With the seasons winding down for most of the spring sports, let’s take a look at some former athletes—some Harvard alumni—that have left their mark on the university recently.
Olympic Excellence: Angela Ruggiero ’02-04
A little over two months ago, Ruggiero—perhaps one of the most accomplished US women’s ice hockey stars in recent memory—came to speak at the Harvard Innovation Lab as a part of the tech company MC10’s sports advisory board.
The four-time US Olympian focused on key issues concerning the intersection of technology and sports, notably commenting, “At some point in time, your natural abilities aren’t going to be enough. I think at that point in time...you actually decide as an athlete that you want to get even better.”
A baseball player injured in last year’s bombings who returned to raise money for the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Fund. A men’s lightweight crew coach who ran all 26.2 miles while undergoing chemotherapy. An 18-year-old sailor who was the youngest runner in the field. An assistant hockey coach who was given a bib to raise money for Parkinson’s disease. An assistant baseball coach who finished with a qualifying time and made his team’s Beanpot game against UMass immediately after. This handful of Harvard athletes and coaches all had one thing in common: they left their primary sports on Monday to participate in the 2014 Boston Marathon.
While admitted students were exploring the campus for Visitas, this past weekend also served as a fall preview for the Harvard football team. On Saturday night, the Crimson took the field at Harvard Stadium in organized fashion for the first time since November to play its annual Spring Game.
Harvard women’s golf has quietly been one of the best teams out of all the 42 Crimson varsity teams. On the six occasions the team has played this season on the East Coast, each time it has come out victorious. Its West Coast performances against some of the best competition in the nation has also seen some extremely respectable finishes–placing sixth in Colorado and eighth in Mississippi. The consistently high quality of the squad’s performances is even more remarkable given the typically high variance nature of the sport of golf–Tiger didn’t even make the cut at the Masters!
For these reasons, Harvard will stride into the Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, NJ as favorites to three-peat as Ivy Champions.
The Crimson may have won both of the last two Ivy crowns, but it has always been close. Over three rounds of play and four golfers per round (12 rounds in total going into the final score), Harvard was victorious by merely six strokes in 2012 and only one single stroke in 2013.
Princeton pushed Harvard to the limit last year and will return last season’s individual Ivy champ and honorable mention All-American Kelly Shon. Shon will be looking to close out her senior season with another individual title as she attempts to lead the team to victory.
The other main pretender to the Crimson’s throne is Yale who finished third last season, but have added a star recruit to its mix. Freshman Elisabeth Bernabe had already competed in the 2012 Women’s open before coming to college and shot a ludicrously low 10 under par 62 at El Prado Golf Club this season. This team is on the rise and will certainly be a serious threat to win it all. There certainly exists animosity between the two teams: freshman Julia Yao's bio is a little bit hostile, as she cites her reason for choosing Yale as “because it’s not Harvard”. Watch out for that one.
The Crimson is hardly short of weapons of its own though. Bonnie Hu has long been the backbone of the team, serving her second year as team captain, and the senior will be looking to graduate on a high note. Junior Tiffany Lim holds the record for team low round this season with a 66 and has never been part of a team that didn’t win Ivies.
Sophomore Christine Lin came in as a revelation last season, winning The Crimson’s Female Individual Achievement of the Year for losing against Shon in the championship playoff last season. She will be hoping to repeat that performance this time around.
Remarkably though, for all the upperclassman talent on the team, freshman Anne Cheng leads the Crimson in scoring this season with an average of 74.94. It speaks to the depth of talent on Harvard’s team right now that the other roster members junior Brenna Nelsen, a Crimson sports editor, freshman Nina Fairbairn and sophomore Courtney Hooten have all had top-five finishes this season. In a sport where everyone’s performance matters, it is Harvard’s depth which ultimately singles them out as favorites.
It all comes down to this weekend. One team will leave as champions, and whoever that may be, the only reasonable bet is that it will be close.
Nearly a month after ending his career at Harvard in an 80-71 third-round NCAA Tournament loss to Michigan State, co-captain Brandyn Curry has signed with an agent to pursue a professional basketball career.
Curry announced last week that he is signing with Scorers 1st, a sports management company that will work as Curry’s agent.
“We could not be more excited to have the chance to work for and with Brandyn as he makes the transition from college to playing professionally at the next level,” said Scorers 1st CEO Gerrit Kersten-Thiele, an NBA-certified agent.
At Harvard, Curry was part of the first Ivy League outright champions in school history, leading the squad to March Madness in 2012. That year, as a junior, Curry was selected as a candidate for the 2012 Bob Cousy Award, which honors the best point guard in the country, and earned second-team All-Ivy honors.
Curry, who ranks fifth all-time on the school’s assist list with 489 in his career, will join a Sports 1st client list that includes Patrick Ewing Jr. and Ali Farokhmanesh.