iHeps17 – Women’s Throws

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A pair of world class athletes are the favorites in the women’s throwing events this year — Harvard senior Nikki Okwelogu (Fresno, Calif.) in the shot put and Princeton senior Julia Ratcliffe (Hamilton, N.Z.) in the weight throw. Okwelogu is on the verge of making additional Ivy League history as she has the opportunity of becoming the second woman to win four indoor shot put titles, joining Princeton grad Deborah St. Phard. But Okwelogu will need to make sure she gets a good legal throw in, despite the fact that she is easily more than five feet better than the rest of her Ivy competition. This year, her Ivy competition is stronger than ever. Penn freshman Maura Kimmel (West Sunbury, Pa.) is Okwelogu’s closest opponent. The rookie has been improving her shot put best these last few weeks. Could Indoor Heps be the first time she breaks 50 feet in collegiate competition? Brown freshman Kendra Offiaeli (South Windsor, Conn.) started off her collegiate career with a 48-foot performance back in December, but has been inconsistent since the New Year. The 2016 runner-up — Cornell junior Michaela Smith (Newtonville, Mass.) — has improved by almost a foot since last year and wouldn’t mind another runner-up finish should one of these rookies falter in their Heps debut.

Ratcliffe is back in Ivy competition after taking the year off to train for the Olympics and she’s back at the top of the weight-throw performance list. She doesn’t have as much breathing room as she did two years ago since there are two other athletes — Penn sophomore Rachel Wilson (Flossmoor, Ill.) and Tiger junior teammate Kennedy O’Dell (Eudora, Kan.) — who have surpassed 60 feet this season. A third athlete — Brown junior Maxine Offiaeli (South Windsor, Conn.) — is a fraction of an inch away. The defending Indoor Heps champion Leena Morris (Woodstock, Ga.), a Cornell sophomore, has also been well over 60 as she threw 63-10 1/4 to win the 2016 title. Don’t expect her to give up that title without a fight. Our prediction is that it will likely take 58 feet to make the scoring podium. The best sixth-place mark ever is under 55, so prepare for the best weight throw final in Ivy League history. — Mary Boggs

Shot put

Finals: Sunday, 11:30 am

Heps Record
57-11 1/4 — Nikki Okwelogu (Harvard, 2016)

Championship Record
56-2 — Nikki Okwelogu (Harvard, 2015)

2017 Top 10
55-3 — Nikki Okwelogu (Harvard)
49-10 — Maura Kimmel (Penn)
48-2 1/2 — Kendra Offiaeli (Brown)
46-6 1/4 — Michaela Smith (Cornell)
45-10 1/2 — Kennedy O’Dell (Princeton)
45-10 1/2 — Leena Morris (Cornell)
45-6 1/4 — Melissa Dunham (Dartmouth)
45-4 1/2 — Nikolia Kanaris (Cornell)
45-0 1/4 — Taylor Drayton (Cornell)
43-1 — Taylor Baker (Cornell)

Weight throw

Finals: Saturday, 9:30 am

Heps & Championship Record
68-4 1/4 — Adabelle Ekechukwu (Harvard, 2013)

2017 Top 10
66-0 1/2 — Julia Ratcliffe (Princeton)
61-6 1/4 — Rachel Wilson (Penn)
60-3 3/4 — Kennedy O’Dell (Princeton)
59-11 1/4 — Maxine Offiaeli (Brown)
57-9 1/2 — Autumn Covington (Cornell)
57-2 — Leena Morris (Cornell)
57-0 3/4 — Amelia Ali (Dartmouth)
56-5 3/4 — Isis Trotman (Penn)
54-10 3/4 — Kate Simon (Yale)
54-9 1/2 — Taylor Baker (Cornell)

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