Thomas, Winkler Earn All-America Honors


Photo: Ivy League Digital Network

In the long history of Heps, no indoor event has yielded the national results of the weight throw. Thirty top-eight finishes at the NCAA Championships. Four national titles.

But since 1991, silence.

But Rudy Winkler, the senior from Cornell who compete in the hammer throw at the Rio Games last summer, brought some noise on Saturday, ending a 26-year streak without a Heps’ All-American in the 35-pound toss. Despite admitting that he doesn’t take “the weight as seriously as I do the hammer,” Winkler finished fourth with a throw of 22.30 meters (73-2). Had he matched his performance from Indoor Heps just two weeks prior, he’d have won the national title, which was claimed by LSU’s Johnny Jackson (75-0 3/4).

Princeton sophomore Adam Kelly was also far from his Indoor Heps best, finishing 10th with a heave of 21.13 meters (69-4), nearly five feet shy of his Armory performance.

Winkler was one of two All-Americans from the League at the Championships in College Station, Texas. Harvard sophomore Gabby Thomas — the first Ivy female to reach the final of either the 60- or 200-meter dashes at the Indoor nationals — was eighth in the final in 23.35. Her Friday qualifying time of 22.89 was just .01 off the conference record she’d established at Indoor Heps.

For the Heps Nation, the Championship was full of near-misses. Both Kelly and Harvard shot putter Nikki Okwelogu narrowly missed getting three additional attempts as the top nine advanced to the finals, but Kelly was 10th and Okwelogu 11th (16.13m, 52-11). Yale senior Frances Schmiede missed making the mile final by less than a second (4:40.32). Princeton senior Allison Harris had a great performance, clearing 4.20 meters (13-9 1/4), but because of misses was just one place shy of claiming first-team All-America status.

Even League alums were on the wrong side of narrow. Dartmouth graduate Tim Gorman, now competing for Oregon, ran a speedy 4:01.19 time in the mile heats, but didn’t advance as three runners in his heat broke four minutes.

Harvard freshman Zoe Hughes finished strong in the pentathlon to take 10th place. Her last two events yielded big points as she long jumped 5.94 meters (19-6) and then clocked a 2:19.81 for 800 meters. Her 4,089 points were just four shy of the total she posted at Indoor Heps, where she set a meet record. Cornell’s Austin Jamerson, who also set a multi-event record at Heps, was 13th in the heptathlon, piling up 5,509 points.

Harvard freshman Judy Pendergast, the League’s indoor 5k champion, ran with the lead pack before slowing in the second half of the race. She would be disqualified for impeding another runner.

And now, we move our focus to the outdoor season, which gets underway this week with a huge Nor’easter that will impact every campus. Thanks, Mother Nature.

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