May 17, 2014
PRINCETON, N.J. – Junior multi-event athlete Saija Bikanova captured her first ECAC heptathlon crown and became just the second Husky to accomplish the feat on Saturday afternoon at Princeton University. Bikanova collects UConn’s third-ever ECAC heptathlon title after Terry Roy was the only other Husky to do so in 1992 and 1995.
Bikanova picked up 10 points for Connecticut with a total of 5,352 points across the seven events. The junior was excellent in the jumps and throws, recording a personal best leap of 5.67m (18-07.25) in the long jump to take second place and finishing first in the shot put with a throw of 12.65m (41-06.00). She also tallied a second place finish in the high jump (1.71m, 5-07.25) and posted third place finishes in both the 100m hurdles (14.67) and the javelin throw (37.47m – 122-11) en route to the win.
She, along with Natasha McLaren, will compete in the high jump finals tomorrow afternoon at 10:00 a.m. In Sunday triple jump action, Odrine Belot and Melodee Riley will look for a strong performance on the final day of competition.
Sarah Bowens added two points to round out the scoring for Connecticut at noon on day two in New Jersey. Her leap of 5.75 (18-10.50) was good for seventh place to wrap up UConn competition in scored events on Saturday.
Several Huskies posted qualifying times to reach Sunday’s finals, led by Deysha Smith-Jenkins with a pair of qualifying scores in both the 100m and 200m dashes. Her 200m preliminary run of 23.60 made her the second-highest qualifier for the finals on Sunday and will likely earn her a spot at the NCAA East Regional in Jacksonville, Florida beginning May 29.
The sophomore also qualified for the 100m semifinals (11.90) while Taylor Anderson won her preliminary heat with a time of 11.78 as the fourth top qualifier in the same event. Anderson went on to clock 11.75 in the semifinals to qualify for the finals while Smith-Jenkins ended her run in the semifinals.
A pair of Huskies landed top-five times to meet the standard to reach Sunday’s 400m dash finals. Celina Emerson led the Connecticut effort with a time of 54.30 to win her heat and post the second-best qualifying time. Nyanka Joseph raced to second place in her heat and fifth overall (54.47) to reach Sunday’s finals.
Distance runners Brigitte Mania and Lauren Sara will look to score big for the Huskies in final heats on Sunday. Mania enters as one of the favorites in the 1500m run while Sara will challenge the field in the 3000m run.
The 4x800m relay team of Celina Emerson, Tiffany Daley, Faith Dismuke and Nyanka Joseph won their heat with a time of 3:38.29 to punch a ticket to compete for the championship on Sunday. The 4x800m finals concludes the meet tomorrow at 3:00 p.m., where the quartet will look to become the first-ever UConn 4x800m team to win at ECACs.
Similarly, the 4x400m team of Taylor Anderson, Celina Emerson, Deysha Smith-Jenkins and Nyanka Joseph posted the top time in the first heat on Saturday to earn a spot in the finals. The group crossed the finish line at 45.61 as one of only two schools to post a sub-46 second time. They will look to upend the top qualifier in Cornell at Sunday’s final and become the first UConn 4x100m squad to take the ECAC crown.
The Huskies' pursuit of a sixth outdoor ECAC Championship continues tomorrow morning with the high jump at 10:00 a.m. Results will be posted as the events conclude by Lancer Timing Services. The link posted above leads to the results.