It was like a Little League team playing the Dodgers, a Pop Warner squad taking on the Jets.
The Division III Bates women's track team just didn't belong in the same arena with Harvard's Division I squad Saturday, when the 2-0 Crimson trounced the Bobcats, 94-11, at the newly-dedicated Albert H. Gordon Track and Tennis Center.
The winning margin was so great that Crimson coach Pappy Hunt apologized after the meet. "I hate to win by that score," Hunt said. "It's embarrassing. We didn't try to do it," he explained.
It wasn't always that easy. Believe it or not, an upstart Bates squad dealt Harvard a 53-52 defeat last season when the Bobcats jumped out to a 21-1 lead and held on for the upset.
Harvard assistant coach John Babington attributed the difference between last year's meet and Saturday's walkover to his team's great improvement. "They did it just on the strength of their ability," Babington said of Harvard's romp.
Despite the lack of competition, Harvard performers turned in superior efforts. Kim Johnson shattered her Harvard shot put record, sending the shot 45 ft., 2 in. to add almost a foot to her previous best, set in last week's meet against the University of New Hampshire.
"I'm going to make a habit of setting records," the senior shot putter said.
Freshman Marquita Patterson got stung by a similar record-setting bug. Patterson has wasted no time making her mark on Harvard athletics, setting a 60-yard hurdle record against UNH and tying it Saturday. The freshman phenom chopped half a second off Karen Gray's record 9.1 seconds.
Patterson did not stop at tying her newly-set record but went on to capture the long jump with a 16 ft., 9 in. leap and take third in the 200 meters in a time of 27.8 seconds.
Middle distance runner Darlene-Beck-ford took an unusual route to a usual finish. Beckford, who likes to dit back early in the race, proved she can run from the front equally well, breaking her track record in the 1500 meters with a time of 4:18:1.
"My best times are usually when someone else sets the pace," Beckford said after the race, adding that she altered her usual race plan at the request of her coach, who wanted her to get experience running from the front.
"Darlene was making a planned effort to go out fast and sustain the pace," Babington said.
Running from the front was something Harvard did all day. The Crimson clinched the meet after just eight of the 13 events had been completed. Harvard swept all but four events and won everything but the high jump.