NEW YORK – Despite a two hour rain delay, the Columbia women’s track & field team had a strong first day at the 2011 Penn Relays, taking place at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pa. 

Junior Kyra Caldwell got the day started for the Lions on the right foot in the 400m hurdles, as she ran the event in 60.47, her fastest outdoor time so far this season.

Lightning delayed the day's events for nearly two hours, right before Columbia was slated to run. But the weather didn't deter the Lions. The success continued in the 4x100m relay, as the Lions competed against some of the top teams in the nation. Columbia held its own, as the squad of Caldwell, Marvellous Iheukwumere, Tayler Johnson and Sharay Hale came in at 46.56, good for 23rd out of 80 teams. The time was just five hundredths of a second from a new Columbia record. 

The Lions had a strong field day as well. Columbia had two finalists in the College Women’s Long Jump Eastern, as sophomores Dora Vegvari and Uju Ofoche both qualified. Out of 30 athletes, Ofoche came in third place with a jump of 6.02m (19-9), while Vegvari came in seventh, with a best jump of 5.89m (19-4). And in the pole vault, junior Sarah Engle had an outstanding showing, coming in 11th place out of 30, as one of six athletes who cleared 3.80m (12-5.5).   

And in the final event of the night, Columbia dominated the 4x400m Heptagonal race, besting six other Ivy League schools by four seconds. The squad of Caldwell, Yamira Bell, Laura Vogel and Hale won with ease in 3:40.80

Penn Relays action continues tomorrow, with competitors in the women’s high jump, women’s triple jump, men’s pole vault, men’s 400m hurdles, men’s distance medley relay, and the men’s 4x400m relay. A complete schedule and results are available at www.pennrelaysonline.com