2016-17 Female Rookie of the Year

Early in the 2016-17 indoor season, we had this to say about the Rookie of the Week honoree back on December 11, 2016:

“Dartmouth freshman Cha’Mia Rothwell (Durham, N.C.) served notice to the entire conference on Saturday at a tri-meet hosted by the Big Green. She won three events — the 60-meter dash (7.55), the 60-meter hurdles (8.56) and the long jump (19-1 1/2). Her hurdle time is ranked in the League’s top 10 all-time while she claimed the long jump in just three attempts, each of which would have won the event.”

Well, it only got better from there as Rothwell continued to get faster and better.

She took down her first conference record at February’s Indoor Heps championships as she won the 60m hurdles title in a speedy 8.30 (the record she broke was set in 2000 by 2004 Olympian Brenda Taylor [Harvard ’02]).  For comparison sake, that 8.30 time made Rothwell the 7th fastest freshman hurdler in the nation.  Now, that wasn’t even her first conference title.  She earned that the day before, where she became the 7th woman in Heps history to soar past 20-feet in the long jump, winning with a distance of 20-03 (the fifth best distance in conference history).  This performance was recognized by conference coaches, and they voted her as the Field Event Performer of the meet.

Rothwell’s hurdle dominance continued into the outdoor season, where at Outdoor Heps, she flirted with the meet record of 13.35 set by Princeton’s Nicole Harrison in 1997.  Unfortunately, Rothwell’s preliminary round time of 13.23 was “wind-aided” and would not count for record breaking purposes.  There should be some consolation with her final time of 13.39 (at the legal limit of 2.0 m/s) to win her third conference title of the year – the second fastest time in meet history.  Her fastest time of the year came in the NCAA Preliminary Rounds where she finished 15th overall in 13.36 – second fastest time in conference history.

While she is the new face of Ivy League hurdling, she will continue to be a threat in the long jump and open dashes.  So she’ll continue to serve her notice to the League, as long as she continues to compete.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Harvard freshman Zoe Hughes was often seen running between different events at a Heps championships, and that’s not just because she was competing in the multi-event disciplines.  She would pull triple duty: competing in the open long jump, multi-event, and relays, winning in the relays and multi-events and scoring in the long jump in both the indoor and outdoor seasons.  Her pentathlon score of 4,093 points from Indoor Heps made the NCAA qualification cut, and she earned Second-Team All-American honors with a 10th place finish in early March.
  • Harvard freshman Judy Pendergast was instrumental in Harvard winning their first ever Triple Crown (XC-Indoor-Outdoor conference team titles) in school history.  She was Harvard’s #3 runner at HepsXC, where she finished sixth overall and top freshman in the race. Pendergast got an individual title of her own with the Indoor Heps 5,000m title (16:07.26), followed by two runner-up finishes in the Indoor Heps 3,000m and Outdoor Heps 5,000m, and a third place finish in the Outdoor Heps 10km races.  These points were critical for the Crimson as very few of their distance runners were able to compete all year due to injury or taking time off from school.

photo by Doug Austin

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