3rd in her 400m first round heat with 53.51, which allowed her to advance to the quarterfinals.
  • Princeton’s Cecelia Barowski finished 2nd in her 800m heat in 2:06.15, allowing her to automatically advance.

Action will resume on Friday at noon.

List of NCAA Qualifiers:
Megan Curham (Princeton) – 10km
Kelsey Hay (Penn) – javelin throw
Hannah Mayer (Harvard) – javelin throw
Nikk Okwelogu (Harvard) – shot put
Sam Pons (Princeton) – 10km
Stephen Soerens (Princeton) – decathlon
Rudy Winkler (Cornell) – hammer throw

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