Six of the track and field team’s best were crowned Ivy champs on Sunday, as the women took a middling fourth and the men sixth in a weekend full of close wins and near-misses.
At outdoor heps in New Haven, Connecticut, rain delayed much of the action Saturday, but the sun came out for the finals on Sunday, as three Columbians claimed individual titles: senior Harry McFann in the 800 meters, senior Marvellous Iheukwumere in the 200-meter dash, and junior Nadia Eke in the long jump.
The 4x800 meter relay team of first-year Rob Napolitano, senior John Gregorek, junior Brendon Fish, and McFann also edged out a thrilling win. McFann, in the anchor position, ran neck-and-neck with Brown’s Henry Tufnell. With about 100 meters to go, Tufnell tried to pull ahead, but McFann held on to win it by three-tenths of a second.
But there were a number of disappointing, almost-had-it moments where the Lions came up short. In a heartbreaking photo finish, Gregorek missed the 1,500 title he won last year by .01 seconds to Dartmouth’s Steve Mangan. Junior Dan Everett took second in the 5k within one second of the leader. Eke fell short of adding a second Heps title this season in the long jump by .01 meters.
In other events, the Lions didn’t live up to their full potential. Senior Duncan Dickerson, who won the hammer throw last year, fell to fourth this time around. Iheukwumere ran the 100-meter dash in 11.63 seconds in the prelims—faster than any woman the whole weekend—but dropped to seventh and .33 seconds slower in the finals. And the men of the Ivy-winning cross country team were nowhere to be found in the 10k, with the top Light Blue athlete finishing ninth, 30 seconds behind the leader.
Still, there were some bright spots beyond just the individual titles. Fish came in just behind McFann in the 800 to take second. And Napolitano’s fifth-place finish in the that race, plus his performance in the 4x8, signal that the team will still have a strong middle-distance runner after McFann and Gregorek graduate next week.
Senior Trina Bills has been just short of the top spot all season, and, as at indoor Heps, finished the 800 right behind Harvard’s Erika Veidis. As expected, Dartmouth powerhouse Abbey D’Agostino won the women’s 3k, 5k, and 10k races, but Columbia put up a good fight in the 5k, with junior Waverly Neer taking second and senior Caroline Williams in fifth.
There’s still IC4A/ECACs next weekend, and many of the Lions are in a good position to qualify for NCAA Eastern Regionals, which take place in Jacksonville, Fla., at the end of the month.
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