Thirteen Track & Field Athletes Prepare for NCAA East Region Championships

Thirteen Track & Field Athletes Prepare for NCAA East Region Championships

Harvard's group of athletes is made up of eight women and five men (Sideline Photos/The Ivy League).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – With the regular season in the books, Harvard track and field is set to send 13 student-athletes to the NCAA East Region Championships May 26-28 at Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. Eight of the No. 17 Harvard women's entries are among the top 10 seeds in the competition.

"I'm really excited for the competition to get underway in Jacksonville as we have such a strong group of men and women competing," said Jason Saretsky, the William W. 'Bill' McCurdy Director of Track & Field/Cross Country. "Many of them have been through the rounds before and know what it takes to get to Eugene, and I'm confident we could see a record number of qualifiers advance."

The Crimson will be represented by Autumne Franklin, Brett Henderson, Paige Kouba, Myles Marshall, Jade Miller, Ngozi Musa, Julian Nunally, Nikki Okwelogu, Brandon Price, Christi Scott, Elianna Shwayder, Gabby Thomas and Efe Uwaifo.

By the Numbers

  • 3: Harvard captured its third-straight outdoor Heps title on the women's side, scoring 160 points to topple the field
  • 5: Five Harvard women have combined to post six times that qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials:  Thomas, Franklin, Kouba, Miller and Courtney Smith.
  • 13: The Crimson are represented in the field by 13 student-athletes, with three sprinters and a thrower set to compete in multiple events
  • 21: Harvard's school records – indoor and outdoor combined – have fallen in an astonishing 21 different events this season.

On the Track
All eyes will be on the Crimson women's sprinters and hurdlers, where Harvard has qualified athletes in the 200, 400 hurdles and 4x100 and 4x400 relays. After sweeping the Heps Most Outstanding Track Athlete awards for both the indoor and outdoor seasons, senior Autumne Franklin holds the third-fastest time in the 400 hurdles entering the weekend. Junior Jade Miller is just behind, holding the seventh-fastest mark in the event. Freshman Gabby Thomas has tallied the fifth-fastest time in the 200 meters, and the trio pairs with freshman Ngozi Musa for the 4x100 and senior Christi Scott in the 4x400 relays. Senior Paige Kouba holds the fourth seeds in the 3,000 steeplechase, holding a time of 9:50.21.

On the men's side, Myles Marshall and Brandon Price will represent Harvard in the 800- and 5,000-meter runs, respectively. Marshall holds the 21st-best time entering the meet, but is just one second removed from the top-10, while Price enters with the 23rd-quickest time in the 5K.

In the Field
Junior Nikki Okwelogu leads the charge for the Crimson in the field, entering the championships with top-10 seeds in both the shot put and discus. The school record holder in both events, Okwelogu is ranked fourth in the shot put and 10th in the discus in the East region.

Three men's field athletes qualified for the NCAA regionals – junior Efe Uwaifo in the triple jump, junior Julian Nunally in the discus and junior Brett Henderson in the javelin. Uwaifo holds the East's 13th-farthest mark in the triple jump, while Nunally and Henderson both rank 36th in their events.

How to Advance
Student-athletes that place in the top-12 of their respective events will qualify for the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon. The top-12 finishing individuals and relay teams from the West region will join the East qualifiers to compete at Hayward Field.

Poll Position
Following another highly successful weekend, Harvard women's outdoor track and field jumped to No. 10 in the USTFCCCA national rankings on April 27, signifying the program's highest all-time ranking. The squad checked in at No. 17 this week, and was the eighth ranking of the season.

For the full top-25, click here.

#RecordBreakers

Last Time Out
Taking to the track for the final time before the NCAA regional championships, Harvard tallied a series of top results May 13-15 at the IC4A/ECAC Championships and Battle Road Track Club Twilight Meet.

At the ECAC Championships freshman Gabby Thomas crossed the stripe in the 200 meters in 23.27 seconds to claim the victory, while senior Autumne Franklin took third and junior Jade Miller fifth. The times from Franklin and Miller are career bests and the second- and third-fastest in program history.

Full Recap: Thomas Leads No. 14 Women's Track at ECAC Championships

All-Ivy Recognition
On the heels of Harvard women's track and field's third-consecutive Ivy League championship, 14 student-athletes garnered All-Ivy recognition in 17 different events, with Harvard recording first-place performances 10 times. The student-athletes recognized by the conference are:

Autumne Franklin, Nikki Okwelogu, Gabby Thomas, Ngozi Musa, Jade Miller, Madison Hansen, Paige Kouba, Gabe Montague, Malik Epps, Thomas Negron, Myles Marshall, Lexie Schachne, Allison Morrison and Efe Uwaifo.

Honor Roll
Sophomore Courtney Smith was named the USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week April 5. Smith posted the eighth-fastest time in NCAA history in the 10,000 meters (32:08.32) en route to beating the Olympic standard at the Stanford Invitational. The best mark in the NCAA this season, Smith's time shattered the Ivy League and Harvard records.

The national weekly award was the first of Smith's career.

Qualifying Marks
What were the times and marks set by Harvard student-athletes to qualify for the regional championships?

EVENT

Women's Leader

Time/Mark

EVENT

Men's Leader

Time/Mark

200

Gabby Thomas

22.75*

800

Myles Marshall

1:48.20

3,000S

Paige Kouba

9:50.21*

5,000

Brandon Price

13:58.57

10,000

Elianna Shwayder

34:40.83

Triple Jump

Efe Uwaifo

52-5.25

400H

Autumne Franklin

55.70

Discus

Julian Nunally

176-8

400H

Jade Miller

56.44

Javelin

Brett Henderson

215-4

SP

Nikki Okwelogu

56-3.75

 

Discus

Nikki Okwelogu

180-8*

 

4x100

Musa/Miller/Franklin/Thomas

44.56*

 

4x400

Thomas/Franklin/Scott/Miller

3:32.05*

 

*Denotes School Record

Feature Video: Jackie Modesett & Community Service

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 outdoor and four indoor Ivy League Championships. Saretsky's tenure has seen 23 All-America performances, 32 NCAA qualifiers and 99 Heptagonal champions.

What's Next?
The student-athletes that qualify will advance to the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon from June 8-11.