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It’s been another extremely fruitful year for the Princeton track and field program. Against tough odds and fierce competition from frontrunner Cornell, the men’s track team clinched first place in the Ivy championships by a margin of seven points. It was yet another impressive notch in the belt for coach Fred Samara, who was named Ivy Coach of the Year, and marked the Tigers’ 40th championship overall. The women’s team also had a successful postseason, taking third at the Ivy League championships overall and winning eight individual all-Ivy honors, a powerful showing for first-year head coach Michelle Eisenreich, who joined the program last year.

Before regionals, the Tigers have one more postseason championship: hosting the ECAC/IC4A championships at home this year, the team looks to make another strong performance in Weaver Stadium as they take on opponents both in and out of the Ivy League. Performing well in the ECAC championships is more than simply a matter of pride or accomplishment. For many athletes, strong performance in this late meet serves as a last-chance qualifier for the coveted NCAA regionals.

It’s a meet already paying massive dividends for the Princeton hopefuls. On the first day of competition, senior Alexandra Markovich smashed her 5k PR by 11 seconds, taking second overall in the meet and placing her on the verge of an NCAA berth. Meanwhile, sophomore Brighie Leach also took a PR in the steeplechase, putting her in the top 50 in the east region and granting her an NCAA qualification berth. More good news awaited the women’s team the next day, as senior Julia Ratcliffe continued her success in the hammer throw, taking the ECAC title, and senior Allison Harris clinched third in the pole vault.

Similar success awaited the men’s team in the meet. Senior Jared Bell took fourth in the discus, coming off a highly successful first-place finish at a meet at West Point, where he took a PR and established a top-30 regional time. Meanwhile, sophomores Andrew Diehl and Adam Kelly finished second in the high jump and hammer throw, respectively.

The next big step for the Tigers is the NCAA regionals, where every athlete will fight tooth and nail for the dream of representing his or her school on the grand stage of the national championships. Given this season, we’re sure Princeton will be proudly represented, as usual.

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