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Princeton University men's and women's indoor track and field, HEPS at the Armory, NY, NY, February 26, 2017.

By Beverly Schaefer

The men's and women’s track and field teams concluded their respective seasons at the Indoor Track and Field Heptagonal Championships, held at the Armory Track in New York City on Feb. 25 and 26. To say that the meet was exciting would be an understatement.

Many Princeton alumni came to cheer on the teams, alongside families and friends of the competitors. With the stands packed and noise levels high throughout the weekend, the support for the Orange and Black was otherworldly. The emotion displayed this past weekend truly represented the beauty of track and field — it’s a sport where results come only from hard work and dedication, and the feeling of fighting until the finish and battling for teammates on the championship stage is one that few sports have.

This year, the Princeton men’s track and field team captured the Indoor Heptagonal title for a third consecutive year. This win was the 20th indoor title overall for the men’s program. The Tigers performed like they had all season and proved yet again why Princeton is the most feared team in the Ivy League. Cornell’s boos proved to be futile as chants of "Princeton!" filled the stadium and the Tigers steamrolled the competition.

After Saturday’s competition, Princeton was tied with Cornell at 28 points. However, with a tremendous effort on Sunday, the Tigers easily pulled away with 119 points, compared to Cornell’s 73. The Tigers ultimately finished with 147 points, a full 46 points ahead of second-place Cornell.

Out of the 32 Princetonmen who competed, 28 of them scored in the meet by placing top six in their respective events.

Eight Tigers earned first team All-Ivy honors with their first-place finishes: junior Carrington Akosa (60m), senior Xavier Bledsoe (high jump), junior Mitchel Charles (shot put), junior August Kiles (pole vault), senior Jabari Johnson (4x400m relay), freshman Connor Matthews (4x400m relay), junior Josh Freeman (4x400m relay), and senior Ray Mennin (4x400m relay).

The Tigers earned eleven second team All-Ivy honors with runner-up finishes in their events: sophomore Stefan Amokwandoh (triple jump), senior Christopher Cook (shot put), sophomore Adam Kelly (weight throw), freshman Conor Lundy (5000m), sophomore Charlie Volker (60m, 200m), junior Noah Kauppila (1000m, 4x800m relay), sophomore Franklin Aririguzoh (4x800m relay), junior Kenan Farmer (4x800m relay), and junior Josh Ingalls (4x800m relay).

For his incredible work this season as the men’s team head coach, Fred Samara was named the 2017 Ivy League Indoor Track and Field Coach of the Year. The award was started in 2015, and Samara has won it every year. Samara has now won 39 Ivy League Championships in his storied coaching career. This year marks Samara’s 35th year as coach.

The Princeton women’s track and field team tied for a No. 4 finish at the meet. The Tigers had been competing hard all season, and they capped their season off well. A majority of the team scored for Princeton.

Princeton was in the lead after Saturday’s events with 31 points due to the strong field performances. However, Harvard and Penn had a strong showing Sunday and pulled ahead. However, the Tigers had a terrific team showing in the 4x800m relay, winning convincingly, and thanks to many great individual performances, Princeton ultimately finished with 81 points.

Six Tigers received first team All-Ivy honors for wins in their respective events: senior Allison Harris (pole vault), senior Julia Ratcliffe (weight throw), sophomore Jackie Berardo (4x800m relay), senior Zoe Sims (4x800m relay), sophomore Anna Jurew (4x800m relay), and senior Katie Hanss (4x800m relay). Junior Maia Craver earned second team All-Ivy honors for her runner-up finish in the in the pentathlon.

While the season is over for the two teams, two Tigers qualified for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships, which will be held on Mar. 10 and 11 at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Sophomore Adam Kelly will compete in the weight throw, in which he ranks No. 7 nationally; senior captain Allie Harris will compete in the pole vault, in which she ranks No. 11 nationally.

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