The Harvard indoor track teams competed in the Harvard Invitational Saturday at the Gordon Track and Tennis Center. The meet, while not scored on a team basis, provides a good gauge of progress for both the men and the women.
The women's indoor track squad faced strong competition from perennial powerhouse Northeastern and individual runners from a variety of universities. Though few Crimson upperclassmen ran in the unscored meet, the invitational was a promising indication for the young indoor season.
"It was a good chance for us to run and get good times," senior co-captain Amanda Williams said. "It reflected really well on our strengths and depth. Everything bodes well for the season."
Several Crimson women encountered successes Saturday. Freshman Heather Hanson fared particularly well, finishing third in both the 55-meter (7.4) and 400-meter (58.8) races.
Williams took home second place in the 200 meters, and an alternate 4x400 relay team finished a strong second in the mile relay. Megan Agy came across third in the five-kilometer run, and Heather MacLennan leaped to a second-place finish in the triple jump.
Agy's performance was especially impressive. In her first appearance at the Harvard Invitational, the senior shattered her personal best in the 5K by more than 20 seconds, crossing the line in 17:50.
"I think I was much more relaxed," Agy said. "It was more of an individual meet than a team competition."
The male contingent fielded a team of mostly freshman and sophomore short-distance runners.
"Most of the longer distance runners decided not to run because it was not a scored meet," senior co-captain Matt Bundle said.
The three seniors who opted to compete all set personal bests on the day. Darin Shearer posted a time of 8:21.6 in the 3,000 meters, finishing third behind two unaffiliated runners. Ryan Trombly ran the 5,000 meters in 15:01, and John Greene set his personal best in the shot put.
Other Crimson athletes also fared well in the invitational. Junior Stephen Brannon finished second in the pole vault. The 4x400 relay team took home first place, and freshman Kenneth Hughes's mark of 15.34 in the shot put was the best in the competition.
The 4x400 relay team is especially strong for the Crimson men this year.
"They were awesome," Brannon said. "We have a couple of freshmen [Joe Ciollo and Kevin Johnson] whoare really stepping things up."
For both men and women, the meet was essentially a tune-up for the tough schedule ahead. Both face Northeastern on January 6. Last year, a stonger Husky women's team won handily over the Harvard women, while the men defeated the rival Huskies.
"Northeastern will certainly be tough, but we hope to have a good showing," said Williams.