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2013 Heptagonal Women's Indoor Track & Field Championship Preview

Championship Central

CAMBRIDGE, Mass -- In 2012, the Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor title went to a team other than Cornell or Princeton for the first time since Brown won in 2001. Columbia won its first-ever championship with 124 points, holding off the Big Red, which tallied 103 points. In 2013, however, Cornell and Princeton are looking to get back to the top. First they will have to get past Columbia, which returns a two-time Most Outstanding Performer and has no plans to give up the title.

Harvard has hosted the Ivy League Indoor Championships seven times, the last coming in 2009. Brown, Cornell and Princeton have each won the title twice when the Crimson held the championships and the Big Red have taken the past two, in 2005 and 2009. The home team hopes to hold serve, as Harvard ranks No. 1 or No. 2 in a League-high 10 events this season, including No. 1 in five events, which is tied for the League-lead with Princeton, which has eight combined first or second-best marks in the conference. Cornell (seven) and Columbia (six) are close behind.

The field events are especially shaping up to be filled with drama and excitement. For the women, Harvard senior Sydnie Leroy tied with three-time defending indoor pole vault champion Tory Worthen of Princeton at HYP, as each cleared 12-10. Tiger freshman Julia Ratcliffe set the Ivy League weight throw record earlier this season, broke her own mark during the HYP meet, and then saw the Crimson's Adabelle Ejechukwu break that mark again en route to a victory in the event.

On the track, Columbia senior Sharay Hale, who swept the 200m and 400m dashes in 2010 and 2011 en route to twice being named Most Outstanding Performer, returns after missing last season due to injury. Dartmouth junior Abbey D'Agostino, who won the mile in 2012 and placed second in the 5,000m, holds the top times in the NCAA this season in the mile and the 3,000m. D'Agostino will face stiff competition in the 3,000m from a trio of Big Red runners, as juniors Rachel Sorna and Emily Shearer and senior Katie Kellner rank 2-3-4 in that event this season.

Team-by-team breakdown:

Brown: Prior to 2012, the Bears had won four-straight shot put titles, as Danielle Grunloh took the title in 2009 and 2010 and Brynn Smith won the event in 2011. Freshman Josephine Darpolar looks to give the title back to the Bears in 2013, as she ranks second this season with a mark of 48-11. Senior Lacey Craker, who placed second in the weight throw in 2012, ranks third in the event with a season-best toss of 58-1 ¾.

Columbia: The Lions won their first-ever title in 2012 to become the first championship squad for either the men or the women since the men tied with Cornell in 1953. Junior Marvellous Iheukwumere, who won the 200m in 2012 and placed second in the 60m, holds the best time in the former event and the second-fastest time in the latter event this season. Columbia has also posted impressive results in the field events, as two-time defending long jump champion Uju Ofoche and 2012 triple jump winner Nadia Eke hold the conference's best marks this season in their respective events. The 2010 and 2011 Most Outstanding Performer, senior Sharay Hale, ranks fourth in the 400m this season.

Cornell: The Big Red has won the last two Ivy League Indoor Championships that took place at Harvard (2005, 2009). Cornell finished second last year with 103 points and looks to win its first title since that 2009 campaign. Juniors Rachel Sorna and Emily Shearer and senior Katie Kellner rank 2-3-4 in the 3,000m this season and Sorna and Keller are 1-2 in the 5,000m. Sorna set the fourth-best 5,000m time in League history during the Boston University Terrier Classic, crossing the line in 15:53.76. Senior Victoria Imbesi, the 2012 Ivy League shot put champion, holds the season's best toss with a mark of 50-1 ¾.

Dartmouth: Thanks to junior Abbey D'Agostino, the 2012 Outdoor Most Outstanding Performer who finished fifth in the 5,000m Olympic Trials, Dartmouth is No. 19 in the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Association (USTFCCCA) top-25 poll. D'Agostino holds the top NCAA times in the mile (4:31.47) and the 3,000m (8:55.41). Both times are the tops in Ivy League history. D'Agostino won the mile in 2012 and placed second in the 5,000m. Junior Janae Dunchack, the two-time defending pentathlon champion, ranks second in her signature event this season.

Harvard: The Crimson looks to win its first title since 2000, and this may be its year. Harvard leads the League in top marks this season (five events) and second-best marks (five events), including the all-time Ivy League record in the weight throw by junior Adabelle Ekechukwu (65-11 ¾), the defending champion in that event. Freshman Martina Salander is the Ivy leader in the pentathlon, with a high mark of 4,094 points, while senior Sydnie Leroy is tied for the top mark in the pole vault with Princeton's three-time defending champion, Tory Worthen. Senior Mary Hirst, who placed second in the high jump last season, holds the season's best mark with a leap of 5-10 ¾ and Salander and fellow classmate Autumne Franklin rank 2-3 in the 60m hurdles. Sophomores Gabrielle Scott and Molly Renfer and Franklin rank second in the 400m, 800m and 200m, respectively, while sophomore Danielle Barbian is tied for first with Princeton's Sarah Lavin in the 60m dash with a time of 7.59.

Penn: The Quakers hope to win their first title since 1996. Last year's 60m hurdles champion, junior Gabrielle Piper, ranks fourth in that event this season and looks to hold on to her title. Freshman Theresa Picciallo holds the fourth-best shot put mark this season with a heave of 46-3 ½, while senior Davielle Brown is tied for fourth in the pole vault after clearing 12-5 ½ at the NYRR College Night at the Armory. Penn sophomore Lydia Ali and senior Nony Onyeador are tied for fourth in the 60m dash as each posted a time of 7.69.

Princeton: After two-straight titles in 2010 and 2011, the Tigers slipped to fifth last season. But Princeton is first or second in eight events this season as it looks to get back to the top. Freshman Julia Ratcliffe twice set the all-time Ivy League record in the weight throw, only to see it broken by Harvard's Adabelle Ekechukwu. Another freshman, Sarah Lavin, ranks first in the 60m hurdles with a time of 8.55 and tied for first in the 60m dash with a time of 7.59. Sophomore Cecilia Barowski (400m) and senior Greta Feldman (800m) rank first in their respective events. Senior Tory Worthen looks to become the first-ever four-time champion in the pole vault; the 2012 Most Outstanding Performer ranks tied for first with Harvard's Sydnie Leroy in her signature event this season.

Yale: The Bulldogs are looking to get back to where they were from 2003-2006, when they placed second in three of the four years. Freshman Karleh Wilson has burst onto the scene with a bang and ranks fifth in the League with a shot put throw of 45-1 ½. Sophomore Alisha Jordan is sixth in the triple jump after recording a leap of 38-6 ¾ at the Yale Invitational, while fellow classmate Emily Cable holds the sixth-fastest 400m time in the conference this season (56.19).