Adabelle Ekechukwu (left) and Sydnie Leroy (right) hold the 2013 Ivy League Heptagonal Championships Trophy (Harvard Athletic Communications).
Video: Interview with Head Coach Jason Saretsky
Video: Interview with Most Outstanding Performers Adabelle Ekechukwu and Nico Weiler
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – With point scorers in seven out of ten competitions on Sunday, the Harvard women's track and field team captured its first Ivy League Heptagonal Championships title since 2000 Sunday at Gordon Indoor Track. The Crimson finished the two-day event with a total of 117 points, representing the most total points at the meet in the history of the program.
The women beat out Cornell, who led Harvard by just one point with three events remaining, 117-112.66, and also bested Columbia (85), Princeton (79.83), Dartmouth (72), Penn (27), Yale (19) and Brown (14.50).
For the men, the third-place finish represents the best since capturing the meet title in 1985. Over the two days, the men compiled 86 points, also a team-best since the 1985 championship season. Cornell (157) clipped Princeton (156) on the final event of the day, while the Crimson finished ahead of Brown (58), Columbia (50), Dartmouth (38.50), Penn (28) and Yale (15.50).
Junior women's captain Adabelle Ekechukwu was named women's field Most Outstanding Performer for her record-breaking result in the weight throw on Day 1 of the competition. Senior Nico Weiler shared the men's field Outstanding Performer honor with Damon McLean of Princeton. Weiler broke his own school mark to capture the pole vault on Day 1 of the meet.
Martina Salander and Shannon Watt got things started for the Crimson women on the day, placing fifth and sixth, respectively, in the shot put. Watt launched a throw of 13.76 (45' 1.75") and Salander posted the seventh-best mark in team history at 13.57 (44' 6.25"). Sammy Silva's time of 4:48.59 was just off the scoring pace in the mile, but was good for a tie for fifth in team history.
The Ivy titles started coming fast a furious for the women after that, beginning with the 60 hurdles. The freshman tandem of Autumne Franklin and Salander finished 1-2 in the event, with Franklin's time of 8.43 representing a meet record, held previously by Harvard's Brenda Taylor '01. Salander's time of 8.57 moves her into third all-time in team history in the event. Gabrielle Scott was up next for the Crimson, posting a narrow victory in the 400 with a time of 55.13 and Danielle Barbian (7.53) and Ashley Collinsworth (7.61) earned 14 more team points with a 2-3 result in the 60 meter dash. Barbian broke her own school record in the event, and Collinsworth moves into second on the all-time list with her finals time.
Erika Veidis ran a smart race in the 800, topping Princeton senior Greta Feldman by more than a second and capturing the event title in 2:13.20. Franklin earned another trip to the podium with a second-place result in the 200, posting a personal-best time of 24.62 in the race.
With three events remaining on the women's side, Cornell held a slim 94-93 lead but Harvard responded to a raucous home crowd with clutch performances down the stretch. Despite the 4x880 relay being run at the same time, Mary Hirst was able to focus on the high jump, clearing 1.79 (5' 10.5") to grab second in the event and edge out Ailish Hanly of Cornell, who finished third. The women's 4x880 responded as well, with Paige Kouba, Sammy Silva, Molly Renfer and Erika Veidis teaming for a second-place time of 8:47.11. The final event of the day, the 4x440 relay, came down to the wire, but the points added up in Harvard's favor as Christi Scott, Gabrielle Scott, Olivia Abbate and Autumne Franklin finished second behind Cornell with a time of 3:45.27.
The highlight of the men's day came late in the meet in the shot put. Going up against the heavily favored Stephen Mozia of Cornell, the Harvard men stayed within themselves and performed, taking three of the top four spots in the competition. Junior Dustin Brode popped a mark of 18.18 (59' 7.75") on his fourth throw of the day and the distance stood through two more rounds to give the junior the championship. Sophomore Ben Glauser took third (17.34, 56' 10.75") and Edward Brucker finished fourth (16.68, 54' 8.75").
The triple jump and high jump yielded some unexpected points for the Harvard men, as Malcom Rodriguez and Jarvis Harris took fifth and sixth in the former and Jonathan Sparks finished fifth in the latter. Harris chipped in six more points with a third-place finish in the 60 hurdles, running a time of 8.10.
Connor McCarthy picked up eight big points with a personal best in the 60 meter dash, posting a time of 6.87, while teammate Damani Wilson earned four points in fourth place at 6.88. James Leakos carved out a spot for himself in the lead pack of the men's 5,000 and rode that position to a fourth-place time of 14.21.69 in the event, the fourth-fastest time in team history. The men's distance medley relay was the best of the three Crimson relay teams, placing fourth in a time of 9:54.06.