NEW YORK – The Columbia track & field team opens its outdoor season this Saturday with Penn’s Philadelphia Big 5 & Friends Meet at Franklin Field.

Field events begin at 10:30 a.m. with the hammer and conclude with the pole vault at 3:15 p.m. Track events begin with the 4x100m relay at 3:15 p.m. and end with the 4x400m relay at 6:55 p.m.

The Lions are coming off one of the best indoor track & field seasons in program history. The Columbia women won 2012 Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor Track & Field title for the first time in school history. The Lions had 19 point scorers at Heps and enjoyed six first-place finishes to tally 124 team points and run away with the conference championship. The Columbia men also placed an impressive third despite not fielding entries in many of the events.

A pair of Columbia first-years rose to national prominence in the indoor season. Waverly Neer represented the Lions in the 3,000m at the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships after posting the 14th-best qualifying time in the nation of 9:08.72. Nadia Eke had the 19th-best triple jump in the country, clearing 42’ 4.25” (12.91m) at the 2012 Ivy League Indoor Heptagonal Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Columbia Director of Cross Country and Track & Field Willy Wood was recognized by the USTFCCCA for his team’s outstanding performance in the winter, receiving 2012 Indoor Track & Field Northeast Region Women’s Coach of the Year honors.

The Lions had 13 All-Ivy League honorees in the 2011 outdoor season.

On the women’s side, the Lions return a trio of 2011 Ivy League outdoor individual champions in seniors Kyra Caldwell and Monique Roberts and junior Uju Ofoche. Caldwell won the women’s 100m hurdles last year with a time of 13.92. Roberts defended her 2010 Ivy League women’s high jump title with a clearance of 1.73m (5’8”). Ofoche won the conference title in the women’s long jump with a leap of 6.24m (20’5.75”).

Two members of the Columbia men’s squad posted strong individual showings at the 2011 Ivy League Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Current junior Mark Feigen took second in the men’s 1,500m run with a time of 3:58.05. Current sophomore Cody Love made a big debut in the 400m hurdles, placing third with a time of 52.73.