Meredith Rainey's former track coach charged yesterday that Harvard exploited the sophomore runner last weekend in a track meet. But Rainey said that she was not overused, just used to her capacity.
During Saturday's triangular meet with Yale and Princeton in New Haven, Rainey participated in the finals of five events, posting three first-place and two second-place finishes.
"No coach can advocate using someone like that," said Fred Thompson, Rainey's track coach during her elementary and junior high school years. "They are exploiting her talent. Harvard didn't have a chance to win that track meet. It's abominable."
Crimson track Coach Frank Haggerty '68 declined comment, but Co-Captain Katie Toner said that the co-captains, Haggerty and Rainey discussed the extra workload well before the track meet.
"Before the season began," Toner said, "we all looked at the schedule and picked certain meets where people were asked to give their all. We went into the meet looking to win. Given the time spread, she did not have to put out 100 percent effort in all of the races."
"Frank consulted me," Rainey said. "It was my decision. I don't feel I was exploited, but I wouldn't do it on a regular basis. I wouldn't even say I was overused. I was used to my capacity."
Thompson, however, said the decision should not have been left to Rainey.
"She doesn't understand she is being used," Thompson said. "A lot of kids don't understand when they are being used."
During the meet, Rainey was given an occasional breather when the men's team or the women's JV squad was on the track.
"It's not like if she just stayed on the track, waiting to run," Toner said. "The day could be considered a difficult workout for Meredith."
Thompson, however, said Rainey should not have run the five races in one day despite the temporary breaks.
"It's still wrong," Thompson said. "I don't care who talked about it or how much time there was that day. The coach can't advocate that responsibility. It doesn't matter if Meredith agreed to it. I don't think a coach should ever advocate running a kid five times in one day."
Rainey won the 200, 400, and 800-meter races. She also placed second in the 55-meter sprint, and anchored the women's mile relay to a second-place finish.
"Why did she run in five events?" Thompson continued. "It's because she's talented, and they were exploiting her talent."
Toner agreed that five races in one day was a lot.