First Since 1962

NCAA Championships Day 1 Photos by Michael Scott

Heps champion.  Ivy League record holder.  US Champion.  Olympian.

Now add “NCAA Champion” to the list of titles that Cornell senior Rudy Winkler has earned during his collegiate career.

Winkler came into his final NCAA championship with the #2 best hammer performance in the nation, 237-02, and was projected by some outlets to finish third in the competition.  Well, they thought wrong.  Winkler unleashed a 243-02 on his third toss of the competition to advance to the top of the leader board.  And there, he stayed, becoming the fifth Ivy Leaguer ever and first Ivy Leaguer since 1962 to win the NCAA hammer title.  This is the third time Winkler has earned a top 8 finish at NCAAs, as he finished 8th in 2015 and was runner-up last year.

Penn’s Sean Clarke finished his freshman campaign with a Second-Team All-America finish in the pole vault.  He finished fifteenth overall as he cleared 5.30m/17-04.5 on his final attempt at the height for a new personal best.  The next height – 5.45m or 17-10.5 – is a height that only three Ivy Leaguers have ever cleared and while Clarke did not clear it, he now has a great goal for next year.  Princeton senior August Kiles also competed but he did not clear his opening height of 5.15m/16-10.75.

The other HepsNation athletes that competed on Day 1 of the NCAA championship were in the 1,500m semifinals.  Cornell senior James Gowans was the top Ivy undergrad in the field, as he finished 17th overall with a time of 3:45.39, a split second faster than Yale sophomore Trevor Reinhart (who had the same time but in a later heat).  The top HepsNation athlete was Dartmouth alum Tim Gorman, who finished 16th overall with 3:45.24.  Columbia senior Rob Napolitano ran 3:46.50 for 21st overall, while Princeton junior Will Paulson did not finish his race due to a tight hamstring on the final lap.  Only 12 athletes advanced to the 1,500m final.

Today begins the women’s competition.  HepsNation will compete for their chance to earn a NCAA title in the hammer throw (Princeton’s Julia Ratcliffe), pole vault (Princeton’s Allison Harris), and 10km (Columbia’s Natalie Tanner), while the semifinals are contested in the 1,500m (Cornell’s Shannon Hugard, Dartmouth’s Helen Schlachtenhaufen, Yale’s Frances Schmiede), steeplechase (Columbia’s Nell Crosby), 100m/200m (Harvard’s Gabrielle Thomas), and 400m hurdles (Harvard’s Jade Miller and Cornell’s Taysia Radoslav).  Action will commence at 5pm ET.

photo by Andy Nelson from the Eugene Register-Guard

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