Mariquita Patterson And Amy Simon
The difference between sprinters and distance runners is more than meters.
But despite separate workouts and training philosophies, the sprinting and distance corps of this year's Harvard women's track team have merged, thanks to the efforts of the squad's senior co-captains, sprinter Mariquita. Patterson and distance runner Amy Simon.
"It's not the event [the captains] compete in. We can talk to either of them," says freshman sprinter Deli Favemi. "They're both really warm."
The captains' areas of individual expertise complement each other, and the pair has striven to reconcile two disparate groups of athletes.
"One of my major goals was to bring unity between the distancers and the sprinters," Patterson says. "Amy has as much communication with the sprinters as I do with the long distance runners."
The captains diverse track strengths earned them numerous distinctions in high school.
Patterson captained the Shreiver High School track team in Port Washington. N.Y., where she began developing her sprinting and field event talents.
As a senior, the Engineering concentrator clinched first place in heptathlon at the Empire State Games and the 55-meter hurdles at the New York State Championships.
A distance specialist, Simon headed her high school cross country team. She claimed a silver in the two miles and a bronze in the mile at the illinois State Championships and was awarded best senior athlete/scholar at her high school in Evanston, III.
Although Patterson has had a more illustrious Harvard career, both captains have been significant...point scorers.
Patterson dominated the hurdles and long jump during her four years in Cambridge. Named to the All-Ivy trackteam for seven straight seasons, the Eliot House resident holds the University records in the 100-meter hurdles and heptathion.
She ran to a photo-finish second in the 100-meter hurdles at the outdoor Heptagonals a week and a half ago, and is the indoor Heptagonal 55-meter champion. At last year's outdoor Heps, she took second in the 100 hurdles and third in the long jump.
Though Simon has not matched Patterson's Heptagonal achievements, she has been one of the most consistent members of the distance squad, placing in the top four in almost every competition.
While both captains ran well on the track, it was their performances off the track that distinguished them.
Throughout the 1985 campaign, injuries forced both the captains and their teammates to spend time on the sidelines and both Patterson and Simon were instrumental in keeping up the team's morale.
Patterson severely injured her knee while running stadium steps during the first practice of the spring season. Returning to competition six weeks, later against Dartmouth and Brown, Patterson finished second in the 100-meter hurdles.
She was, hoever, unsatisfied with her comeback. "I was disappointed in myself," says Patterson. "I ran a time I hadn't run since high school."
Although the injury was the first she's ever suffered, she handled the frustrations of spectating with poise.
"Mariquita is an example to everyone who gets injured," says Simon. "She showed real strength even in her disappointment."
Simon herself is no stranger to injury. A call tear hampered her performances this winter and she has been troubled with leg injuries throughout her Harvard career.
"The captains have really performed well, particularly because the team has faced adversity," says Harvard Coach Frank Haggerty. "Both captains worked hard so that people responded well."
The Crimson's second place showing at the outdoor Heps a week and a half ago demonstrates this response. The teams' strong performances in both the sprints and distance events show that Simon and Patterson have clearly united the long and short of their team.