Super Bowl Sunday. Time to sit back, pop a Pepsi and watch the big game.
And, for a select few, it's also time to get up early in the morning and run, jump and throw until their lungs burst. Cornell 66 Harvard 70 Cornell 65 Harvard 53
Huh? No pretzels?
That's right, the men's and women's track teams spent last Sunday a little differently than the rest of us. The Crimson took on Cornell, with the men winning, 70-66, and the women falling, 65-53.
The men's team fell behind 33-21 after the shot put, but Harvard (3-0) then ripped off six straight first-place finishes and would hold the lead for the rest of the day.
The team's success started when junior Ben Bowen (50.35) and sophomore Jerome McCluskey (51.42) came in first and second in the 400 meters, earning Harvard an 8-1 victory in that event.
And the beat went on. Junior Darin Shearer finished first in the 500 meters and the 1000 meters, junior Shane Mauricette won the 55 meter hurdles, Bowen added an 800 meter victory and sophomore Steve Brannon topped it all of with a win in the pole vault.
Next thing Cornell knew, Harvard was leading, 55-44, and for all intents and purposes the meet was over.
"We felt that if it came down [to the wire] that we would get it," Bowen said. "We were pretty confident that we'd secure it with a running event [at the end]."
The victory was particularly impressive for the Crimson given that the Big Red had taken its exams many weeks ago and had been holding regular practices for all that time.
Harvard, on the other hand, hadn't competed since January 6.
"We came out a little flat," junior high jumper Terry Mann (6'7", first place) said. "We knew that we were the better team and that we'd find a way to win. If we met them again in a couple of weeks, it wouldn't be close."
"We'd stomp all over them," he added.
On the other side of the track, the women weren't so fortunate. The powerful Big Red grabbed the lead after sweeping the top two spots in the mile and would never fall behind again.
The closest the Crimson (1-2) would come was after the 200 meters, when junior Amanda Williams (25.92) led a Harvard sweep of the top three spots. The strong showing closed the gap to one point at 32-31.
However, Cornell took control of the meet after that, winning the next five events to clinch the victory. Harvard then took the last two events--the mile relay and the two mile relay--but at that point it was impossible for the Crimson to catch up to the Big Red.
"Cornell's one of the best teams in the Ivy League," senior Meredith Fitzgerald (second in 3000 m, 10:09.02 said. "I lost to a girl that has won the heptagonals three times. Going to practice was a little sporadic over exam period, [but] Cornell's also a very good team."
On the plus side for Harvard, junior Karen Goetze came back from a calf injury to finish second in the 400 meters behind Williams.
A Speeding Carswell
In other Harvard track news, sophomore Ian Carswell has qualified for the NCAA National meet and broken a Harvard school record in one race. While competing in the B.U. Terrier Classic--a sort of a Pro Bowl for collegiate track--Carswell finished the 3000 meters in 8:01.11.
The time wasn't good enough for first place in the event but was better than any Crimson runner had ever done before. Plus, by being under 8:01.5 it earned Carswell an automatic place in the Nationals in the second week of March. Carswell started out in front of the second pack of runners and ran the first mile in 4:19--pretty good, but not a cause for celebration.
With two laps to go, however, he was in fourth place. Then Carswell turned on the afterburners.
"I was back in the pack a little ways," Carswell said, "and I brought it in pretty soon."
He kicked in an amazing 2:01 for the last 800 meters of the race and finished second to Georgetown's Andy Dounin by a nose.
The old Harvard record was 8:01.79, set by Cliff Sheen.
"I was hoping to run under 8:10," Carswell said. "After the race I knew that I did that, and my coach told me that I got 8:01, and I knew the Harvard record was 8:01-something. I have more confidence in my kick now--it helps to know that you have it in yourself."