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Q&A: Head Coach Willy Wood

NEW YORK – The Columbia men and women’s track & field teams will to Princeton, N.J. this weekend to compete in the 2013 Ivy League Heptagonal Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Princeton’s William Weaver Track & Field Stadium.

The two-day championships begin on Saturday, May 4 with the field events set for 10:00 a.m. and the running events beginning at 11 a.m. Sunday’s action features an 11:00 a.m. start for running events and a 12 p.m. start for field events.


In the sprints, look for Marvellous Iheukwumere who has put together several solid performances this season. Coming off two indoor Ivy League titles in the 60m run (7.51) and 200m run (24.46), the junior began the outdoor season with one the conference’s top performances in the 100m run at the Texas Relays. She crossed the finish line with a time of 11.87, the second best time of the season.

Sharay Hale is back in action in her senior year with a number of big-time runs in the 200m and 400m already this season. She posted the fastest league time to date at the Auburn War Eagle Invitational in April in the 200m, clocking in at 23.80. She is followed by teammate Jaycee Parker with the second fastest Ivy League time at 24.04 and Iheukwumere with the fourth best at 24.57.

Parker leads the Columia sprinters in the 400m run as she posted the fifth best conference time at the Sam Howell Invitational at 55.42. Hale is just behind the first-year in 55.47.

The sprinting core showcased their potential dominance at the Army Quad Meet earlier this season where they helped Columbia claim victories in the women’s 100m, 200m and 400m dashes. Marvellous Iheukwumere was first in the 100m at 11.98, Sharay Hale in the 200m at 24.67 and Jaycee Parker in the 400m at 56.25.

In her first year, Iris Chijioke is among the conference best in 100m hurdles following a 14.14 performance in the Auburn War Eagle Invitational. In Auburn, Ga., Susan Rodriguez posted the fifth-best Ancient Eight time of 1:00.61.

The Lion’s last visit to Weaver Stadium saw a school record performance in the women’s 800m by Trina Bills. The junior clocked in with a program record time of 2:07.21 at the Larry Ellis Invitational. Also in the mid-distance events, Erin Gillingham leads the Ivy League field with a time of 4:20.87 in the 1,5000m.

In the distance events, Waverly Neer will head into Heps with the league’s second best time in the 5,000m after a strong performance in the Mt. SAC Relays at 16:01.36. Gillingham is also top five in the 5,000m with a time of 16:28.73.

Look out for Mallory Anderson and Chelsea Carrick in 3,000m steeplechase. The upperclassmen are among the top in the Ivy League in the event with their best runs coming at the Sam Howell and Larry Ellis Invitational’s in Princeton last month.

On the field, Uju Ofoche will look for her third straight outdoor Ivy League long jump title this weekend. The senior has owned both the indoor and outdoor long jump titles over the past two seasons. Teammate Nadia Eke will challenge the senior in the event, coming off a runner-up finish at the indoor championships.

Eke leads the way in the triple jump to date this season. She will look to defend her title by fighting off teammate QueenDenise Okeke, who grabbed the long jump victory at the indoor championships.


The Lions’ men will look to once again rack up points and titles in the middle distance, distance and relay events. Columbia heads into the outdoor championships with many entries that should make a major impact on the scoreboard.

In the middle distance events, Columbia is geared grab hardware in both the 800m and 1,500m. Harry McFann’s time of 1:48.22 at the George Mason Invitational is the best time in the Ivy League this year. Brendon Fish’s time of 1:48.64 ranks third and Connor Claflin’s time of 1:48.732 ranks fourth.

In the 1,500m, the Lions moved ahead of the pack at the George Mason Invitational, currently holding the top three times in the event. John Gregorek leads the way with a time of 3:44.65, Daniel Everett is second at 3:45.38 and Mark Feigen in third at 3:45.42.

In the 5,000m, Everett holds the third best time at 13:57.72, Feigen holds the fifth best mark at 14:02.46 and Mike Muphy holds the seventh best time at 14:08.04. Murphy also holds the league’s best time in the 10,000m after a 29.03.33 run at the Stanford Invitational.

Earlier this season in Princeton, Gregorek grabbed league’s best time when he ran the nation’s eighth best time in the 3,000m steeplechase at 8:52.85 in the Sam Howell Invitational. The event also saw Joseph Kotran clocking in with a fifth place time of 9:07.72, which stands sixth in the conference.