More First-Teamers for Harvard

The 2016-17 collegiate track & field season came to a close yesterday as the women wrapped up their competitions in Eugene, Ore.  Of the five athletes that competed yesterday, two of them earned top-8 finishes in their respective events to claim First-Team All-American honors while the other three will receive Honorable Mentions accolades.

Harvard senior Jade Miller earned her second career First-Team accolade in the 400m hurdles with her sixth place finish in 56.61, getting nipped at the line by LSU’s Kimber Payne for fifth (56.60).  This is the third straight year that a Harvard hurdler has earned First-Team honors in this event: Miller previously finished 5th in 2015 and Autumne Franklin was 4th last year.

Less than 10 minutes later, the gun went off for the 200m final.  Harvard sophomore Gabrielle Thomas – who had the fifth fastest time in the semifinals in 22.83 – finished 3rd in the final with a time of 22.61.  Thomas finished third in this event last year.  The 2017 final did have some drama though as Oregon’s Deajah Stevens tripped and fell with about 20m remaining in the race.  Just prior to the fall, Stevens was battling for the lead with eventual-winner Kyra Jefferson of Florida.  Fortunately to Thomas, Stevens fell to her left (away from Thomas) so the fall did not impede Thomas’ race.

Columbia senior Natalie Tanner contested her second event of the NCAA championships after that dramatic 200m final – the 5,000m.  Tanner raced the 10km two days before, making her one of three athletes who completed that double at this NCAA championships.  Tanner finished 24th overall with a time of 16:31.13.

Out in the field events, two other HepsNation athletes completed their collegiate careers.  First up, Brown’s Shanelle DeJournett competed in her first NCAA final in the high jump.  Unfortunately, she was one of two athletes who did not clear the opening height of 5-08.  DeJournett has previously cleared 5-10 1/2 this outdoor season, with her all-time best height of 5-11 1/4 coming this past indoor season.  Later, Harvard’s Nikki Okwelogu struggled in the discus final.  While she did get legal marks in the competition, she threw well below her best to finish 23rd overall with a 143-10 performance.

At the end of the competition, the Cornell men had the best overall finish for any Heps team this year, as their 10 points placed them 26th overall in the men’s competition.  For the women, Harvard was in a tie for 29th place with 9 points, while Princeton was in a tie for 52nd with 3 points.

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