oHeps17 — Records, Big Winds In Advance of Championship Sunday


Sometimes things are gone with the wind. Sometimes there is a calm stability. Today in New Haven, Conn., there was a lot of each.

The “wind” part of pretty obvious. A bunch of amazing sprint, hurdle and jumping marks were brushed into the dust bin of history because of gusty winds that were as swift as five meters per second, which is 2 1/2 times the legal limit.

Harvard sophomore celebrity Gabby Thomas lead the qualifiers with times of 11.21 for 100 and 23.37 for 200. But neither will ever show up on performance lists. Cornell sophomore Zach Menchaca and Yale rookie Vincent Vaughns both broke 10.50 in the heats of the 100, so fast that Vaughns was forced to hurdle the bushes at the end of the straightaway. But you won’t see those marks.

High hurdle rookies Cha’Mia Rothwell of Dartmouth and Joey Daniels of Princeton both put up historically significant times (13.23 for Rothwell and 13.99 for Daniels), but the historically insignificant winds will render them as illegal heat times. And two jumpers — Harvard’s Efe Uwaifo and Dartmouth’s Corey Muggler — nearly leapt 26 feet… but with the aid of Mother Nature.

So, yeah, the wind was a tricky witch on Saturday at the Outdoor Heps Championships. Yet it didn’t affect of the calm of the team chase. After a day full of activity, nothing changed in the expectations of either team race. If anything, the Harvard and Penn women moved further away from the field, but slightly closer to one another. On the men’s side, Princeton and Cornell remained in the same boats in which they arrived to New Haven. The Tigers ran pretty steady to the form chart, while Cornell overperformed in the 10k and underperformed in the long jump. In the end, it was a wash.

All of that said, 10 athletes earned titles on Saturday.

Thomas won the long jump with a wind-legal leap of 6.27 meters (20-7), just ahead of freshman teammate Simi Fajemisin, who posted a best of 6.14 meters (20-1 3/4) in an amazing series. The shortest of her six leaps was 19-7 1/2. And Thomas wasn’t the lone Crimson athlete to win the Heps’ long jump. The aforementioned Uwaifo took the men’s title with a wind-assisted leap of 7.85 meters (25-9 1/4), which was nearly topped by Dartmouth’s Muggler, who had a windy 7.83-meter leap (25-8 1/4).

Princeton claimed both pole vault titles with senior Allison Harris crushing the League and meet record with a clearance of 4.23 meters (13-10 1/2). Behind her two Quakers — junior Molly Minnig and sophomore Nicole Macco — surpassed the previous championship mark en route to second- and third-place finishes. On the men’s side, Tiger August Kiles needed to clear 5.31 meters (17-5) after missing twice to win the title. And he did just that to snatch the crown from Cornell’s Grant Sisserson.

The hammer throws went to the prohibitive favorites. Princeton senior Julia Ratcliffe broke the championship record for the fourth straight time, winning by about 40 feet with her best of 69.24 meters (227-2). Cornellian and Olympian Rudy Winkler didn’t break his own meet record, but he did have four throws beyond 230 feet, including his winner of 72.25 meters (237-0) in round five. That came just after Princeton sophomore Adam Kelly, the runner-up, had a big personal best of 68.96 (226-3).

The javelin throw was hard to project in relation to seasonal marks, as Dartmouth sophomore Olivia Wiener took the women’s title with a best of 43.43 (142-6) and Harvard senior Brett Henderson won with a personal record of 68.13 (223-6).

Cornell senior Mark Tedder won the slowest 10k in championship history in 31:55.17 by running under two minutes for the final two laps. Meanwhile Natalie Tanner of Columbia took control of the women’s 10k about 6,000 meters in and pulled away for victory in 34:13.63 to become the first Lion champion in the event since Caroline Bierbaum broke the meet record in 2005.

Cornell leads Princeton, 39-34, in the men’s point chase followed by Harvard (24) and Penn (22). We believe that the Tigers will surpassed the Big Red for the title on Sunday while the Crimson and the Quakers will have quite a tussle for third.

On the women’s side, Penn has a 12-point lead on Harvard, 45-33, with Dartmouth and Princeton both behind at 29. We project the Crimson coming back and the championship will come down to the relays. While those two will be far in front of the rest of the teams, we also see a narrow margin between third and fourth place between the Tigers and Columbia.

Sunday looks like a cloudy day in New Haven, Conn., and the winds could again wreak some havoc with the record books. The chance of rain, according to the Weather Channel, ramps up late in the day, possibly around relay time.

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