Laurie Lai Helps Taekwondo to Two First Place Finishes

Published by Jackson M. Reynolds on November 12, 2015 at 6:40PM

In its first two competitions of the season, the Harvard Taekwondo (HTKD) has placed first in its division, allowing it to currently stand atop Division III of the Eastern Collegiate Taekwondo Conference (ECTC).

With 18 members in its core competitor group that range from novice white belts to veteran black belts, the club participates in both poomsae and sparring events throughout New England. But HTKD’s recent success is primarily built upon the strength of its poomsae squad.

Third year law student Laurie Lai leads the Crimson in competition and instruction. Lai previously finished third at the 2014 U.S. National Collegiate Taekwondo Championships in Team Poomsae and also made it to the semifinals in the individual portion of the event. Lai’s finish was the best poomsae result posted by a member of HTKD in its history.

In its first tournament of the season at MIT, Harvard put forth a 98-point effort. While fighting in the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) style, HTKD entrants competed in bouts against students of member schools from all classes and divisions of the ECTC. The team finished 7th in the 23 school field.

The Crimson posted consistent performances across the board en-route to scoring 51 points more than the next highest divisional finisher, Penn, and also besting three Division II schools as well.

Lai placed second in a stacked Women’s Black Belt Poomsae field, while sophomore Thomas Lively and junior co-president Kayi Okine both brought home a gold medal in their respective poomsae events. Junior Noemí Urquiza, who placed 2nd in featherweight blue/green belt sparring at Collegiate Championships last spring, earned bronze in Women’s Blue Belt Poomsae.

This past Sunday, HTKD travelled 12 members to Ithaca, N.Y. to compete in the Cornell tournament where Harvard again finished first in Division III.

Lai won gold this time around, while sophomore Aisha Suara placed second in the Women’s Yellow Belt Poomsae. Urquiza and fellow junior Jeffrey Ling both earned bronze in the blue belt poomsae category.

Based on its performances this year, HTKD has grown past its self-described lackluster performance over the last half-decade by developing a culture of commitment and accountability throughout the squad.

According to co-president David Song, “the Taekwondo team has come such a long way … to [develop into] a dedicated, growth-oriented competition team. …[T]his could have been possible without the sacrifices of past team leaders who paved the way… or the amazing coaching that we receive from our student instructors, Laurie Lai and Yi-Pin Chang.”

Columbia By the Numbers: Not Your Typical Lions

Published by Wade G. Player on November 11, 2015 at 11:33PM
Hindering Hosch

Columbia limited the Crimson to just 24 points on Saturday, despite the fact that the Harvard offense has averaged nearly 40 points per game this season.

{image id=1310552 align=RIGHT caption=true size=LARGE}

There’s not much else to it: the Harvard football team has dominated Columbia over the last 13 years. The last loss to the Columbia football team came in 2003 with the Lions barely edging out the Crimson 16-13. Since then, Columbia hasn’t been able to touch Harvard. The biggest rout came from the 2012 season through last year.

The game this year, played at Robert K. Kraft Field in New York (ironic that the Lions’ home field is named after Boston’s premier sports magnate) was a little different, though. In the season that Columbia won its first game since 2012, the Lions are currently allowing a mere 20.9 points per game to opponents. Statistically, the game this year was a complete turn-around for Columbia.

POINTS 2015: Harvard 24; Columbia 16

POINTS 2012-14: Harvard, 49.3; Columbia 0

Since 2012, the Crimson defense did not let up a single point to the Lions until this year. However, the Lions’ boast the third-ranked defense in the Ivy League. They shut down the Crimson who currently average a league-leading 37.6 points per game. Columbia’s 16 points nearly doubles Harvard’s average of 9.5 points allowed per game.

TOTAL OFFENSE 2015: Harvard, 379 yards; Columbia, 404 yards

TOTAL OFFENSE 2012-14: Harvard, 487.7; Columbia, 206.3

Harvard, having more than doubled Columbia’s total yardage over the previous three contests, was outperformed by the Lion’s offense. The Harvard offense, which averages 475.6 yards per game, put up almost 100 yards less than normal.

POINTS OFF TURNOVERS 2015: Harvard, 3; Columbia, 3

POINTS OFF TURNOVERS 2012-14: Harvard, 24.3; Columbia, 0

Over the past three seasons, the Harvard offense was opportunistic when it came to turnovers by the Columbia offense. Half of the team's’ points came when the Lion’s gave the ball away. The closeness of this game can be directly linked to the lack of turnovers by each offense as well as the few points scored when either did turn the ball over.

Tweets of the Week

Published by Phillip Yu on November 11, 2015 at 9:38PM

With the end of midterm season (a.k.a. the entire fall semester) fast approaching, it’s time to celebrate! …with overdue essays, zero-degree wind chill, and the beginning of the finals grind.

Okay, so maybe it’s not time to kick back, and relax just yet.

But have no fear! There are a few things to look forward to: a Harvard-Yale victory (hopefully), Turkey break, and—as always—an abundance of fine tweets from even finer Crimson athletes. So, please, put down the Economics textbook for a few moments and instead enjoy some of the greatest tweets of the week, courtesy of Harvard Sports:

6. Kent Haeffner, sophomore, men’s swimming and diving

“That moment you get to class after a nap and realize you didn't put your contacts in #blind”

We’ve all had those days, Kent.

5. Jacob Luna, senior, men’s swimming and diving

Today in psychopharmacology: cheese causes autism

Kids, I present to you: Harvard.

