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Women's Outdoor Track & Field Championship Preview

Columbia's Kyra Caldwell
Columbia's Kyra Caldwell

PRINCETON, N.J. -- The 2011 Ivy League Heptagonal Outdoor Track & Field Championship returns to Cuyler Athletic Complex & Dwyer Field for the first time since 2008 and the sixth all-time. Over the last decade, the women’s field has been dominated by Cornell, but recent years have shown more parity among the teams and this year should continue that trend. In 2008, Princeton halted the Big Red’s seven-year win streak, edging Cornell 153 points to 146. The Big Red reclaimed the top spot in 2010, scoring 146.5 points, but Brown (2nd, 132 points), Columbia (3rd, 129 points) and Princeton (4th, 125.5 points) were all hot on its tails. All but three of last year’s individual event winners are back in 2011, seeking to defend their titles, while plenty of new faces will also content for All-Ivy status this weekend.

Brown Bears — Brown finished second in last year’s team standings, its highest place since a runner-up finish in 2004...had a trio of individual event winners in 2010, with both Brynn Smith (hammer) and Lacey Craker (discus) returning this spring...Smith set an Ivy League record with her winning throw of 199-8 last year...she holds the League’s top mark entering the championship meet (197-6)...sprinter Colby Lubman ranks in the League’s top 10 in the 100m, 200m and 400m.

Columbia Lions — The Lions will vie for the Ivy title after a third place finish last spring...Sharay Hale will look to defend her 200m title...the junior set an Ivy League record (23.69) in the event earlier this season...Hale also enters the meet with the League’s season-best time in the 400m (53.10)...Kyra Caldwell will seek to defend her 100m and 400m hurdle titles from 2010...Jackie Drouin’s season-best in the 1,500m (4:24.09) is eight seconds faster than her winning time from 2010...Monique Roberts (high jump) also set a mark this season beyond her title-winning 5-8 leap from the 2010 championship.

Cornell Big Red — Coming off its 12th all-time team title in 2010, the Big Red seek to make it lucky 13...the Big Red has won eight of the last nine outdoor championships, including seven straight from 2003-08...both individual event winners from 2010 return this spring, seeking defense of their titles...Melissa Hewitt won the 100m and the long jump in 2010 and will also content for the 200m title this week...Victoria Imbesi enters the meet with a season-best mark of 153-6 in the javelin and seeks a second-straight outdoor championship title.

Dartmouth Big Green — Dartmouth looks to improve on the sixth-place finish it posted the last two seasons...its lone event title in 2010 was Priscilla Trojano in the heptathlon (4,787 points)...Abbey D’Agnostino and Catie Meyer will vie for placewinner status in the distance events...D’Agnostino has a season-best of 4:24.01 in the 1,500m and 16:23.50 in the 5,000m, both top-five times among all Ivies...Meyer holds a season-best 35:02.35 in the 10,000m.

Harvard Crimson — Harvard placed seventh in 2010 after fourth-place finishes in both 2008 and 2009...Claire Richardson holds the Crimson’s top ties in the distance events with season-best times of 4:31.66 in the 1,500m, 9:55.84 in the 3,000m and 16:22.15 in the 5,000m...Shannon Watt will contend for the shot put and discus...she ranks in the League’s top five in both events this season...Hannah Mayer holds the League’s top mark this season in the javelin (153-10)...teammate Jessica Fronk was the 2010 runner-up and has a season-best throw of 143-3.

Penn Quakers — Behind 400m dash champion Kali Strother, Penn placed fifth overall at the 2010 outdoor championship...Strother’s best time this season is 56.90...Leslie Kovach will vie for placewinner status in select distance events...she enters the weekend with a season-best time of 35:21.20 in the 10,000m and 9:36.83 in the 3,000m, both League top-10 times in 2011...Catherine Okoukoni holds season-best marks of 18-11.25 in the long jump and 40-0 in the triple jump and should content for placewinner status in both events.

Princeton Tigers — The Tigers snapped Cornell’s seven-year title streak by capturing the team championship in 2009, then slipped to fourth place in 2010...using the distance events as their forte, they should be right back in contention this spring...2010 double winner Ashley Higginson will seek to defend her titles in the 3,000m and 3,000m steeplechase...2010 10,000m champion Sarah Cummings has a season-best time of 34:44.45...Princeton will also collect points in the field events, including a potential second straight pole vault title for Tory Worthen.

Yale Bulldogs — Yale is looking to move up in the pack after finishing eighth in the team standings for the past two seasons...All-American Kate Grace will lead the charge as she looks to win her third straight 800m title...Grace won the event last year in 2:08.17...her best time this season is 2:05.48...Elizabeth Martin (9:36.60) and Melissa Chapman (9:36.83) enter this weekend with two of the League’s top-10 times (this season) in the 5,000m...the Bulldogs will also contend for All-Ivy status in the 4x800m relay...their season-best time of 8:45.38 is the second fastest among the eight Ivies this season.