2011 was a big year in Harvard athletics. Women’s soccer captured its third Ivy League championship in four years. The men’s basketball team took home a share of the Ancient Eight title and entered the nation’s Top 25, both firsts in program history. Football set a modern-era program record for points in a season, scoring 374 points en route to a 9-1 finish and a league crown. Four other teams—men’s fencing, men’s heavyweight and lightweight crew, and softball—also finished 2011 on top of the Ivy League standings.
There were a number of standout individual performances as well. Women’s fencer Alexandra Kiefer captured the NCAA Foil Individual title. Men’s basketball forward Keith Wright became just the second player in Harvard history to take home Ivy League Player of the Year honors. Women’s soccer and lacrosse captain Melanie Baskind was named to the First Team All-Ivy in two different sports and was selected as the Ivy League Player of the Year in soccer.
We at The Back Page have taken on the tall task of determining the best Harvard athlete of 2011. Here’s how it will go down: we’ve selected 16 standout Harvard athletes—eight male and eight female—and set up two single elimination brackets. Each round, Harvard’s finest will square off in head-to-head matchups. And based on their performances in 2011, we will determine who advances and who is eliminated until just one male and one female remain. Then, the two champs will square off to determine the top Harvard athlete of 2011.
After examining the matchup between Keith Wright and Matt Jones yesterday, we now turn to a faceoff between football’s Collier Winters and lacrosse’s Dean Gibbons. Check back next week to see the winners of the first-round matchups.
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.
With classes over and Reading Period just starting, it’s the perfect time to go to a home game this weekend. And plenty of Harvard teams are in action today and tomorrow for Crimson fans to watch.
Both the baseball and softball teams also have matchups this weekend. The men have a doubleheader against Dartmouth tomorrow at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. and the women also have a doubleheader versus Dartmouth the same day at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The men’s team is looking to pull itself slowly out of a 9-32 hole, while the women’s squad looks to improve on its 30-14 record.
Finally, the men’s lacrosse team has a game today at 1 p.m. against Yale at Harvard Stadium. The men are currently 8-5, but the Crimson can improve on that record if recent history is an indication. Harvard has beaten Yale in five of the last seven meetings, but Yale came away with a slight 9-8 victory last season.
As the school year comes to a close, Ivy League sports are wrapping up as well. But for Harvard, the spring doesn’t look quite as cheery. Baseball’s out of the league title hunt, while both the men’s and women’s golf teams failed to win it all. Meanwhile, our counterpart in New Haven is doing quite well, capturing two Ivy titles this weekend. And if all goes well next weekend, Yale has a chance to be crowned the top dog in Ancient Eight baseball as well. We’ll tell you just what you need to know in this week’s version of Around the Water Cooler.
The Harvard baseball team will have to wait until at least 2012 to claim an Ivy League title.
Spring, at long last, has arrived. Yes, the ground looks like the head of a man in desperate need of some Rogaine, but it’s a start. Likewise, in the world of Ivy League sports, we’ve finally closed the book on the winter season, as Yale unexpectedly fell in the second round of men’s hockey’s version of the Big Dance, and spring sports are now in full gear. We’ll explain it all in another edition of Around the Water Cooler.
After one of the greatest seasons in school history, the Yale men’s hockey team couldn’t find a way to keep up with the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) on Saturday night. The top seed coming into the NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship, the Bulldogs narrowly escaped Air Force on Friday, winning 2-1 in overtime.
But the following night, Yale didn’t get quite as lucky.