Sports...A Spring to Remember

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Silence on the court, please

Photograph by Gene Boyers / CU AthleticsThey shut out Cornell 7–0 on the Big Red’s home courts. They beat Harvard for only the second time in program history. Then they shut out Dartmouth, Penn, and Princeton in the final two weeks of the season to clinch their first-ever Ivy League title. The members of the women’s tennis team, anchored by undefeated All-American Nicole Bartnik ’13CC, thus fulfilled a mission. “In our first meeting of the year, I told the team that we had one and only one goal, and that was to win the title,” head coach Ilene Weintraub ’02CC told the Columbia Daily Spectator in April. “That was the first and last time I ever talked about it or allowed them to speak of it. Instead, we focused on the process and on the little things.”

In the fast lane

Photograph by David Brann / Columbia Daily SpectatorKatie Meili ’13CC proved her place among the best swimmers in the country at the NCAA Division I Championships this spring, finishing third, seventh, and ninth in the 100-meter breaststroke, 200-meter individual medley, and 200-meter breaststroke, respectively. Meili, a two-time All-American who could have competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics if not for breaking her hand during practice shortly before the games, plans to pursue a professional career as a competitive swimmer. She is pictured here with teammate Alena Kluge ’14CC, at left, who made her NCAA Championship debut in the 400-meter individual medley after winning the event at the Ivies.

Great swords

Photograph by Mike Segar / ReutersThe Lions dominated the 2013 USA Fencing Division I National Championships in April, bringing home two gold, two silver, and two bronze medals. In all, seventeen Lions placed among the top thirty-two finishers. None was sharper than 2012 London Olympian Nzingha Prescod ’14CC, pictured below, who became the 2013 foil national champion. Placing just behind her with a silver medal in women’s foil was fellow 2012 Olympian Nicole Ross ’13CC. In the men’s sabre competition, Will Spear ’15CC won a bronze medal, and in the men’s épée competition, Alen Hadžić ’14CC won a bronze.

Magical run

Photograph by Kiera Wood / Columbia Daily SpectatorThe Lions baseball team beat Dartmouth in the best-of-three Ivy League Championship Series by sweeping the opening doubleheader on May 4. In claiming the league title, the Lions (26 –19, 16–4 Ivy) earned a berth in the NCAA Regionals. The Lions then pulled off their first-ever NCAA Tournament victory in dramatic fashion, coming from behind to overtake New Mexico 6–5 in thirteen innings largely on the strength of six and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief work by pitcher Joey Donino ’14CC. The Lions’ postseason run finally ended in a 10–5 loss to perennial powerhouse Arizona State on June 2. “I’m extremely proud of my guys,” head coach Brett Boretti said after the game. “It’s been a tremendous season for us. They played as hard as they could. But all good things have to come to an end.”

Unbowed

Photograph by Gene Boyers / CU AthleticsSarah Bernstein ’15BC led the Lions to a team title in the women’s recurve division at the 2013 Archery National Championship in Cedar City, Utah, on May 18. Bernstein won the individual bronze medal in recurve, while her teammates Tiffany Kim ’16CC and Grace Kim ’15CC, who are sisters, finished sixth and seventh, respectively. All three Lions archers earned both All-American and All-Academic honors this spring, while their teammates Julie Hoffman ’16CC and Sara Lavenhar ’14CC made the All-East Team.

Easy as one, two, three

Photograph by David Brann / Columbia Daily SpectatorUju Ofoche ’13CC won the long-jump competition at the Ivy League Heptagonal Outdoor Track and Field Championships on May 4, marking the third consecutive year she won Ivy titles in both the indoor and outdoor long jumps. Ofoche was also a member of the winning 4×100-meter relay team, along with teammates Marvellous Iheukwumere ’14CC, Iris Chijioke ’16CC, and Jaycee Parker ’16CC. Other individual Ivy titles were won by Iheukwumere in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and by Waverly Neer ’15CC in the 5,000-meter run. The Lions women climbed the podium for a silver medal in the team competition behind first-place Cornell.

Mat-tastic

Photograph by Xiaoyin Chen / Columbia Daily SpectatorSteve Santos ’13CC, an overwhelming force on the wrestling mat for the past four years, finished off his career by placing third at the NCAA Championships on March 23. Before a sellout crowd of more than sixteen thousand at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, Santos picked up a pair of victories to achieve the best individual result in Columbia wrestling history. The three-time All-Ivy selection graduated with ninety-one wins.

Crew's control

Photograph by Gene Boyers / CU AthleticsStroke, stroke, stroke! Simple, right? Actually, crew teams formulate detailed race plans, and only the best teams execute them well. Columbia’s varsity lightweight eight executed theirs flawlessly in the Grand Final at the Men’s National Lightweight Championships on Lake Natoma in Sacramento, California, on June 2. The result was a bronze medal for the Lions in one of the closest finishes ever at the nationals. The Lions finished half a second behind the Yale eight, who were one second behind Harvard, while holding off fourth-place Dartmouth by a quarter second and Cornell and Princeton by little more. “We had planned a progression for the last five hundred meters,” head coach Scott Alwin said after the race. “We did not row urgently, but we hit each move at the right time, just as we had planned. If we had started too early or too late, we would have lost our margin.” The next week, Alwin was named lightweight coach of the year by the Intercollegiate Rowing Association.

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