Coming off its win over Yale at McCurdy Outdoor Track a week ago, the Harvard track and field team was given a dose of reality by some more formidable opponents this weekend.
In spite of a number of strong individual performances by members of the men’s and women’s squads, event wins were hard to come by for the Crimson, which competed in three meets: the Larry Ellis Invitational at Princeton, the MIT Spring Invitational, and the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif.
“I was really pleased with how both of our squads competed over the weekend,” Harvard coach Jason Saretsky said. “It was a big invitational at Princeton…. We were able to work on some really good things, and I was pleased with how we went out there and competed.”
LARRY ELLIS INVITATIONAL
A majority of the track and field squad traveled to Princeton, N.J., over the weekend, where it squared off against a deep field that included Georgetown, UConn, and Ivy foes Cornell, Penn, and Princeton.
“The level of competition was outstanding, especially in the field events, where it took regionals-level performances to get into the finals,” Saretsky said. “It was great competition for us; there are a bunch of quality schools up and down the East Coast.”
Some members of the Harvard team rose to the occasion and earned top-five finishes in their respective events. Only one member of the Crimson squad took home an event win at the invitational, but he did so in style.
Junior Nico Weiler dominated his competition in the pole vault, clearing 5.31 meters to earn first place. His nearest competitor, Princeton’s Adam Bragg, earned second place with a clearance that was over eight inches below Weiler’s event-winning mark.
After scratching twice with the bar set at 5.31 meters, Weiler cleared it on his third attempt. The bar was then set to 5.46 meters, which would have bested the junior’s personal and school record by 0.10 meters. But Weiler was unable to make the clearance in each of his three attempts.
“[Weiler] is really dialed in right now,” Saretsky said. “He’s the type of athlete whose training is really geared towards May and June and even into the summer. So I think the best is still to come with him.”
Elsewhere at the invitational, high jumpers junior Mary Hirst and sophomore Jonathan Sparks turned in their outdoor personal-best performances.
Sparks finished in third place in the high jump by leaping 2.04 meters (6’8.25”).
Albany’s Alexander Bowen won the event by clearing 2.08 meters.
On the women’s side, Hirst cleared 1.76 meters (5’ 9.25), the fourth best mark in school history, to also earn third in the event. Hirst’s bested by a pair of UConn jumpers.
Sophomore distance runner Emily Reese, racing for the first time since the cross country season, had a second-place showing in the 3000-meter run, finishing in 9:56.54.