4. Gabby Sims, sophomore, women’s swimming and diving

“When you can't decide what donut you want so you get three”

Please donut tempt me with your sweets…

3. Miye D'Oench, senior, women’s ice hockey

It makes no kind of sense that "playwrights" isn't spelled "playwrites"

Coming from a wrighter for the Crimson, I don’t get this either.

2. Molly Tissenbaum, junior, women’s ice hockey

I have a severe distrust of all people who order a small coffee in the morning... #why

So do we, Molly. So do we. #caffeineorbust

1. And finally…Harvard Athletics, with a picture of two bearded, identical-looking men:

“Twins or two great @harvardfootball QBs? Ryan Fitzpatrick congratulates @bshosch on the win over Columbia”

Will the real Fitzpatrick please stand up?

Harvard Alumni Update: Fitzpatrick Continues to Shine

Published by Manav Khandelwal on November 10, 2015 at 12:45AM

It was a successful week for former Harvard athletes this past week across a number of professional leagues. Here are just a few of the former Crimson standouts who featured heavily over the past seven days:

Ryan Fitzpatrick (QB, New York Jets - NFL)

Ryan Fitzpatrick, who quarterbacked the 2004 Harvard football team to an undefeated, Ancient Eight championship season, has blossomed under offensive coordinator Chan Gailey this season, leading the New York Jets to a 5-3 record through eight games.

Fitzpatrick, dealt from Houston to the Jets this offseason, put in a gritty performance this weekend, leading New York to a 28-23 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars despite playing with a torn ligament in his thumb. He completed 21-of-34 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns, continuing to find chemistry with wideouts Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall.

The former Ivy League MVP will likely have in-season surgery to repair his thumb, but doctors have suggested he may not have to miss any games as a result.

Jeremy Lin (PG, Charlotte Hornets - NBA)

Former Harvard men’s basketball star Jeremy Lin, one of the newest member of the Charlotte Hornets, has found stability in North Carolina after several years in limbo. He signed a two-year deal with the Hornets after playing out the final year of his contract in Los Angeles last season, where he was in and out of the starting lineup for the 25-win Lakers.

After the run in New York that brought Lin national media attention, this campaign has been his most stable to date. He is firmly entrenched as Kemba Walker’s backup at the point guard spot, and the Crimson alum is averaging 24.9 points, 8.0 assists, and 6.8 rebounds per 48 minutes in his new role. He has played a key part in Charlotte’s recent resurgence, as they’ve now won two of three after losing their first three contests.

Cameron Brate (TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - NFL)

A two-time All-Ivy League honoree during his time in Cambridge, Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate has featured more heavily on the stat sheet in his second professional season. The Naperville, I.L. native has fiv e receptions for 78 yards this season, including a diving, 17-yard grab this sunday from Jameis Winston to earn the Bucs a key first down. Despite Brate’s effort, Tampa Bay still lost, 32-18, to the New York Giants.

Alexander Killorn (C, Tampa Bay Lightning - NHL)

Former Harvard men’s ice hockey standout Alexander Killorn has carved out a nice role for himself this season with last year’s runner-up Lightning. After notching 32 goals and 47 assists over the last two seasons centering Tampa Bay’s third line, Killorn has two goals and three assists thus far this season.

Athlete of the Week: Runners-Up

Published by Jack Stockless on November 09, 2015 at 7:02PM

Freshman wide receiver Justice Shelton-Mosley earned Athlete of the Week honors by guiding Harvard football to a 24-16 win over Columbia on Saturday. The freshman wide receiver caught eight passes for 131 yards and added an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Aside from Shelton-Mosley’s impact on the gridiron, three other Crimson had crucial performances in their teams’ wins.

Jimmy Vesey, Men’s Ice Hockey

The co-captain scored twice and added an assist in Harvard’s 5-2 win over Brown at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center. This marked the 11th two-goal game in his career. In the first period, Vesey netted a shorthanded goal, and he tallied another in the second on a 3-on-2. The North Reading, Mass. native assisted Kyle Criscuolo on his third-period goal. Vesey’s three points equaled the team’s margin of victory in the win over the Bears, and his effort led the Crimson to its third win of the season. The senior forward is averaging a goal and an assist per game so far this year.

Michael Innocenzi, Men’s Soccer

The senior forward’s two goals proved to be the difference as Harvard beat Columbia, 2-0, on the road Saturday. In the 62nd minute, sophomore midfielder Sam Brown played a corner kick into the box, and Innocenzi was able to guide the ball past the keeper to give the Crimson its first goal of the contest. Later in the second half, Innocenzi doubled Harvard’s lead with another header off a pass from senior midfielder Tim Schmoll. These two goals marked the first brace of Innocenzi’s four-year career at Harvard. In 16 games played this season, the Franklin Lakes, N.J. native has four goals, including two game-winning goals.

Karly Heffernan, Women’s Ice Hockey

Over the weekend, Heffernan recorded four assists in two Crimson wins, extending the team’s current winning streak to three. In the Crimson’s 3-2 win over Yale, the sophomore forward assisted on both of freshman forward Grace Zarzecki’s goals. The next day, Heffernan picked up another pair of assists in Harvard’s defeat of Brown, 5-1. After the two weekend games, Heffernan increased her point streak to three games, and she has tallied all of her season-total five assists during that span. In six games this year, the native of Sherwood Park, Alberta has six points, including one goal.