CAMBRDIGE, Mass. – In search of its third consecutive Ivy league Heptagonal Indoor Track and Field Championship, the Harvard women's team did not disappoint the lively home crowd on hand to witness the Crimson capture the team title with a program-record 125 points.
With the victory, Harvard's women have now won five indoor Heptagonal Championships in program history. The 125 points bested last season's mark of 122. Columbia finished second with 107 points, while Princeton took third with 105. On the men's side, Harvard finished fifth with 64.50 points. Princeton, Cornell and Brown represented the top three.
Harvard's women swept the performer of the meet awards, as senior Danielle Barbian was honored as the Track Athlete of the Meet and sophomore Nikki Okwelogu was named the Field Athlete of the Meet.
Barbian's record-setting day began in the 60 meter dash where she clocked in with a new standard for the Ivy League at 7.40. She continued to rack up the points, later taking the title in the 200 meter dash with a time of 24.03. That time broke her own new school record and was the fastest run by an Ivy Leaguer this year.
Okwelogu showed why she is one of the best shot putters in the nation. Her throw of 56-2.0 (17.12 meters) re-wrote the Ivy League record books setting a new meet record, as well as besting her own all-time Ivy record, and was good for the ninth-best throw in the nation this season.
The Crimson shined bright in the 60 meter hurdles, as Harvard won both the men's and women's races. Autumne Franklin led the women's team, breaking the meet record set in 2013 with her winning time of 8.41, a new personal-record and the second-fastest in program history. She was joined on the podium by Jackie Modesett and Madison Hansen, finishing third and fifth respectively. Modesett's time of 8.51 was the third-fastest time in program lore, while Hansen finished in 8.81. Jarvis Harris secured the gold in the men's race in 7.94, a time .01 off the new program record he set the day before in the prelims of 7.93.
Franklin raced her way onto the podium on two more occasions Sunday, running the fifth-fastest time in program history to take fourth in the 400 meters with a 55.07, before concluding the day as the final leg of the third-place 4x440 yard relay team. Hansen, Ashley Collinsworth and Modesett joined Franklin on the 4x440 squad that finished in 3:43.90.
Collinsworth was also stellar in the 60 meter dash, finishing as the runner-up behind Barbian, running the second-best time in program history at 7.44.
Freshman sprinter Malcolm Johnson culminated an outstanding rookie season with a title performance in the 60 meter dash. Johnson's time of 6.88 edged out Princeton's freshman Carrington Akosa, by one-hundredth of a second for the victory.
Sophomore Efe Uwaifo had a record-setting day in the triple jump, leaping 52-1.25 (15.88 meters), the furthest in school history and the longest in the Ivy league this year.
Late in the day, Harvard's 4x880 yard relay squad of Paige Kouba, Molly Renfer, Veidis and Gabrielle Scott clinched the Crimson's team victory with a first-place finish. Earning 10 points for the win with a time of 8:54.18, the Harvard lead over Columbia extended to 18 points, unsurmountable with only one event remaining.
Two of Harvard's men's relay squads found their way to the podium. In the last event of the meet, Harvard's 4x440 yard relay team of Harris, Andrew Bolze, Matthew Hurst and Alexander Moore claimed fourth, clocking in at 3:18.36. The 4x880 yard relay squad comprised of Nephat Maritim, Connor Reck, Billy Looney and Jonas Aranda finished in fifth with a 7:40.07 mark.
The points kept rolling in for Harvard in the 800 meter races. Senior Erika Veidis captured runner-up accolades with a 2:07.53 for the women, while Aranda (1:51.98) and Billy Looney (1:53.05) secured fifth and sixth, respectively, for the men.
The one mile races kicked off the day, with Harvard placing a student-athletes on the podium in the men's and women's races. Renfer's time of 4:42.98 took third and Kouba's time of 4:43.12 was good for fourth in the women's race, while Reck garnered sixth in the men's with a 4:10.06 time.
Rookie Hurst's first visit to the podium came in the 400 meter dash, as his 49.01 showing was good for fourth, while fellow rookie Bolze was right behind in 49.04, good for fifth.
The women's 500 and 1,000 meter races were run at Heps for the first time this season, and Harvard's women picked up points both. With a time of 1:13.87, G. Scott claimed fourth in the 500 meters. In the 1,000 meters, Sarah Gillespie finished third with a time of 2:49.98, the sixth-best time in program history, while Kieran Gallagher's 2:50.72 took fifth and was the eighth-fastest time in school history.
In the women's high jump, Raegan Nizdil took sixth, clearing 5-5.75 (1.67 meters).
Next up for Harvard is the IC4A/ECAC Championships held at Boston University, March 6-8.