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Odenigbo ’24, Bernard ’25 claim Ivy League titles for indoor track and field

Women finish fourth, men finish fifth in Ivy League Championships over weekend

<p>Despite individual performances, contests like the Ivy League Championships reward team performance — and as a whole, the Bears shone.</p><p>Courtesy of Brown Athletics</p>

Despite individual performances, contests like the Ivy League Championships reward team performance — and as a whole, the Bears shone.

Courtesy of Brown Athletics

At the Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor Track and Field Championships hosted by Harvard this weekend, Brown women’s track and field placed fourth with 84 cumulative points and the men’s team placed fifth with 45 points.

At the competition, athletes Chiamaka Odenigbo ’24 and Rudecia Bernard ’25 won Ivy titles for the women’s pentathlon and women’s high jump, respectively.

“The competition went well,” wrote Head Coach Ken Hunt in an email to The Herald. “We as a staff are so proud of how our student-athletes competed this weekend. I believe it is an indication of our upward trajectory.”

In the Saturday pentathlon game, Odenigbo defended her Ivy League title and won gold for the second year in a row. Her 4,027-point finish not only beat her previous record of 4,012 points but also became the second-highest score in Brown program history.


“It was time to defend my title,” Odenigbo wrote in an email to The Herald.

“The energy at (the Heptagonal) is always amazing,” she reflected after the contest. “It is loud, it is electric and it breeds an extra level of adrenaline and, in turn, great performances.” 

With a time of 8.54 seconds, Odenigbo blazed into first place in the 60-meter-hurdles. A 1.75-meter leap in the high jump secured her another top podium position. But following a second-place finish in the shot put and third in the long jump, with distances of 12.12 and 5.48 meters respectively, Odenigbo was pitted in a tight battle for first place overall. 

“I didn’t have a strong lead over second place,” she wrote. “I was nervous going into the last event — my weakest one.” 

But after completing the 800-meter race with a time of 2:26.33, she was able to clinch the pentathlon victory. 

“Being able to secure the win after running a personal best by five whole seconds gave me a feeling I’m really struggling to put into words,” Odenigbo wrote. “That definitely made this win a lot sweeter.”

It was also a record-setting day for Bernard, who competed in the high jump. In a gold-winning performance, she leaped 1.76 meters and onto the top podium position. 

“This title was truly special to me,” Bernard wrote in an email to The Herald.

It wasn’t just Bernard and Odenigbo who shattered the record books. John McNeil ’24 delivered a 7.66-meter performance in the men’s long jump, not only setting a new personal best but establishing a new school record. His second-place finish was only a quarter of an inch shy of Princeton’s Greg Foster. 

The Heptagonal “brings the team spirit out of a sport that often focuses on individuals,” Bernard wrote in an email to The Herald. “On both the men’s and women’s teams, it was great to see people rooting for each other so hard that we were getting kicked out of certain areas of the venue.”


Lauren Yeboah-Kodie ’24 earned three podium positions across her three events. “I wanted to stay calm in dealing with the chaos of overlapping events,” she wrote in an email to The Herald. “I (take it) one event or jump at a time. I don’t want to give into fear or feelings of dread, and I also don’t want to feel complacent; I want to stay competitive and aggressive.” 

On Saturday, Yeboah-Kodie competed in the long jump. Leaping into third place with a 6.17-meter jump, she set a new personal best while securing the second-farthest long jump in program history. Jada Joseph ’25 finished right behind her, landing in fourth place with a 5.99-meter jump.

“We have a really nice dynamic,” Yeboah-Kodie wrote about Joseph. “It helps to have someone where we can push and motivate each other … Jada especially has inspired me to become a more competitive and confident jumper, and athlete overall.” “We definitely feed off each other’s energies. When one person does well, it’s invigorating,” she added.

Yeboah-Kodie doubled down on Sunday, finishing second in the 60-meter hurdles. She crossed the finish line in 8.58 seconds. Close behind was Odenigbo, who finished in third with a time of 8.62 seconds. The day before, during the preliminary round, she had run the third-fastest time in school history, 8.52 seconds. 

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The duo also competed in the triple jump, with Yeboah-Kodie taking home third place with a jump of 12.91 meters — a new personal best — and Odenigbo finishing fifth with a personal best of her own of 12.34 meters. Between them, in fourth place, was Joseph, who leaped 12.68 meters. 

“Training and competing with these ladies (is) a lot of fun,” Odenigbo wrote about Joseph and Yeboah-Kodie. “We’re never short of smiles, funny dances or supportive hugs and cheers. But we’re also very competitive with each other during practice.”

My teammates “push me in every aspect all of the time, and I am so grateful to get to share the multi-experience with them,” Odenigbo added. 

Despite individual performances, contests like the Ivy League Championships reward team performance — and as a whole, the Bears shone.

In the men’s 60-meter hurdles, Marcus Gillespie ’24 set a new personal best with his second-place, 7.93-second finish. Jason Estrada ’26 placed third in the 400-meter race, traversing the lap in 48.03 seconds — the fourth fastest time in Brown history. In the women’s shot put, Kendra Ezeama ’24 claimed the third spot with a throw of 14.74 meters. 

The Bears now look ahead to the ECAC Championships held in Boston from March 1 to 3. 

Lydell Dyer

Lydell Dyer is a Senior Staff Writer for the sports section. A sophomore hailing from Bonn, Germany, Lydell is studying nonfiction English and political science, and if he's not off "making words sound pretty," you can find him lifting heavy circles at the Nelson.

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