IVY LEAGUE CHAMP! Ofoche Leads Lions with Long Jump Title on Day One of Ivy League Championships
Courtesy: Dan Grossman/Maple Leaf Photos
NEW YORK – The Columbia track & field team had an outstanding showing on the first day of the 2011 Outdoor Ivy League Championships, led by sophomore Uju Ofoche, who won a championship title in the women’s long jump. The day also saw several Ivy League and meet records broken. 

Ofoche provided the highlight of the first day, along with her classmate, Dora Vegvari. The two finished 1-2 in the long jump in dramatic fashion. The two cleared their longest jumps of the day on their last attempts, taking the top two spots at the last seconds. Vegvari cleared 6.13m (20’1.5”), while Ofoche won the title with a jump of 6.24m (20’5.75”). The championship title was the second of the year for Ofoche, who also won the indoor long jump this Februrary. Ofoche and Vegvari will both earn All-Ivy League honors for their efforts. 

Three other Lions scored points in championship finals on Saturday. Junior Sarah Engle came in fourth in the pole vault, clearing 3.60m (11’9.75”) and scoring points for the Lions.  Sophomore Noelle Van Rysselberghe came in sixth in the 10,000m run, with a time of 35:30.67. On the men’s side, sophomore Mike Murphy came in fifth in the 10,000m, scoring points with his time of 30:39.66.

Columbia had multiple athletes qualify for championships in the preliminary events on Saturday, including junior Sharay Hale, who set a new meet mark. Hale set a new Ivy League championship meet record in the 200m dash, coming in 23.69 in the preliminaries, a full second fastest than the rest of the field, and breaking the old record of 23.73 seconds, set in 2006. Hale also qualified for the championships in the 400m dash, with a time of 52.46 seconds. It was three seconds faster than anyone else in the league, and the fastest non-final time in meet history. It was also the second fastest all-time at the meet, behind the meet record of 51.56 seconds. Senior Laura Vogel and sophomore Yamira Bell also qualified for the championships of the 400m dash.  

Junior Kyra Caldwell also had a strong first day. She had the fastest time of the day in the 100m hurdles (a wind-aided 13.80 seconds), and broke a minute in the 400m hurdles, running 59.82. First-year Tayler Johnson also qualified for the finals of the 100m hurdles, while sophomore Julie Alexander qualified for the finals of the 400m hurdles

For the women, first-year Marvellous Iheukwumere qualified for the 100m dash with the fourth fastest time of the day, and also qualified for the finals of the 200m dash. Senior Jacqueline Drouin qualified for the championship final in the 1500m run.

For the men, first-year Samuel Miner qualified for the championship finals of the 400m dash, with the eighth fastest time of the day, at 48.62. Seniors Jeff Moriarty and Matthew Stewart both qualified for the finals of the 800m run, while sophomores Mark Feigen and Liam Tansey both qualified for the finals of the 1500m run. And first-year Cody Love qualified for the finals of the 400m hurdles, hitting 53.27 seconds, the fifth fastest time of the day. 

A complete schedule and meet results are available at www.ivyleaguesports.com. Championship finals begin at 11 a.m., Sunday, May 8.