Throngs of Harvard students and affiliates flooded New Haven on Saturday. They taunted Elis, celebrated Harvard's dominance and imbibed. And some of them even went to a football game.
The Game saw Harvard reach a number of team marks, capping off what was arguably the team's best season ever. For the first time in its history, the Crimson has beaten all the other members of the Ivy-League. For the first time since 1919, it has completed a nine-win season. And for the first time since 1987, Harvard sits atop the Ivy League as the division champion.
There were also a number of notable personal achievements in the last game of Harvard's season. Sophomore running back Chris Menick broke the single-season rushing record set by Eion Hu '97 just two years ago and senior defensive end Christopher D. Smith, Harvard's all-time sack leader, added two more, pushing his career total to 20.5.
Menick and Smith, as well as Jeff G. Compas '98, Jason E. Hughes '98, Aron D. Natale' 00, Isaiah J. Kacyvenski '00 and Glenn S. Jackson '99 on defense and Matt R. Birk '98 and Rich J. Linden '00 on offense all seem destined for post-season Ivy League honors, which will be announced tonight.
While the success of the Crimson gives Harvard much cause for celebration, it also draws attention to the peculiar status of football as the only varsity sport in which post-season play is banned in the Ivy-League. The presidents of the eight colleges should reverse their current stance prohibiting their football teams from participating in Division 1-AA post-season competition.
Such a decision would bring football in line with a sports such as women's soccer, where another team of Harvard Ivy-League champions will soon make its debut in the quarterfinals round of the NCAA Division 1 championship. With its first-ever post-season win over UMass last week, Harvard broke a spell of three straight losses to its neighbor and rival.
Yesterday, the Crimson continued their string of impressive performances at Ohiri field by edging out George Mason University 2-1 in a thriller that ended in sudden death overtime. The Crimson benefitted from goals by Ivy League Player of the Year Naomi S. Miller '99 and Lindsay C. Minkus '98, stellar play by Ashley S. Berman '00 and the gritty goal-tending of Anne D. Browning '00. The Crimson will face its toughest challenge yet against No. 1 ranked North Carolina over Thanksgiving weekend. We can all hope that they don't give the Tarheels anything to be thankful for.