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An Ordinary Day at the Track

By Jason Gross

Nothing too exciting happened at the Harvard Invitational track and field meet Saturday at the Gordon Track Center.

Well, okay, Harvard junior Cathy Griffin did set another school and meet record in the 20-pound weight.

Well, okay, the Harvard track teams did raise more than $12,000 to help fund its proposed trips to Texas over Spring Break and England at the end of the year, and a wind tunnel for the outdoor track.

But, aside from that, it was business as usual.

Sophomore Bill Bland and freshman Esan Simon placed third in the 800-meter and 55-meter hurdles respectively. They were the only Harvard men to finish in the top three in their events.

But the story of the meet for Harvard was Griffin, who won the 20-pound weight. Her throw of 55-ft, 4.25-in. bettered her previous school record by almost two feet. At the first meet of the year, she had already added a foot to her--and Harvard's--previous best.

Griffin is the unsung hero of the team, quietly ammassing school marks not only in the weight event, but in the shot put, hammer and discus.

The ever-consistent Griffin won every event she competed in at the indoor and outdoor league championships last year, with the exception of the discus. In that event, she placed third in what Coach Frank Haggerty called "a fluke."

And she ranks in the top five in the nation in the hammer and the shot, both events too new to be found at the national championships.

But Griffin's accomplishments aren't limited to her exploits on the field. She was elected co-captain by her teammates this year, a rarity for a junior.

"Her teammates look to her for leadership," Haggerty said. "She's just a great person."

With all of this going on in her life, it is easy to understand how roommate and fellow thrower Mara Bevermate describes her.

"She loses her keys all the time," Beverwyck said, "and then she tears the room apart looking for them."

And when a 6-ft., 1-in. thrower tears a room apart, she really tears it apart.

She also isn't known for her knowledge of university brass. At Saturday's meet, she collected admission before her event. One man told her that five dollars was a lot of money for a track meet.

"Well, we have to raise money for the team," she replied.

Reluctantly, President Derek C. Bok shelled out the dough.

Teammates cite that her happy-go-lucky attitude rubs off on the whole team. Griffin is rarely down on herself, taking things in stride instead.

This is not to say that Griffin doesn't take track seriously. She has a reputation as a hard worker and natural athlete. Faced with time off in the fall before track season, she decided this year to join the volleyball team.

She credits some of her improvement in track to the added leg strength and better conditioning resulting from the volleyball season.

One day as freshman, she replaced the yellowish practice shot with a grapefruit. As her coach looked on in disbelief, she threw the shot about 80 feet. Her ruse was discovered when the shot splattered upon hitting the ground.

The way she's been going, the next shot she throws that far just might not splatter.

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