Franklin was named the Ivy League Track Athlete of the Meet (Sideline Photos/The Ivy League).
ITHACA, N.Y. – Putting an exclamation point on the two-day Ivy League Indoor Heptagonal Championships, Harvard women's track and field tallied its fourth Ivy League title in a row with 136.5 points. The men's squad took fifth place after pulling in 46 points.
Senior Autumne Franklin was named the meet's Most Outstanding Track Athlete after posting victories in the 400 meters and 60 meter hurdles, while also serving on the championship-winning 4x400 meter relay team. Franklin crossed the stripe in 54.60 seconds in the 400 meters and 8.42 seconds in the 60 meter hurdles, equaling a season-best. Franklin became the Ancient Eight's second four-time champion in the hurdles.
"I'm incredibly proud of our men's and women's teams," said Jason Saretsky, the William W. 'Bill' McCurdy Director of Track and Field/Cross Country. "The men really needed to scratch and claw out every point to end up in fifth after a serious of tough breaks, and the women had to pull out all of the stops to hold off Cornell on their home turf. For our senior women, to think they have gone through their Harvard careers winning four-consecutive indoor Heps championships, it is just remarkable."
Thomas had a memorable meet as well, capturing victories in the 60- and 200-meter runs to go with her triumph in the long jump on Saturday. The freshman posted a time of 7.44 seconds in the 60 meters to edge classmate Ngozi Musa (7.47) for the event title. Musa finished second in the event, giving Harvard the top two finishers for the third year in a row. Earlier in the meet, Thomas dashed to a time of 23.80 seconds in the 200 meters to earn the crown.
Junior Nikki Okwelogu captured her third-consecutive Heps title in the shot put after her best toss soared to 55-9.75 (17.01 meters). The throw was the best of the season for Okwelogu, who won the event by nearly 10 feet.
The women's hurdlers took the top three spots on the podium, led by the victory from Franklin. Miller took second after clocking in at 8.51 seconds while junior Jackie Modesett placed third in 8.61 seconds. The time was a career-best for Miller, who also took third in the 500 meters (1:13.21), and is tied for the third-best time in program history.
Modesett went on to take first in the distance medley relay with seniors Paige Kouba and Kieran Gallagher and sophomore Courtney Smith. The group finished in 11:30.85, which is the fourth-fastest time in Harvard history and the fastest at the championship meet. Kouba also placed third in the mile run (4:53.66).
The men's squad captured a pair of victories in the meet, coming in the triple jump and 4x800 meter relays. Junior Efe Uwaifo defended his Heps crown with a jump of 52-2.75 (15.92) meters, setting a new career- and Harvard-best. The jump is the sixth-longest in Ivy history. Senior Malcolm Mason Rodriguez followed his fourth-place result in the long jump with a season-best effort in the triple (50-3.75, 15.33m) to take fourth.
The 4x800 meter relay team was comprised of sophomores Jonas Aranda and Gabe Montague, freshman Myles Marshall and senior Malik Epps. The group's combined time of 7:37.13 is the seventh-best effort in Harvard history. Marshall went on to take sixth in the 800 meters (1:53.75) despite falling early in the run.
Junior Brandon Price ran to second place in the 5,000 meters, crossing the line in a season-best 14:32.11. Sophomore Jay Hebert, meanwhile, set a personal best in the 60 meter hurdles (8.11), posting a fifth-place result overall.
Senior Mark Hill placed fourth in the heptathlon after finishing with a career-best 4,974 points, which ranks second in Harvard history. Hill's best finish came in the long jump, where he took second at 22-8.5 (6.92m). Hill also set personal bests in the shot put (35-10, 10.92m), pole vault (12-11.5, 3.95m) and 60 meters (7.21).
Junior Julian Nunally took fifth in the shot put (55-5.5, 16.90m) while classmate Josh Whitener wound up eighth in the weight throw (58-1.25, 17.71m). Senior Spencer Lemons cleared 6-7 (2.01 meters) in the high jump to take eighth.
Harvard takes to the track again March 5-6 at Boston University for the IC4A/ECAC Championships at Boston University.