The 2011-12 season may still be five months away, but Harvard men’s basketball coach Tommy Amaker is already planning for 2012 and beyond.
Yesterday, Amaker landed his first commitment for the class of 2012: Evan Cummins, a 6’8, 205-lb power forward from Northfield Mount Hermon High School (Mass.).
As the spring season concludes, a new chapter is just beginning in senior wide receiver Marco Iannuzzi’s football career. As was announced by the Canadian Football League earlier today, the Calgary, Alberta, native was selected by the BC Lions in the first round of the CFL draft. Click here for the full draft results.
The No. 6 overall pick, Iannuzzi sits atop the all-time leader board in both career and single-season average kickoff returns with 26.5 and 34.5 yards per return, respectively. This past season, Iannuzzi scored two touchdowns on kickoff returns for the Crimson, including a 95-yard return against Brown in Harvard’s first Ivy League game this year.
The football star wasn’t the only Harvard athlete who earned major recognition this weekend. Though both the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams lost in the finals of their respective Ancient Eight tournaments earlier today, stellar pitching from freshman Laura Ricciardone and junior Rachel Brown helped the Crimson capture the Ivy League title against rival Cornell. Harvard shut out the Big Red, 5-0 and 4-0, respectively, this weekend to sweep the best-of-three championship series. The series served as a rematch of last year’s Ivy League Championship, in which Cornell earned victory over Harvard.
As the school year comes to a close, many Harvard athletic teams are competing in some of their most important events of the season.
The softball squad faces off against Cornell today and tomorrow in a best-of-three series, with the winner claiming the Ivy League Championship. The championship is a rematch of last year in which Cornell defeated the Crimson by one run in the third game. Despite the loss to the Big Red last season, Harvard has been improving, racking up a 34-10 season record and setting multiple program records this year. The two teams split their two-game matchup earlier this year. The Crimson seeks its fifth Ivy League Championship and its first since 2007.
The men’s lacrosse team is also looking to claim the Ivy League Championship tomorrow at noon against Cornell. After defeating Penn yesterday, 12-8, in the semifinals, the Crimson moved even closer to an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. Harvard enters the matchup with three straight wins, but Cornell comes in with even more momentum from nine straight victories and a 12-2 record. The Big Red has walked away victorious in the last 13 games against the Crimson, but Harvard still has a fighting chance. Cornell has only won by one goal in each of the last three seasons.
The women’s lacrosse team is the final team seeking an Ivy League Championship title this weekend. Harvard edged Dartmouth in the semifinals yesterday, 11-10, and will now face Princeton tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. Last season, the women emerged victorious over the Tigers with an 11-9 win.
With all of the championships taking place this weekend, the track and field teams are getting in on the action with an important race of their own. The men and women’s squads travel to New Haven, Conn., for the Outdoor Heptagonal Championships. Both the men and women’s squads finished seventh at Heps last year and will look to improve on those records.
Finally, the sailing team travels to Dartmouth this weekend to compete for the Fowle Trophy in the 62nd New England Team Race. Last year, the both the men and women’s squads placed seventh.
The sports world will turn its attention later this afternoon to the most exciting two minutes in sports: The Kentucky Derby. Held annually on the first Saturday in May, the event is perhaps the most iconic in all of horse racing.
No doubt two former Harvard students will be watching the results very closely: Andrew Beyer and Steven Crist ’78. After all, the two have been working in horse racing for the past 30 years and are giants in the industry.
Beyer, a former Crimson sports editor, came to Harvard with some experience in horse racing. But when he discovered the horse racing tracks in the area, Beyer was hooked.
It was this love of horse racing that caused Beyer not to graduate.
"My final examination in Chaucer [in the Spring of 1966] was scheduled on the same day that Kauai King would be trying to win the Triple Crown at Belmont Park,” Beyer told The Harvard Crimson in 1975. “I knew nothing about the Canterbury Tales, but I did know something about Amberoid in the Belmont Stakes. So I went to the track."
It turned out Beyer knew what he was doing. Amberoid pulled off the upset.
Since then, Beyer has become, according to many, “the best—and most important—handicapper in America.” After making the key discovery that horses’ times mattered much more than previously thought, he had a significant edge over the rest of the bettors. However, he later divulged his methods in a series of watershed books, which eventually led to the creation of a new statistic, the Beyer Speed Figure, which has become the cornerstone for much of betting in horse racing.
Currently, Beyer writes for both the Washington Post and the Daily Racing Form, a daily publication that covers horse racing and releases the horses’ past performances. Its publisher is also a former Harvard student, though unlike Beyer, Crist ’78 actually graduated.
While at Harvard, Crist went to the dog track at Wonderland and immediately fell in love with the sport.
“I felt right at home the first night,” he told the Harvard Magazine last year. Pretty soon, he began to focus on horse racing and has been deeply involved ever since.
From 1981 to 1990, Crist was the horse racing columnist for the New York Times. After holding a number of other jobs in the industry, Crist became the CEO of the Daily Racing Form in 1998. Though he no longer serves in that capacity, Crist remains quite involved in the paper.
In the meantime, Crist has written a number of books, including “Exotic Betting” and “Betting on Myself: Adventures of a Horse Player and Publisher.”
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