Rod McCravy Memorial, Joe Donahue Invite Next Up for Track & Field

Rod McCravy Memorial, Joe Donahue Invite Next Up for Track & Field

Harvard's women's squad tallied its fifth-consecutive Beantown Challenge title Jan. 15 (Brian Panoff).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Facing its second road trip of the season, Harvard indoor track and field splits up for a pair of meets Jan. 22-23 with the Rod McCravy Memorial, at Kentucky, and the Joe Donahue Invite at the Reggie Lewis Center. The Kentucky-hosted event will feature some of the top teams from around the country, including Baylor, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Houston, Kentucky, Miami and Virginia, among others, and will be broadcast on SEC Network+ on Saturday.

Last Time Out
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).

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).

Freshman Phenoms
A bevy of Crimson freshmen have kicked off their collegiate careers with top finishes at the BU Season Invite and Southern Tier Collegiate Invite. Gabby Thomas has tallied a quartet of victories through three meets, twice in the 60 meters and 200 meters, to lead the freshman class. Fellow sprinter Ngozi Muza has finished in the top-three in every 60-meter dash this season, including a victory at the Beantown Challenge. On the men's side, Ian White claimed top honors in the pole vault at the Beantown Challenge while Kieran Tuntivate crossed the line first in the mile run.

Scouting Harvard
Looking for its fourth-straight Ivy League Heptagonal Championship in 2016, Harvard's women's squad is balanced across the board. First team All-America selection Nikki Okwelogu placed sixth in the shot put at the 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships, and sprinter/hurdlers Autumne Franklin and Jade Miller are dueling for the top spot in multiple categories of the Harvard record book. Franklin and Paige Kouba anchor a distance medley relay team that set a new program record in 2015.

The men's squad is led by sophomore Malcolm Johnson in the sprints, junior Efe Uwaifo in the jumps and senior Thomas Purnell in the distance events. Johnson was the first across the stripe in the 60 meter dash at the Ivy League Indoor Heptagonal Championships a year ago. Uwaifo holds the Harvard triple jump record, and was the 2015 indoor Heps champion. Purnell excels in the mile run for Harvard, as the senior holds the fourth-fastest mark in school history.

The Crimson tallied 12 All-Ivy League selections in 2015, including the event's Most Outstanding Track and Field Performers of the Meet in Danielle Barbian '15 and Okwelogu, respectively.

Ivy League Digital Network
The Ivy League Digital Network returns for a third season as the home for all live streaming and on-demand video content for each of the conference's eight institutions. Broadcast in full HD and featuring a live score bug and play-by-play and color commentary, the Ivy League Digital Network provides fans with unprecedented access to the Ancient Eight.

Multiple subscription options are available to fans, including school-specific and league-wide passes. To learn more about the Ivy League Digital Network or to sign-up today, click here.

Breaking Records
Autumne Franklin broke the Harvard record in the 300 meters at the BU Season Opener when she stopped the clock at 38.72 seconds. Franklin also ranks second in program history in the 55- and 60-meter hurdles and fifth in the 400 meters.

Personal Bests
A plethora of Harvard student-athletes have already topped their previous personal records in 2015-16. Senior Emma Payne was victorious in the 3,000 meters at the Southern Tier Collegiate Invite in a personal-best 10:05.36, junior Julian Nunnally greatly surpassed his top mark with a 57-9.5 throw (17.61 meters) in the shot put and senior Paige Kouba scored a new personal record  in the 1,000 meters at 2:49.70.

Recapping Cross Country
Sophomore Courtney Smith led the charge during the cross country season, qualifying for the 2015 NCAA Championships after placing fifth in the NCAA Northeast Regional. The Westchester, Pennsylvania native was Harvard's top finisher in every race, and earned All-Ivy League first team and USTFCCCA All-Region honors. The women's team captured its first HYP victory since 1995.

The men's team was led by senior Thomas Purnell, who earned the individual championship at HYP before pacing the Crimson at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships. Senior Chris Allen finished the men's season with a second-place result at the IC4A Championships in New York.

Social Stream
Use the Social Stream on to stay connected with the Crimson on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube this year. The Social Stream brings the conversation from all four platforms into one convenient location, allowing fans of all Harvard Athletics teams to monitor the action in real time.

Follow @HarvardTrack_XC on Twitter for updates during the competition.

Aye Aye, Captain
Seniors James Lim and Thomas Purnell and Junior Andrew Roney were elected captains for the 2015-16 season on the men's side, while the women's squad will be led by seniors Autumne Franklin and Paige Kouba. All four are in their first season as captains of the Harvard track and field team.

At the Helm
Jason Saretsky is in his 10th season as the William W. "Bill" McCurdy Director of Track and Field /Cross Country, and during his tenure the Crimson women have tallied three indoor Ivy League Championships. Saretsky's tenure has seen 21 All-America performances, 30 NCAA qualifiers and 79 Heptagonal champions.

What's Next?
Harvard's squad travels to Staten Island to compete in the annual Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet On Friday, Jan. 29. The Tigers will serve as the event's host team.