The Harvard track and field program may have been spread out amongst several meets this weekend, but the energy of the team was high. Records were falling all Friday and Saturday as the team split up and competed in four meets across the country.
Coming off a strong win against Yale, confidence was high for the athletes, and they certainly didn’t slow down. In last weekend’s victory over the Bulldogs, the field athletes dominated, capturing first place in every event. However this weekend, it was the runners who shone for the Crimson.
LSU ALUMNI GOLD
The Harvard record book received a makeover following the meet in Louisiana, as several runners made their way into the top spots in Crimson history.
Sophomore Madison Hansen shone for Harvard as she earned a personal best in the heptathlon event, with first-place scores in the high jump and second in the 800-meter run. With 5152 points, Hansen won the event and moved into the Crimson’s second all-time spot.
“Day one didn’t go as well as I had hoped, so I knew coming into day two I had to work really hard,” Hansen said. “Long jump was the first event of day two, and I jumped a college personal best. The 800 was my last event, and my goal had been to break 2:20 this season, so running a 2:17 was really exciting.”
Though they were unable to break their school record setting mark, the 4x100 relay team of junior Ashley Collinsworth, freshman Jade Miller, sophomore Autumne Franklin, and junior Danielle Barbian finished fifth in the event with a time of 45.94 to take second in Harvard history. The quartet was just 0.1 second slower than its record setting time which it ran earlier this season.
Collinsworth also had a strong performance individually in the 200 meter dash earning the second best time in Crimson history, while Franklin and Miller were impressive in the 400 meter hurdles with Franklin moving into third all time at Harvard.
LARRY ELLIS INVITE
A group of Harvard athletes headed to Ancient Eight foe Princeton to compete in the Larry Ellis Invite against athletes from over 120 schools. Field athletes continued their season dominance in the meet, but on the track, sophomore Paige Kouba was the star.
Kouba claimed the top spot in the Crimson record books in the steeplechase with a time of 10:34.22.
On the men’s side, junior Igor Liokumovich placed second in the shot put and third in the discus with some of his strongest throws of the season. Junior Dean Sullivan finished second in the javelin with a throw of 64 meters.
MT. SAC INVITATIONAL
The Mt. SAC Invitational meet brought several Harvard athletes to the southwest coast to compete, making it the Crimson’s third straight year competing on the Mt. San Antonio College campus.
The distance runners excelled at the meet, posting top times of the season and adding their names to the Harvard record books.
On the women’s side, senior Morgan Kelly added her name to the record books in the five-kilometer event with the top outdoor time in Crimson history. She finished in a time of 16:11.05. This long-standing record had not been broken since Katie Wiley ’85 finished in 16:15.08.
The men were also strong competitors in the 5k, with senior James Leakos moving to second all time with his time of 13:44.57. Sophomore Tom Purnell was just behind him, claiming fifth all time with his time of 13:59.42.
MIT COED INVITE
Just down the river on MIT’s campus, the MIT Coed Invitational was renamed the Sean Collier Invitational to honor the fallen MIT police officer who was killed last spring following the events of the Boston Marathon bombing.
“The big thing for that meet is another opportunity for kids to get a chance to compete,” Harvard coach Jason Saretsky said. “We’re very committed to this program having all the team members provided opportunities to have competitive experiences. It’s nice to be able to stay local and travel a short distance to get on a fast track to the competition.”
This meet was particularly helpful to some of the younger members of the team to gain meet experience. Freshman Madeline Zimmerman came in second in the triple jump with a distance of 11.38 meters.
As the regular season winds down and the runners prepare for the championship portion of the season, both runners and field athletes will be focusing on fine-tuning their events.
“As a team we will focus on really executing in these last meets before Heps and competing as well as we practice,” Hansen said.
—Staff writer Theresa C. Hebert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.