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February 24, 2013

Harvard Wins Its First Heptagonal Women's Indoor Track & Field Title Since 2000

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- For the first time since 2000, the Harvard women's track and field team can call itself Ivy League Heptagonal champions.

The Crimson won its third-ever Ivy League Heptagonal indoor championship after recording 117 points to hold off Cornell (112.66), at Albert H. Gordon Track in Cambridge, Mass. It was the closest finish since 1988, when Penn beat Army, 98-97, and the closest finish between Ivy League teams since Princeton defeated Harvard in 1983, 53 ½ - 51 ½.

Columbia earned 85 points to place third, followed by Princeton (79.83), Dartmouth (72), Penn (27), Yale (19) and Brown (14.5).

The Crimson won three events on Sunday but found the podium in many others to keep the Big Red at bay. A pair of Harvard freshmen went 1-2 in the 60m hurdles, as Autumne Franklin won in 8.43 and Martina Salander was close behind at 8.57. Salander also reached the podium in the shot put, as she placed sixth. Franklin's time set a meet record and tied for the third-best 60m hurdles time in League history.

Sophomore Gabrielle Scott became the first Crimson to win the 400m since Marna Schutte went back-to-back-to-back from 1999-2001 and fellow classmate Erika Veidis gave Harvard consecutive 800m titles for the first time since Karen Goetze won in 1994 and 1995, as Meg Looney was the champion a year ago. The Crimson also went 2-3 in the 60m dash with sophomores Danielle Barbian (7.53) and Ashley Collinsworth (7.61).

Cornell went 1-2-3 in the 3,000m, with junior Rachel Sorna (9:16.70), fellow classmate Emily Shearer (9:22.19) and senior Katie Kellner (9:22.77). Sorna is the first Big Red to win the event since Emily Germano in 1999. Cornell also took the mile relay title with a time of 3:44.20, the fourth-fastest time in meet history, while senior Victoria Imbesi became the first back-to-back shot put winner in Cornell history.

Dartmouth freshman Kaitlin Whitehorn won the high jump with a mark of 5-10 ½ to become the first Big Green to finish first in the event since Susan Brooks in 1982, the second year of existence for the Ivy League Heptagonal women's indoor championships.

Columbia senior Queen Okoke kept the triple jump title with the Lions, winning for the second time in three years with a mark of 42-2 ¾. Her teammate, junior Marvellous Iheukwumere, won the 60m and 200m dashes, the latter for the second-straight year.  

For the first time in League history, the coaches voted for Male and Female Most Outstanding Performers from the track events as well as the field events. Harvard junior Adabelle Ekechukwu was named Most Outstanding Field Performer of the meet and Dartmouth junior Abbey D'Agostino received Most Outstanding Track Performer honors.

Ekechukwu set an Ivy League record with a toss of 68-4 ¼ to hold on to the indoor weight throw title. After winning the 5,000m on Saturday with a meet record time of 15:47.02, the third-best 5,000m time in League history, D'Agostino set another meet record on Sunday, this time in the mile. Her time of 4:32.42 was more than eight seconds ahead of the second-place finisher, Columbia's Erin Gillingham, and marked the third-best time in League history. D'Agostino also anchored Dartmouth's third-place two-mile relay team.

Women's Team Standings
1. Harvard, 117
2. Cornell, 112.66
3. Columbia, 85
4. Princeton, 79.83
5. Dartmouth, 72
6. Penn, 27
7. Yale, 19
8. Brown, 14.5