That Nationals Smile

The first day of the NCAA East Preliminaries in Lexington, Ky., saw four Ivy Leaguers earn their spot at Nationals and 21 others move one step closer.

Princeton senior hammer thrower Julia Ratcliffe didn’t let the damp weather stop her as she posted the competition’s top two throws, including the winner of 65.42 meters (214-7). Not much later she found a roommate for Nationals in Eugene, Ore., as teammate Allison Harris advanced in the pole vault with a clearance of 4.10 meters (13-5 1/4). Both have been known to don a Tiger mascot costume on site after completing their events. Be ready, Eugene.

Cornell senior hammer man Rudy Winkler didn’t have his best night, but he didn’t need to. His best throw of 68.80 (225-9) was sixth, but was certainly enough to punch his ticket to Oregon. When the last throw was recorded online, Princeton sophomore Adam Kelly was sitting in the last advancing spot (12th) with his 66.41-meter toss (217-10). But the result soon turned to “under review” and this morning Kelly has dropped to 14th, which we will leave him on the sidelines at Nats.

The final Heps’ qualifier of the night was Columbia senior Natalie Tanner, who was fifth in the 10,000-meter run in 33:41.65. Running in a large pack all night, Tanner’s late surge left her less than four seconds off the pace of winner Annie Bothma of Coastal Carolina.

The men’s 1,500-meter quarterfinals will be Ivy covered as eight of the 24 advancers came from the League. Six — Princeton junior William Paulson, Cornell senior James Gowans, Columbia senior Rob Napolitano, Yale senior James Randon, Yale sophomore Trevor Reinhardt and Penn senior Chris Hatler —earned automatic spots with a top-five finish in their heat. Princeton junior Garrett O’Toole and Columbia sophomore Sam Ritz took time qualifiers with O’Toole’s 3:49.12 in a fast heat being the fastest time of the eight.

The 1,500 also provided advancement to Saturday’s quarterfinal for four Heps’ women — Dartmouth senior Helen Schlautenhaufen, Yale senior Frances Schmiede, Cornell junior Shannon Hugard and Princeton senior Kaitlin Hanss.

Two of Harvard’s superstars — senior Jade Miller and sophomore Gabby Thomas — had solid first-round performances. Miller had the day’s second-best 400-meter time (57.31) just ahead of Cornell junior Taysia Radoslav (57.64). Both who will seek a national qualifier on Friday. Thomas won her 100-meter dash heat with a time of 11.35, but she isn’t the only Ivy League moving on to the quarterfinal as Penn junior Taylor McCorkle will join her.

Columbia junior Akua Obeng-Akrofi clocked a 53.19 in the 400-meter dash, which was enough to claim an automatic berth into Friday’s quarterfinals.

And, finally, the 800-meter run showed just how unforgiving track can be. The Ivy women took the last three qualifying spots as Penn freshman Nia Akins, Princeton sophomore Anna Jurew and Columbia junior Sarah Hardie all ran in the 2:08s. But Akins’ run in the last heat ended teammate Maddie Villalba’s season (as she was on the bubble).

On the men’s side, Columbia sophomore Alek Sauer earned an auto spot, but Harvard sophomore Myles Marshall missed out by three-hundreths of a second.

Friday’s schedule starts with the women’s discus at 2 pm while running events begin at 4:30 pm.

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