Sports | Track

Track team competes at NYU Team Challenge

  • Youjin Jenny Jang / Senior Staff Photographer
    RUN LIKE THE WIND | Senior Marvellous Iheukwumere set a new school record in the 60-meter dash.

Anyone who’s ever watched the Olympics knows the heartbreak of one one-hundredth of a second. It’s that unfathomably small unit of time—measurable only in the modern world thanks to the power of finish-line sensors—that makes or breaks the race, the difference between first and second.

It’s also how much sophomore Iris Chijioke lost by in the 60-meter hurdles on Friday. But thankfully, the NYU Team Challenge is no Olympics, and Chijioke’s heartbreak was fleeting.

“Point oh one!” Chijioke cried out in mock-pain after the track and field team’s first local meet of the season.

She quickly noted that, especially at an early meet that most of the Lions were using as a training event, her personal-record 8.86-second finish behind Wagner’s Samantha Jensen was a huge personal accomplishment. “I didn’t PR last year until Heps,” she said. “I think it’s a sign of better things to come. It’s a good start.”

It was unclear if host NYU would be posting team scores—the only situation in which wins, places, or shows would even be relevant—so by the time local high schoolers took over the track for a meet of their own, head coach Willy Wood was calling the day a victory.

“I just thought it was a phenomenal day for us. We just wanted to show significant improvement from last week, and I think everyone did that,” Wood said after the final 4x400 meter relay had finished.

The women had a number of bright spots on the day, capped by senior Marvellous Iheukwumere’s new school record of 7.46 seconds in the 60-meter dash. Sophomore Ashley Cunningham and Chijioke were just behind their teammate at third and fourth.

Iheukwumere said she was feeling rusty last week, and “even in the prelims, I didn’t put in my whole effort. But I came back in the finals, I wanted to leave it on the track … and the result shows.”

Meanwhile, junior Aryn Foland won the mile by a hair, Cunningham and sophomore Jaycee Parker took the top two spots in the 200-meter dash, and the Light Blue had first- and third-place finishers in the distance medley relay. In the field, junior Nadia Eke won her second consecutive long jump competition, and first-year Gardenia Centanaro took first in the pole vault in her second collegiate outing.

The men had a few solid performances, especially from Nolan Kier, who won his heat and placed fifth in the finals of the 800-meter dash. The meet was a rare chance for the senior to soak in a little bit of the spotlight, as the team’s top 800 runners took Friday off in preparation for next week’s Columbia Invitational, which will also be at the Armory.

Wood says he plans on the whole roster competing next week. “I think we’re a little bit ahead of where we thought we were, whereas maybe this time last week we were a little bit behind where we thought we were," he said. "I think we’ll have a good week next week."

finn.vigeland@columbiaspectator.com | @fvigeland

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