Okwelogu Breaks Ivy League Shot Put Record as Track and Field Excels at UVA Challenge

Okwelogu Breaks Ivy League Shot Put Record as Track and Field Excels at UVA Challenge

Nikki Okwelogu set the new Ivy League record in the shot put Saturday at UVA (Brian Panoff).

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – An exceptional weekend of competition at the UVA Challenge came to a conclusion Saturday night with a number of performances that reshaped the Harvard all-time performance lists. Spotlighting the great showing by the Crimson was sophomore thrower Nikki Okwelogu, whose toss of 55-0.75 (16.78 meters) in the invitational shot put won the event and broke the Ivy League record.

On the track, the Crimson had three blazing performances in the 200 meter dash. Danielle Barbian moved up to fourth on the all-time performance list with a time of 24.29 and Christi Scott was right behind her with the fifth-fastest time of 24.39. Ashley Collinsworth also had a good race, coming in at 24.56.

In the women's 400 meter hurdles, Jade Miller came within .03 of winning the event, finishing in 57.67. Jackie Modesett claimed ninth, posting a personal best time of 59.87, good for fourth-fastest in program history. Modesett also finished strong in the 100 meter hurdles, taking eighth in the event with a time of 13.76, also a personal best, which ranks third on the all-time performance list.

Distance competitors Molly Renfer and Whitney Thornburg etched their names into the Harvard record books in the 5,000 meter race. Renfer's time of 16:25.83 went down as the fifth-fastest in school lore, with Thornburg close behind at 16:27.18, the sixth-best time. Courtney Smith broke her own personal record at the collegiate level in the event, crossing in 16:46.74. Dan Milechman recorded a time of 14:25.77 on the men's side.

The 1,500 meter races on both sides saw Crimson runners post top-10 times. In the women's race, Sarah Gillespie now holds the second-fastest time in Harvard history at 4:21.04. Thomas Purnell has taken over the eighth spot on the men's all-time performance list with his 3:47.99 showing. Gabe Montague registered the best time of his career at 1,500 meters, finishing in 3:53.29.

The women's 4x400 relay squad of Miller, Madison Hansen, Modesett and C. Scott raced to the sixth-fastest time in program history, stopping the clock in 3:42.67. Scott anchored the group with a time of 54.2.

Of Harvard three multi-events student-athletes in action Friday and Saturday, two set personal records. Mark Hill eclipsed the 6,000-point mark for the first time in his career, ending competition with a score of 6,008 which is good for fourth-most in the record books. In the women's heptathlon, Hansen took fourth overall with a score of 5,070, while Allison Morrison earned seventh with a personal best 4,972.

Three other Harvard field athletes notched top-10 finishes. Spencer Lemons finished tied for fourth in the men's high jump, clearing 6-7.5 (2.02 meters), Hannah Mayer had the sixth-farthest throw in the invite javelin event at 147-11 (45.08 m) and Taylor DuPont secured seventh in the shot put with her throw of 40-0.5 (12.2 meters), her best mark this spring.

Harvard also sent a small contingent of competitors to the MIT Sean Collier Invite on Saturday. Five student-athletes placed top-10 in their respective events, led by Lucia Alexander's fourth-place finish in the high jump. Alex Kirby and Raymond Randall took seventh and eighth in the 400 meter hurdles. Kirby also finished 10th in the javelin. Fred Ward raced his way to eighth in the 1,500 meter event, while Tomoya Hasegawa earned ninth in the 100 meter dash.

Regular season competition wraps up for Harvard next weekend with two events. The Crimson will participate in the historic Penn Relays from April 23-25 before ending the season at the Brown Springtime Invitational on Sunday, April 26.