Men’s Track Defeats Yale; Women’s Track Falls Just Short

First-place finishes guarantee travel to the Cambridge-Oxford meet this summer for 12 men and four women

The desire to trounce a rival often serves as ample motivation for athletes, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to have a little extra incentive.

Competing at Yale on Saturday, the Harvard men’s and women’s track teams were vying not only for the victory but also for individual places on a combined traveling team that will head to England this summer to compete in the Oxford-Cambridge meet.

The men captured the victory by 20 points, while the women fell short, despite a solid performance in the field and hurdling events.

The first-place finishers from each event are guaranteed a spot on the traveling team. Coaches from both teams will select the additional participants today.

Men

Co-captain John Traugott led the way for the Harvard men with first-place finishes in the 800 and 1500 meters.

He was also the recipient of the treasurer’s award as the meet’s most outstanding performer.

“During my races, I was just thinking about staying relaxed,” Traugott said. “I just flashed some images of the team in my mind, and that got me going. I felt the energy from my teammates and they brought me in strong.”

The Crimson had season bests across the board, with 12 first-place finishes on the day.

Harvard shone in the field events, recording five victories. Senior Mike Armstrong won the discus, while sophomore Kris Hinson finished second in the shot put.

The freshman trio of Kevin Duffy, James Rhodes and Sam Laine dominated the javelin, hammer and triple jump, respectively. Laine’s jump of 14.91 meters and Rhodes’ throw were both personal bests.

“Having my family there watching me helped to motivate me,” Laine said. “During the competition, I just wanted to concentrate on maintaining my posture and holding each phase for as long as possible.”

Senior Chris Lambert breezed to victories in the 100 and 200 meters and finished the meet with a remarkable anchor leg for the mile relay team.

Trailing by about 10 meters at the start of his leg, Lambert ended up crossing the finish line 10 meters ahead of the Yale runner.

“I had a good moment [in the relay],” Lambert said. “But the conditions today were hard for sprinting. We had some pretty bad headwinds, plus they kept on messing up with the race timing.”

Senior Matt Seidel won the 5000 meters in 15:37 while classmates Eric Lahaie and Niall Murphy took the 400- and 110-meter hurdles, respectively.

“Winning this meet was a big goal, especially coming off our close loss [to Yale] indoors,” co-captain Taylor Buckley said. “We’d been gearing up for the meet and the whole team really came up big. The win was especially good for this group of seniors, who really weren’t interested in going out losers to Yale.”

Women

Despite losing to the Bulldogs, the Harvard women still had four competitors place first and qualify for the England meet.

“Every finish of each event was extremely intense and exciting to watch and cheer for because you knew that whoever crossed first or second was going to England,” co-captain Ashley Furst said. “I am still confident by the performances given we will be ready for [the Heptagonal Championships], especially with another meet between now and then.”

Furst finished second in the 400 meters and anchored the mile relay in its second-place finish.

Junior BreeAnna Gibson overcame the shoulder injury she suffered during her first event to emerge with victories in the discus and the shot put.

Her classmate Johanna Doyle won the hammer throw convincingly with a throw of 56.97 meters, inching closer to the Harvard record held by Nicky Grant ’02.

Junior Andrea Li capped off a solid day in the field events with a second-place finish in the pole vault, clearing 10’6.

The hurdlers led the way in the track portion of competition, led by freshman Mary Serdakowski, sophomore Eleanor Thompson and senior Alayna Miller, who swept the 100 meters.

Freshman Adanna Scott completed the Crimson hurdlers’ dominance, winning the 400 meters.

Meanwhile, freshman Laura Maludzinski finished second in the 1500 meters in 14:25.86, with junior Bev Whelan coming in third just behind her.

Senior Sam Piper placed second in the 800 meters with a time of 2:13.

“A lot of athletes were injured or not feeling well coming into this meet,” Li said. “But people pulled through and scored points for us. Although we didn’t win, we pulled a lot of performances that bode well for the future.”

Both the men’s and women’s teams are in action next weekend at the New Hampshire Invitational. In addition, Harvard will take a select few athletes to compete in the Penn Relays later this week.

The Penn Relays are one of the nation’s premier amateur track and field competitions.

—Staff writer Samita A. Mannapperuma can be reached at mannapp@fas.harvard.edu.