Three possible Olympic contenders from the women's track team brought home impressive results from two invitational meets this weekend, following the squad's thorough 74-26 plucking of the Falcons from Fitchburg State Friday afternoon.
The most impressive showing of the weekend was freshman Darlene Beckford's first-place finish in the mile run at the Catholic Youth Organization National Invitational at College Park, Md. Beckford's phenomenal time of 4:37.0 not only bettered the old Harvard record of 4:49.3 set by Johanna Forman less than a month earlier, but also gives her the nation's fastest indoor mile time recorded so far this season. Her time is also the fastest mile ever run by an Ivy League woman.
Forman also ran in the College Park meet, placing second in the 880 with a time of 2:10.6. Stanford's Robin Campbell broke the tape with a time of 2:08.2.
Paula Newnham placed third in the 880 at the Dartmouth Relays in Hanover, N.H., Sunday with a time of 2:10.1, behind Canadian speedster Francine Gendron (2:08.4) and Georgetown's Chris Mullen (2:08.2).
Newnham also made her mark in Friday's romp over Fitchburg State. In the 440-yd run, she crossed the line in 1:00.4, erasing the previous Harvard indoor record for that event. Another record dropped Friday, when senior Pat Gopaul raced to a 27.1 second win in the 220, beating the record she set last season by a half second.
Against the Falcons, the Crimson won in all events except the 60-yd. dash, with several runners turning in their best performances to date. In the 880, Harvard's Martha Clabby and Becky Rogers ran an exciting race, with Clabby crossing the finish line just 0.5 seconds ahead of Rogers in the winning time of 2:19.
Other winners included Kim Johnson in the shot put (42 ft. 81/4 in.), Hannah Cox in the high jump (5 ft. 1/2 in.), Kerry Bryan in the long jump (15 ft. 8 1/2 in.), Anita Diaz in the two-mile (12:28.1), Karen Gray in the 60-yd. hurdles (9.5 seconds).
Sophomore Kit Kennedy posted her be time ever with her second place finish in the two-mile run in 12:40.5.
The Crimson hosts the Greater Boston Championships (GBC) Friday, February 1 at 2 p.m.
"Boston University has a bona fide team and they're making a lot of noise about the GBCs. They've got some quality performers and good depth, but so do we," coach Pappy Hunt said Friday.
The Crimson has never lost the GBCs, and with two runaway dual-meet victories and a couple of national class runners, Harvard will be tough to beat.