Six Lions went to Albuquerque, N.M., this weekend for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, and all six are returning to Morningside Heights as first-team All-Americans.
With junior Nadia Eke’s sixth-place finish in the triple jump, senior John Gregorek’s sixth-place finish in the mile, and a fifth-place finish in the men’s distance medley relay, the track and field team proved that it has the talent to compete in individual events at a national level.
The weekend caps off a strong indoor season for the Lions, who didn’t have a strong all-around team but did have many pockets of excellence.
The men’s distance program has consistently been the best arm of the team, with the four athletes comprising Columbia’s first-ever NCAAs DMR—junior Brendon Fish, first-year Noah Lartigue, senior Harry McFann, and senior Dan Everett—among the most reliable top finishers for the team. And Gregorek has had a stellar senior season, breaking four minutes at Heps and qualifying for the prestigious Wanamaker Mile in February.
Despite their successful finishes, none of the athletes set personal records over the weekend. Eke was just 0.02 meters shy of her 13.09 record in the triple jump, and Gregorek ran 4:04.68. The DMR team ran the 4,000 meters in 9:42.48, but its seed time was 9:30, although that was set by a slightly different quartet of Lions three weeks ago.
The cutoff for nationals is already tough—top 16 for individual events and top 12 for relays. The top eight receive first-team honors.
The team and coaching staff were celebrating their victory Saturday night and in transit back to New York Sunday morning and were unavailable for comment.