Track and Field Falls to Princeton, Tops Yale in HYP Meet
In the final meet of the indoor regular season for the Harvard track and field team, one thing became very clear: Princeton is yet again a force to be reckoned with.
Though the Crimson had a number of strong individual performances by both the men’s and women’s squads, the Tigers took home the men’s and women’s team titles at Saturday’s HYP meet held at Gordon Indoor Track, outscoring the Harvard men, 100.5-56.5, and the women, 80-65.5. Both Crimson squads were able to top Yale, whose men and women scored 13 and 13.5 points, respectively.
“As with any track and field meet, some things go your way, and some go not so well,” Harvard coach Jason Saretsky said. “Overall, I was really, really pleased with how well we did.”
“A few years back, Princeton had a sort of swagger about them,” Saretsky added. “They all really worked together and were confident as a team. I think that’s where we are now.”
The narrow gap between the Crimson women and the first-place Tigers, a perennial power in Ivy track and field, should also give the squad confidence as it prepares for the postseason.
“If things would have been a little different, I think that our women’s team could have actually overcome Princeton,” Saretsky said. “But that’s the way it goes.”
Harvard senior Meghan Looney earned an individual victory in the 800m run with a time of 2:11.07, continuing her dominance this season running the middle distances. Sophomore Alaina Murphy also competed in the 800 for Harvard, finishing in fourth place, just 0.65 seconds behind Looney.
“[Looney’s] just having fun,” Saretsky said. “She’s doing her thing, and it’s been exciting to see. It’s not something that shocks me or came out of left field. I think this is something that she’s been working toward for four years.”
The Crimson picked up 11 points—the highest possible amount—in the women’s weight throw. Sophomore Adabelle Ekechukwu, freshman Taylor DuPont, and juniors Shannon Watt and Chelsea Gilbert, a Crimson sports editor, swept the competition by finishing first through fourth, respectively.
Ekechukwu, a Crimson arts and photography editor, was back in competition on Saturday for the first time since December.
“This meet felt like the first meet of the season,” Ekechukwu said. “I was getting antsy and starting to feel that anticipation that athletes feel before competitions.”
She had no trouble shaking off the cobwebs, throwing a distance of 18.54 meters (60’10”) to set a new meet record. Ekechukwu’s mark bested the old meet record—set by Harvard’s Natalie Grant in 2002—by 7.5 inches.
But her day wasn’t over after winning the weight throw. Ekechukwu, who Saretsky said is more of a natural weight thrower, also competed in the shot put for the Crimson. Though she was topped by Watt and Dupont, Ekechukwu finished in fourth place, earning one point for Harvard.
“For her to get out there in the ring to add another point for the team, and to put up the meet record after having a couple weeks off, I think that bodes well for how she’s going to compete for us down the stretch,” Saretsky said.
Junior pole vaulter Nico Weiler added another standout performance for the Crimson on Saturday. The junior cleared 5.30 meters (17’4.5”) to set a school and meet record, earning the Crimson five points in the process.
On the men’s side, Harvard’s throwers had success as well. Freshman Ben Glauser and sophomore Dustin Brode finished first and second, respectively, in the shot put to earn eight points.
Glauser and Brode will be key if the Crimson men hope to narrow the gap with Princeton, Saretsky said.
“The pieces are there,” Saretsky said. “We have been working hard all year. Momentum builds from one meet to another, so I don’t think we need to do anything extraordinary. We just have to stay along the path that we’re on right now.”
—Staff writer Dominic A. Martinez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.