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The Harvard track teams did not allow the poor weather conditions Saturday dampen their competitive spirit against Northeastern in their opening outdoor meet.
The women's squad defeated the Huskies soundly. And, although the Harvard men did not fare quite as well, it was a close battle throughout the meet, with Harvard succumbing in the end.
"We tend to go back and forth with Northeastern, as far as the men are concerned," Harvard Coach Frank Haggerty said. "We beat them during the indoor season and last year they beat us outdoors, so it is always a good, competitive meet for the men."
However, that was not the case on the women's side.
Northeastern did not possess the depth needed to challenge the Crimson. In the first running event of the day, the 400-meter relay, Harvard was forced to run by itself because Northeastern did not have a team--a foreshadowing of the absolute domination that would take place.
Although all of the Crimson ran well, considering the conditions, the most impressive race was run by Senzeni Steingruber in the 400-meter hurdles. Steingruber took an early lead in the race, pulling all of the staggers in the first curve and increasing her lead as the race progressed. The most difficult part of the race is to finish strong, but Steingruber fought through to finish first.
And, as always, Co-Captain Meredith Rainey ran a very relaxed 400-meter dash and coasted her way to a 58.00 and yet another first place finish.
"The primary objective today was to win," Rainey said. "We wanted to have a strong opening meet outdoors and as the score clearly reflects, we did."
"I was somewhat disappointed," Haggerty said. "When there is no competition and the weather is bad, it is hard to run. This meet really doesn't tell us where we are, but I still think the girls ran well."
Unfortunately, mishaps of execution cost the Harvard men's team the meet. One big mistake occured in the 400-meter relay. Derrick Horner got the Crimson off to a great start in the first leg, but from that point on, bad handoffs handicapped Harvard until it ran out of the final exchange zone and was disqualified from the race.
Another loss of points occured in the 100-meter dash, where Horner was disqualified on a false start. It probably cost the Crimson a first-place finish, since the winning time was much slower than Horner's personal record.
One race in which the Crimson made no mistakes was the 800-meter run, which Harvard swept, taking first through fourth place. All of the runners went out fast in the beginning of the race, with a N.U. runner taking the lead. But Harvard stayed right with the Huskies runner, forcing him to maintain a fast pace throughout the first half of the race.
Finally, at the 200-meter mark, the Crimson runners made their move to sweep the event in a strong finish.
The Crimson closed out the running events with one of the most exciting races of the day, the 4x400-meter relay. Ian Steaman and Eric Rahe both ran excellent legs to lead the Crimson to a victory. Rahe, the anchor leg, was forced to come from behind to steal first place.
"The men had a few bad breaks today," Haggerty said, "but at least it tells us where we are, more so than the women. I was very pleased with Eric Rahe's performance, and John Mee had a good day, as well, taking first in the 200-meter dash."
"The true test for both the men and women," Haggerty added, "will come next weekend against Dartmouth and Brown."
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