Okwelogu, Thomas, Relays Earn Berths to NCAA Championships on Final Day of Regionals

Okwelogu, Thomas, Relays Earn Berths to NCAA Championships on Final Day of Regionals

In total Harvard will be represented by seven student-athletes at the NCAA Championships (Sideline Photos/The Ivy League).

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Finishing the three-day NCAA East Region championship meet in Florida, Harvard track and field had a pair of individuals and two relay teams qualify for the NCAA Championships at Oregon from June 8-11. Junior Nikki Okwelogu earned her second berth to the title event, while freshman Gabby Thomas tallied a dominant performance in the 200 meters. Qualifying efforts by the relay teams capped off the Saturday performance.

Okwelogu, who qualified for the NCAA Championships in the discus yesterday, posted the top mark in the shot put on Saturday with a record-breaking toss of 58-9.25 (17.91m). Competing in the final flight of the day, Okwelogu broke the Ivy League and Harvard records with the throw and bested the second-place finisher, Tennessee's Cassie Wertman, by two feet and four inches. Okwelogu took third in the shot put at this year's indoor championships to earn first team All-America status.

Already the Harvard and Ivy League record holder in the 200 meters, Thomas ran to a time of 22.37 seconds as the second-fastest finisher in the competition. The time would have broken her personal best, but it was wind-aided at plus-3.4 meters per second. Thomas was the fastest in her heat, edging LSU's Jada Martin at the line to secure the automatic berth to the NCAA Championships. The time is the second-fastest in the country this season.

"Our women's team had an outstanding meet and I'm pumped for them to compete in Eugene," said Jason Saretsky, the William W. 'Bill' McCurdy Director of Track & Field/Cross Country. "This is a record number of female qualifiers for our program and the journey continues for this special group."

The 4x100 relay squad, comprised of Thomas, freshman Ngozi Musa, junior Jade Miller and senior Autumne Franklin, opened the day's festivities with the eighth-fastest time in the event. Clocking in at 44.29 seconds, the quartet broke their own Harvard and Ivy League records en route to advancing to the NCAA Championships. The group is the first 4x100 squad from the Ivy League to advance to the finals, and the first relay team from Harvard to qualify for the NCAA Championships.

Thomas (52.3), Franklin (51.2), senior Christi Scott (54.2) and Miller (52.2) ran to a time of 3:29.98 in the 4x400 relay, which was the fifth-fastest time overall. The time broke the Harvard school record and Ivy League records by more than two seconds. The Crimson earned the automatic selection with the top-three finish in their heat, and the group joined the 4x100 squad as the only relays to qualify for the NCAA Championships.

Junior Efe Uwaifo leapt to a mark of 51-0.25 (15.55m) in the triple jump, which was the 23rd-farthest jump of the event.

Junior Brandon Price tallied the 29th-fastest time in the men's 5,000 meters, clocking in at 14:35.97. Competing in his first NCAA regionals, Price took 12th in his heat.

Harvard wrapped up the NCAA East Regional meet with seven student-athletes qualifying for the NCAA Championships in eight events; the Crimson will be represented by Thomas (200m, 4x100, 4x400), Franklin (400H, 4x100, 4x400), Miller (400H, 4x100, 4x400), Okwelogu (shot put, discus), senior Paige Kouba (3,000sc), Musa (4x100) and Scott (4x400). The main event runs from June 8-11 at Oregon's Hayward Field, and will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks.