Piper Wins Heps Title for Women's Track & Field


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Day One Recap

ITHACA, N.Y. - Sophomore Gabrielle Piper won her first career Heps title as she broke her school record in the 60-meter hurdles for the second straight day. In addition, senior Catherine Okoukoni was the runner-up in the triple jump for the University of Pennsylvania women's track and field team at the 2012 Heptagonal Indoor Championships at Cornell's Barton Hall Sunday afternoon.

Piper qualified for the finals with a school-record time of 8.58 on Saturday. She had entered the weekend with a program-best mark of 8.64. She shattered both those numbers on Sunday to win her first career Heptagonal title.

Piper's time from the preliminaries placed her second heading into the final. But she had no trouble in the title race. She became the first women's athlete at Penn to finish the 60-meter hurdles in under 8.5 seconds. The rest of the field was well behind her winning mark of 8.49.

Okoukoni won her flight and finished as the Heptagonal runner up with a career-best effort. Already third all-time at Penn in the indoor triple jump, Okoukoni improved upon that mark when she landed at 12.45 meters (40 feet, 10 1/4 inches). She was fourth overall heading into her last jump, but her personal-record performance launched her into All-Ivy territory.

Piper also scored in the 60 meters for the Quakers. Along with two other Penn sprinters. Senior Leah Brown was the top performer for the Red and Blue as she nearly equaled her collegiate-best effort from Saturday. Just one day earlier, Brown ran the second-fastest 60 meters in school history. She was just one-hundreth of a second off that mark on Championship Sunday with a time of 7.63. That placed her fourth with freshman Lydia Ali right behind her in fifth place. Ali posted a personal-best time of 7.65 and improved upon her fourth-place position in the all-time Penn record books. Piper was sixth overall with her time of 7.67.

Brown and Ali then each scored in the 200 meters. Ali was fifth overall with a time of 25.19 and Brown found her way into the scoring with a sixth-place time of 25.49.

Senior Kristen Judge added four more points in the field events for the Quakers. She placed fourth in the high jump when she cleared 1.70 meters (5-07 ft.) on her first attempt. Freshman Annie Holland (1.67 meters) lost a tiebreaker to finish just outside the scoring in her first Heptagonal meet.

In the final event of the meet - the 4x400-meter relay - the Quakers added a few more points. Brown anchored an all-senior captain relay with Paige Madison, Renee McDougall and Victoria Strickland. The four co-captains raced to a fifth-place finish of 3:47.86.

Junior Davielle Brown accounted for all three of Penn's points on Day One. She cleared the bar at a career-best height of 3.70 meters (12-01.50 ft.) to finish fourth.

Columbia won the 2012 Heptagonal Indoor team title with 124 points. Cornell was second with 103. Penn finished the meet with 37 points to place seventh.

For those that qualified, the ECAC Championships are up next in Boston, Mass., March 3-4.