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The Light Blue will compete for the first time since December, when the team won nine events in its season opener.

Indoor track and field will compete in the Great Dane Classic at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island this Saturday.

The Lions participated in Albany’s Great Dane Classic last year, where the women’s team finished in seventh place out of 18 teams and the men’s team finished in 13th place out of 14 teams.

Last year’s men’s team was led by current junior Robert O’Brien, who cleared 4.8 meters in the pole vault, earning fourth place. On the women’s side, current senior Akua Obeng-Akrofi placed third in the 500m run with a time of 1:12.89 and fifth in the 200m dash with a time of 24.72. O’Brien and Obeng-Akrofi are among the returning members of the team who are expected to participate at this weekend’s meet. Among their many achievements rank O’Brien’s school record in pole vaulting and Obeng-Akrofi’s four in the outdoor 200m, the 4x100m, the 4x200m, and the distance medley relay.

Sophomore Daniel Igbokwe, who set his own school records as a first-year in the indoor triple jump for clearing 15.17 meters and outdoor triple jump for clearing 15.63 meters, will also be crucial to the Lions’ success this season.

At this weekend’s meet, the Lions will compete against Ivy foe Princeton as well as teams from Connecticut, LIU Brooklyn, and the meet’s host, Albany.

This weekend’s competition marks the second indoor meet of the season. In early December, the Lions excelled at the Metro Season Opener, winning nine events. The meet demonstrated the team’s depth on the field, something the Lions have been working toward for several seasons.

On the field, Igbokwe and junior Ian Reinicke finished first and second, jumping 6.73 meters and 6.57 meters, respectively. Both Reinicke and Igbokwe also placed in the triple jump, with Igbokwe placing first with 15.08 meters and Reinicke placing third with 13.7 meters. Sophomore Hunter Hasley cleared 13.14 meters in the shot put, placing second, and first-year Jack Pihlkar cleared 15.81 meters in the weight throw, also placing second. O’Brien won his first pole vault competition of the season, clearing 4.8 meters.

At the Metro Season Opener, Columbia filled places one through five in the mile, with junior Sam Ritz claiming first place with a time of 4:08.49.

On the women’s team, Obeng-Akrofi won the 60 meter dash in 7.70 seconds, just one one hundredth of a second ahead of fellow senior Aminat Iriafen, who finished second. In field events, sophomore Alexis Turley-Young placed first in the long jump, clearing 5.5 meters. Senior Abigail Sharkey cleared 3.70 meters in the pole vault to earn first place, while sophomore Maryam Hassan cleared 11.64 meters in the long jump to earn first place.

Having demonstrated the team’s strengths at last month’s meet, the Light Blue will hope to continue its early success at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex once again this weekend.

The Lions will head to Staten Island to compete in the Great Dane Classic on Saturday at 10:30 a.m.

sarah.toscano@columbiaspectator.com | @CUSpecSports

Columbia Lions Track and Field Indoor track and field
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