Though the final result for the dual meet was 83-51 in favor of Yale, for the Crimson, the result was reflective of their recent progress.
“We learned a lot about ourselves at Gordon Saturday,” said junior Tekky Andrew-Jaja. “Half of our team matched or exceeded personal records, and this shows us that we can perform well in big-meet situations.”
On the men’s side, this “team” included a number of new runners and others coming off of injuries who provided a boost—including the track debut of the starting tailback for the Harvard football team, freshman Clifton Dawson.
On the women’s side, it was a similar story as the Crimson placed third, with a final score in favor of Princeton, which edged the Bulldogs and Harvard, 60-59-40.
Although, like the men’s team, they have not won a dual meet yet this season, the women’s team has posted a number of strong individual performances and steadily improving results against difficult Ivy League competition.
Fueled by a strong need for numbers in the sprinting events, Harvard convinced Dawson to come out for track and earn the Crimson some points, as he did on Saturday with a second-place finish in the 60m dash.
In the past, football players have used the track seasons as opportunities to do speed training.
The number—as well as quality—of Harvard’s sprinters was historically high at these times.
In recent years, recruiting has not been able to fill the void left by the diminishing number of these athletes.
Whether or not Dawson’s appearance will revive this trend remains to be seen, but his time this past weekend puts him in a position to earn points for the Crimson at Heptagonals as well.
“Again, it became a question of [our opponent’s] quantity versus our quality, and that’s really been the big attitude shift this year,” co-captain Onyechi Ezekwueche said.
This attitude has become prevalent on the team. Many of the athletes feel that its inferiority in numbers makes the dual season rough on Harvard, but that some of the strong individual talent can lead to success at the Heptagonals.
With their times on Saturday, a number of Crimson runners—as well as jumpers and throwers—placed themselves in the top-10 of the Ivy Leagues.
Junior Alasdair McLean-Foreman earned first place in the mile (4:08.2) and then came through in second in the 1000m as well. The two finishes solidify his top-five standing in each race in the league.