Sophomore Mary Hirst, shown above in previous action, competed at the Harvard Multi-Meet, one of the three events that the track and field team participated in this weekend. Hirst finished in second place in both the high jump and the shot put and nabbed eighth place in the pentathlon.
With a Saturday full of lifetime bests and ECAC and IC4A qualifying marks, the Harvard track and field team continues to gather momentum as it approaches its indoor championship season.
Members of the Crimson traveled to take part in three different competitions, as the squad focused on tuning up individual performances. While the throwers made the trip to Maine to compete at Bowdoin College, the rest of the squad stayed closer to home. Several distance runners went across the river to participate in the Terrier Invitational at Boston University, and the pentathletes and heptathletes remained on campus to contend in the Harvard Multi-Meet.
“This weekend was more about trying to work on different things with each event group that we need to practice for the competitions coming up,” Harvard coach Jason Saretsky said. “I was overall very pleased with how the student-athletes performed. We got some great marks in, and we put in some good work today.”
The Crimson rose to the occasion against some tough competition at the Terrier Invitational, coming back to campus with three lifetime bests and two post-season qualifying times between four athletes.
In the one mile, junior Michael Hoffman took the lead of his heat with 400 meters to go and held off the rest of the competition before crossing the finish line. His effort was good for a lifetime best and IC4A qualifying time of 4:14.67, placing 26th in the 125-runner field.
Freshman James Leakos and sophomore Stewart Richardson both had lifetime bests in the 3K. They took 31st and 34th, respectively, with times of 8:40.04 and 8:42.44. Richardson also took the lead of his heat in a close finish, pulling in front with about 600 meters to go.
On the women’s side, junior Kailyn Kuzmuk qualified for the ECACs in the 5K, crossing the finish line in 17:13.90.
“It’s a great feeling [to see these athletes get their lifetime bests and qualifying marks],” Saretsky said. “It is a testament to the hard work they’ve put in—especially over January, but also in the fall. I think it bodes well for the entire team as we move into the next stage in our season.”
“It’s a really exciting time of year, and we had a couple of really good lifetime bests and postseason qualifying marks this weekend,” co-captain Brian Hill said. “It’s a good confidence booster heading into some big meets.”
Although the Crimson throwers did not compete for places against Bowdoin and Colby, they had some solid performances at the contest on Saturday.
In the men’s weight throw, four Harvard competitors posted the top marks of the field. Senior Ablorde Ashigbi threw an IC4A qualifying mark of 17.73 meters, surpassing all of his competition by over a full meter.
“Almost every throw that Ashigbi does now would qualify him for the IC4A,” Hill said. “He is a great competitor.”
Freshman Dustin Brode, senior Eric Clayman, and sophomore Matthew Polega followed Ashigbi in the event with marks of 16.41, 16.26, and 15.41 meters, respectively.