Columbia athletes won six individual Ivy League event championships this spring, bringing the Lions’ total for the academic year to 22, the most in Columbia’s history.
First-year golfer Michelle Piyapattra won her inaugural championship tournament, held in Northfield, N.J., from April 22 to 24. Piyapattra took an early lead in the first two days of competition, entering the final round six strokes ahead. She then fired off the best round of her young collegiate career — a three-under-par 69 — to become only the second Lion in program history to take home medalist honors at the event.
The rest of the Lions’ championships this spring were in women’s track and field. Junior sprinter Sharay Hale triumphed in three events: the 200-meter dash, the 400-meter dash, and the 4-by-400-meter relay, which she ran with senior Kyra Caldwell, junior Yamira Bell, and senior Laura Vogel. Hale set an Ivy League record with her time of 23.68 seconds in the 200-meter dash. She shared the title for most outstanding women’s performer of the championship meet, which took place in New Haven on May 7 and 8.
“With Sharay anchoring our relay team, everybody knew Columbia was going to win,” says track coach Willy Wood. “There was no real question. She’s that dominant.”
At the same event, Caldwell won the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.92, becoming the first athlete in 10 years to break 14 seconds at the championships. Senior Monique Roberts then won the outdoor high jump by clearing five feet, eight inches. She’s now claimed the Ivy League titles in both indoor and outdoor high jump for two years in a row.
Finally, junior Uju Ofoche won the women’s long jump by leaping 20 feet, five and three-quarter inches. She also won the championship title for indoor long jump this past February.
“We were extremely proud of our whole team,” says Wood. “Both collectively and individually, they made amazing progress this year.”