Both the men’s and women’s teams claimed fifth place finishes, with three men’s titles leading to program record 68 points, and a pair of women’s championships helping Columbia to 83 points. In total, the Lions put up 13 All-Ivy performances over the weekend.
"I think the student athletes competed very well this weekend," said the Columbia Director of Cross Country/Track & Field Daniel Ireland. "Outdoor Heps is a very competitive competition and the men and women that scored points for Columbia this weekend worked very hard to earn those. We are very proud of our Ivy Championships and All-Ivy performers."
On day one, the Columbia men got off to a fast start, with three All-Ivy performances and one victory. Rookie Logan McDaniel gave Columbia eight points when he finished second in the long jump, hitting the sand at 7.25m (23-9.5), which was the fourth best mark in school history.
On the track, the Lions closed strong in the final event on day one, the 10,000m run. During the final lap, Columbia had three runners in the lead pack, including Brian Zabilski, Kenny Vasbinder, and Tyler Italiano. The race proved to be Zabilski’s, as the junior closed in 58 seconds to take the tape in 30:20.67, clear of Vasbinder in second at 30:24.44. With the win, the junior becomes Columbia's first Outdoor Heps champion at 10,000m.
The performances kept coming on day two, starting with Daniel Igbokwe taking fourth in the triple jump at 15.30m (50-2.5). Later on in the 800m, Josiah Langstaff ran a personal best 1:48.40 for second place, earning All-Ivy status, and moving up to fifth in the Columbia record books in the event.
Columbia went into the 5,000m run with high expectations, as the Lions clocked the three fastest times during the outdoor season in the event. Senior Ryan Thomas would not be denied, passing teammate Lucky Schreiner down the home stretch to win his second consecutive Ivy Heps title in the 5K at 14:09.25. Schreiner soon found his teammate for a bear hug, crossing the line in second at 14:10.55, while Vasbinder gave the Lions three scorers with a fifth place performance in 14:14.75.
High hopes were also exceeded in the 4x800m relay, as Columbia had won six of the previous eight outdoor conference titles in the event. That trend would continue, as Langstaff’s impressive anchor leg helped Jackson Storey, Sam Ritz, and Alek Sauer to the title in 7:23.31.
The Columbia women went into the second day having scored a point on day one behind Abby McLaughlin’s sixth place performance in the 10,000m at 35:43.67.
Points would continue on day two, starting with first-year Grace Campbell, who claimed second place in the high jump, clearing 1.73m (5-8) to earn All-Ivy honors, and give herself the second best mark in program history.
In the 3,000m steeplechase, senior Nell Crosby came in as the prohibitive favorite, even though she had yet to win an individual title at a Heps meet. The All-American added on to her resume, crossing the line in 10:04.43, more than 5.5 seconds better than her nearest competitor. Classmate Erin Melly gave the Lions two points with a fifth place finish in 10:28.73.
Another member of the Cross Country Heps Championship team from the fall was on full display in her final Outdoor Heps, when Sarah Hardie took off in the 1,500m run. The senior had to fight past a tough field on the final lap, but was able to take the tape for her sixth career individual Heps title at 4:21.94.
Maryam Hassan was the next member of the women’s team to get Columbia on the board, taking third in the triple jump with a 12.81m (42-0.5) effort.
In the 400m, Akua Obeng-Akrofi and Iman Sule were able to go 2-3 at 53.15 and 54.26, respectively. The pair went on to take second in the 4x400m relay at 3:36.39, as they were edged by Harvard in 3:36.35. Obeng-Akrofi also gave Columbia points in the 200m run, clocking a 24.03 for third.
The 4x800m relay was another runner-up finish for Columbia, as Bianca Alonzo, McKenzie Sup, Jillian Murray, and Hardie ran 8:43.06, which was the fourth best effort in program history, while Alonzo was also a fourth place finisher in the 800m at 2:09.02.