Members of the the Harvard track and field team shook off the offseason rust on Saturday at the Harvard Open, posting solid showings at the Crimson’s indoor opener.
Although Harvard only sent a portion of its team to the meet, the individual results placed the team at a good position to begin the season, according to co-captain Sydnie Leroy.
“I think that we have really big goals this season, and this was exactly where we need to be for those goals to be realistic,” Leroy said.
Held at Gordon Indoor Track, the meet pitted Harvard against a variety of teams, including local competitors Holy Cross, Northeastern, and Ivy rival Dartmouth. Although the competition was not the toughest the Crimson will face this season, senior pole vaulter Nico Weiler says it provided competitors a chance to gauge themselves early on.
“It was really good, considering it was really, really, really early in the season,” Weiler said. “It’s really cool to see where the team stands. I think the meets will get more competitive as the season progresses, but I think that’s because everybody gets into better shape.”
Freshman Martina Salander, a multi-eventer, came out hot in her first collegiate meet, posting a time of 7.96 seconds in the 55-meter hurdles, 0.26 seconds ahead of teammate junior Olivia Abbate, to take first place. Salander also earned a victory in the 600-meter, finishing the race in 1:38.68, nearly four seconds faster than any other competitor. She also placed third in the shot put, with a mark of 13.06 meters, short of Sacred Heart’s Lindsay Aponte and Dartmouth’s Emmaline Berg by 1.08 and 0.54 meters, respectively.
Another freshman who tasted victory in her first collegiate meet was Autumne Franklin, who edged out UMass Lowell’s Nicole Giaquinto in the 300-meter dash by 0.29 seconds with a time of 40.22 seconds. Franklin also came in third in the 55-meter hurdles, thwarted only by her Crimson teammates.
“Our incoming freshman class is dominating,” Leroy said. “We have a few freshmen multi-eventers, and it was their first time out, and they did really, really well—definitely exceeded our expectations. They scored a lot of points for us, which is exactly what we need them to do—they’re really coming along. I think they’re going to be huge players for us this year in the Ivy League.”
The sophomores performed well in the 55-meter dash, as Danielle Barbian tied for second, finishing the race in 7.17 seconds. Ashley Collinsworth was just 0.02 seconds behind Barbian, taking fourth. Collinsworth finished fourth in the 300-meter dash with a time of 41.06 seconds, and teammates Abbate and freshman Christi Scott took fifth and sixth place, respectively. Sophomore Ann Giebelhaus also experienced success, taking first in the high jump, topping out at 1.70 meters.
“[Giebelhaus] really had a great day,” Leroy said. “She came in with a huge jump for the first meet of the year.”
Leroy vaulted herself into first as well, tying with Northeastern’s Jillian Decarteret and Jacilyn Briggs at 3.45 meters. In the men’s pole vault, Weiler reached the top of the podium in after clearing 4.95 meters. Despite his first-place finish, Weiler was not entirely pleased with his performance.
“Personally, I’m not really happy with the height of my performance, but I am really happy with how I jumped,” Weiler said. “I’m happy with the pole and how I ran, and I’m happy with the shape I’m in. Usually I’m used to shifting up one gear when I’m jumping, but today I felt like I could shift up two because of the good preparation all offseason.”
Sophomore Jesaiah Coy raced to a second-place finish in the 300-meter dash at 35.74 seconds, just 0.17 seconds behind Rhode Island’s Zach Campo. Jarvis Harris, also a sophomore, posted a solid showing in the 55-meter hurdles, coming in third with a sub-7.70 time, 0.10 seconds after the first-place finisher, Rhode Island’s Wayne Seaton.
“The standard throughout the Ivy League in track and field has gotten to just incredible levels, so if we want to achieve our team goals, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us,” Harvard coach Jason Saretsky said. “But it’s a talented, great group of student-athletes, so I’m excited for what we’re going to be able to accomplish this season.”
—Staff writer Samantha Lin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.