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The Harvard women's track team captured its first Heptagonals title, outlasting Ivy-rival Brown, 131-114, in Philadelphia last weekend. The victory gave the Crimson a sweep of both the indoors and outdoors Heps championships.
"It was nice to finally put them [Brown] in their place," said senior Co-Captain Beth Pfefferle, who placed fourth in the 800-meter run.
Not only did the Harvard women clinch the Ivies for the second time this season, but this weekend also marked the end of the Rainey era for the Crimson.
Olympic hopeful Meredith Rainey, running an unbelievable six events at the request of Harvard Coach Frank Haggerty, contributed all that she possibly could to lead Harvard to the victory.
"Meredith was incredible," distance runner Suzanne Jones said. "She was on the line every 20 minutes, and I think that it was her perseverence that kept everyone else going."
Running the 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relays and four open events, Rainey was the deciding factor between a first- and second- place finish for the Crimson. Rainey won both the 400-and 800-meter runs, while placing second in the 200-meter dash and third in the 100-meter dash.
Rainey ran an excellent race in the 400-meterdash, blowing away Brown's Terry Smith in a timeof 51.3. The senior then came back to crush ahighly competitive field in the 800-meter run.
But many coaches questioned Haggerty's decisionto have Rainey compete in six events, forcing thesenior to run 10 races in the two days. Thecontroversy exploded at the end of thecompetition, when the two time NCAA championanchored the 4x400 relay after the Crimson hadalready clinched the title.
"It's obscene," said Fred Thompson, Rainey'spersonal trainer and coach of the 1988 U.S.women's Olympic team. "I can't think of any coachwho would do anything like this. It's physicalabuse."
"The coach should not have allowed this tohappen if he is an educator and a decent person,"Thompson added. "It's great to win Heps for thefirst time, but the price being paid by MeredithRainey is important. No one can know yet what thatprice is."
But Rainey was not the only runner racking uppoints for the Crimson.
Harvard's victory over the Bruins in the4x100-meter relay, which was the first runningevent of the finals, set the tone for the entiremeet.
Field events expert Cathy Griffin performed upto par, winning the shot put and discus andplacing third in the hammer throw, while juniorSuzanne Jones captured a victory in the 5000-meterrun and came back to finish third in the3000-meter run. Injured hurdler SenzeniSteingruber placed fourth in the 400-meterhurdles.
Harvard's freshmen also had a strong showing.Stacey Caldwell won the javelin with apersonal-best toss, while Rachel Lewis placedthird in the 10-K run behind two All-Americanrunners.
"It is really incredible for freshmen to do sowell in a meet like this," Jones said.
THE NOTEBOOK: Jones (5000-meter run) andRainey (400-meter dash and 800-meter run) bothqualified for the NCAA Championships June 1-2 inDurham, N.C
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