Idle moments are hard to come by in the world of track and field.
While many students took the past weekend to travel home and spend Easter and Passover with their families, the Harvard track and field team was as busy as ever. The squad, split among three different meets, turned in a number of strong performances over the weekend, including some that earned event wins and were personal bests.
“We had an outstanding weekend,” Crimson coach Jason Saretsky said. “It was a busy weekend for us, with three competitions in three states, but I was very pleased overall with how our different groups performed.”
The Crimson only sent two representatives, sophomore James Leakos and senior Kailyn Kuzmuk, to the 47th annual Colonial Relays, hosted by The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. The pair of runners, who are also members of the Harvard cross country team, turned in top-10 finishes in the 5k and in the process earned spots in the Crimson record books.
Kuzmuk crossed the finish line in 16:34—the sixth fastest time in the event in Harvard history—en route to an eighth-place finish in the women’s competition.
Leakos followed suit, averaging a 4:29 mile in his race to finish in sixth place with a final time of 13:56.
“I took [the race] out a little conservatively,” Leakos said. “But I kept building and jumping to the next pack in front of me.”
When all was said and done, Leakos had run the fastest 5k of his collegiate career and had become the third Harvard runner to run a sub-14 minute outdoor 5k.
“[Leakos’ and Kuzmuk’s] performances were outstanding,” Saretsky said. “Both of those times in years past would get to them into the NCAA opening rounds.”
The duo was originally slated to compete in Princeton, N.J. to face off against Princeton’s elite distance team. But because many of the Tigers’ best distance runners competed in the 5000m run last weekend, Saretsky decided to send Leakos and Kuzmuk elsewhere to face tough competition.
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While Kuzmuk and Leakos were taking care of business in Williamsburg, another member of the cross country team, sophomore Maksim Korolev, was making waves in Princeton.
Korolev took home third place in the 1500m run on Saturday, finishing in just 3:57. The sophomore also competed in part of the 10,000m run on Friday night to get some experience racing the longer distances.
“Maks is doing great,” Saretsky said. “He is a couple weeks behind [Leakos] in his training, but I’m feeling good about how he is coming along…. This weekend was a major step forward for him.”