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Women's Track and Field Takes Home Third Straight Title

Veidis is the Veritas
Mark Kelsey

Captain Erika Veidis, seen here in the Indoor Heptogonal Championships in Feb. 2013, was part of the 4 x 880 relay team that clinched the third straight Ivy League Heptagonal Championships for the women's team

“Three-peat, three-peat!”

That was the chant that rang throughout the Gordon Indoor Track, as the Harvard women’s track and field co-captains Erika Veidis and Ashley Collinsworth brought back the team’s winning trophy for the third year in a row.

Competing at home in front of a packed building, the women were able to defend their title for the second year in a row and claim the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships for the fifth time in program history. The Crimson finished with a program record 125 points, 18 points ahead of second place Columbia.

The women were not the only ones to turn in a solid performance however, as the Harvard men’s team competed with limited personnel to claim fifth with 64.5 points, falling short of eventual champion Princeton.

“It was an awesome competition,” Harvard coach Jason Saretsky said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the way our men and women competed, especially the women…[who had] a target on their back the entire season.”

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Fast times, crazy finishes, a rambunctious crowd, broken records, and triumphant farewells made for a competitive rendition of the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships.

The ball started rolling on Saturday, as senior thrower Taylor DuPont opened the Harvard point total with a second place, 16.34 meter mark in the weight throw, while junior Madison Hansen took home third in the women’s pentathlon.

Sophomore Brandon Price chipped in for the men with an 8:12.27 finish in the 3,000 meter finals, good enough for fifth overall.

While most of Saturday was dedicated to preliminaries, that didn’t deny the Crimson a chance to break records.

Senior Danielle Barbian ran a 7.43 in the 60 meter dash preliminaries that broke the meet record that she had held coming into the day. On the men’s side, co-captain Jarvis Harris also had a stellar performance in the 60 meter hurdles, claiming a personal and Harvard all-time best 7.93-second finish.

Both teams would sit in fifth at the end of day one. But things would change quickly going forward.

Sunday started off with an emphatic victory for the Crimson women as sophomore Nikki Okwelogu broke the Ivy League record for the third meet in a row, finishing with a 17.12 meter throw. The Fresno, Calif. native was named Field Athlete of the Meet.

“[The throw] felt so good,” Okwelogu said. “I was just going through it…right when I released it I was [thinking] ‘Yes, yes.’ I was saying it aloud, and I was watching it go because it was unbelievable to watch it soar.”

The field accolades would continue, as sophomore Efe Uwaifo would set a Harvard record in the triple jump, winning the event with a leap of 15.88 meters, while classmate Joshua Whitener would place fourth in the weight throw.

The action was not limited to the field, as the sprint events provided some of the most exciting races of the day.

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