Women’s Track & Field Wins Beantown Challenge, Men Place Third

The women's team tallied victories in nine events en route to its fifth-straight Beantown Challenge title (Brian Panoff).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Competing in its first home action of the year, Harvard women's track and field captured its fifth-straight Beantown Challenge championship while the men's squad finished third overall. The men's and women's teams combined for 15 event victories.

Junior Nikki Okwelogu powered her way to a dominant victory in the shot put, tallying a season-best mark of 53-5 (16.28 meters) that was nearly 10 feet longer than the second-place throw. Okwelogu's mark is the 11th-best throw in the country this season.

The Crimson women controlled the scoring in the sprints, with freshmen Ngozi Muza and Gabby Thomas scoring victories in the 60- and 200-meter dashes, respectively, in 7.56 and 24.04 seconds. Both marks were collegiate bests. Thomas' time was the second-fastest in Harvard history, sixth-fastest in Ivy League history, and she backed up the winning performance with a second-place result in the 60-meters (7.63).

Harvard scored a 1-2-3 finish in the 60-meter hurdles, as senior Autumne Franklin edged juniors Jackie Modesett and Jade Miller for the win. Franklin and Modesett both finished with official times of 8.68 seconds, while Miller clocked in at 8.81. Franklin finished the day with a second-place mark in the 200 meters in a season-best 24.91 seconds.

Miller, meanwhile, claimed victory in the 500 meters, beating the field with a time of 1:12.95. Senior Christi Scott set a new personal record in the 400 meters, crossing the stripe in second place (57.03). Scott also finished third in the 200 meters (25.32). Senior Paige Kouba also triumphed for the Crimson in the 1,000 meters, besting the field by six seconds with a time of 2:49.70. The captain's mark was a personal best.

In the field events, the Harvard women claimed four victories. Junior Raegan Nizdil scored her second victory of the year in the high jump (5-7, 1.70 meters) and sophomore Floriane Kameni tallied a first-place mark in the triple jump (38-10.5, 11.85 meters). Kameni's jump was a personal best. Freshman Bola Hambolu registered a pair of second-place performances in the long jump (17-10.75, 5.45 meters) and triple jump (37-10.5, 11.54 meters).

Freshman Nicole Trenchard and senior Lexie Schachne cleared 11-3.75 (3.45 meters) in the pole vault, but Trenchard earned first-place honors after missing one fewer jump in the competition.

"It was great for our women to win the Beantown trophy for the fifth year in a row," said Jason Saretsky, The William W. "Bill" McCurdy Director of Track & Field/Cross Country. "I was pleased with how competitive we were on both the men's and women's sides in so many events.  I'm excited to build off of this!"

On the men's side, junior Julian Nunally obliterated his previous career-best with a throw of 57-9.5 (17.61 meters) in the shot put to earn first-place honors. Classmate Josh Whitener, meanwhile, took second in the weight throw with a toss of 58-2 (17.73 meters).

Sophomore Alexander Moore claimed top honors in the 200 meters with a season-best time of 22.50 seconds. Senior David Gawlas placed third in the event in 23.07. Jay Hebert finished first in the 60 meter hurdles in 8.21 seconds to claim his first title of the year. The time was a season-best for the sophomore.

Freshman Kieran Tuntivate crossed the line in first place in the mile run (4:19.92)  after pulling away from the field with a 58 second last 400m while senior Malik Epps and sophomore Gabe Montague placed second in the 800- and 1,000-meter races, respectfully, in 1:56.54 and 2:29.25.

Senior Spencer Lemons scored his second victory of the season in the high jump when he successfully cleared 6-6.25 (1.99 meters). In the pole vault, freshman Ian West and junior Andrew Roney soared over the bar at 15-9 (4.80 meters), but West captured the victory with one fewer miss. West's tally was also a collegiate best.

Harvard's squad splits up Jan. 22-23 for Kentucky's Rod McCravy Memorial and the Joe Donahue Invite at the Reggie Lewis Center.