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Like the brisk Cambridge winds, the Harvard men's and women's track teams swept through Yale saturday at Northeastern.
For the men's squad, it was a chance to redeem itself for a poor performance in horrible weather two weeks ago at Brown. There, the thinclads--suffering through snow and frigid temperatures--were outrun by Dartmouth and the host Bears. Yale 70 Harvard 93 Yale 45 Harvard 100
Saturday, the sun shone, and the Crimson ran past its arch-rival, 93-70.
"It was a superb performance from the whole team," co-captain Daniel Dusek said. "There were exceptional individual performances, but I can't emphasize enough what a great team effort it was."
Dusek himself led the way for Harvard's individual feats, opening the meet with a new Harvard record in the javelin.
Dusek tossed the javelin 65 meters even to set the mark and grab the early lead for the Crimson.
From there, though, the meet seesawed back and forth.
"The meet was really close because our areas of strength were in Yale's weaknesses," co-captain Brian Henry said. "Yale was stronger where we were weaker."
Harvard picked up many of its points in the field events.
Harvard got wins from junior Stephen McCauley in the discus and shot put. In the shot, junior Chris Niemi and senior Joseph Ghartey Placed second and third to earn Harvard a sweep of the three scoring places of the event.
The Crimson also got a dramatic victory in the pole vault. Sophomore Matthew Brannon matched his Yale competitor's vault at 16' 8" (or 5.1 meters for the metrically inclined).
With the final vault height even, judges reverted to earlier marks to declare the winner. After several excruciating minutes, Brannon was given the first-place points because he had fewer misses in the previous vault.
Yale countered Harvard's field domination with winning performances in the sprints, and the meet was still neck-and-neck.
The turning point came in the 800. The Crimson, led by Henry, captured the victory in 1:51.74, swept the event and never trailed in the meet again.
"It was a really emotional event," said Henry, who was followed in the 800 by sophomore Matt Bundle and Junior Darin Shearer. "Yale led for most of the race but we pulled through."
After that it was all but over.
Sophomore distance sensation Ian Carswell notched a win for the Crimson in the 5,000 and Harvard clinched the meet before the runners took to the track for the final relay--the 4x400--which Harvard won as well.
"We couldn't have asked for anything more," Henry said. "The seniors had been looking forward to this for weeks."
The seniors were the only ones around when the Crimson last beat the Bulldogs, who had won the last two dual meets.
Women Scorch Yale
Though it had a less dramatic victory, the women's squad had an equally impressive performance against Yale.
The Crimson dominated, more than doubling Yale's score, 100-45.
Harvard won 12 of the 17 events, sweeping the top three places four times.
"We knew that Yale was pretty weak going in," Fitzgerald said. "We knew they were a better team outdoors than indoors. But we pretty much knew that unless there was giant fiasco that we should run away with it pretty easily."
Outstanding individual performances were turned in by junior Karen Goetze, who won the 800 and the 1,500 senior Meredith Fitzgerald, who won the 3,000 and junior Heather McClellan, who won the triple jump and placed second in the long jump.
Beating Yale's big too, but when there's big trip on the line, it's a little bigger."
The Harvard Yale meet for both squads, as well as being an important dual meet and essential tune-up for the Heps, also serves as a qualifier for the biannual Harvard-Yale-Oxford-Cambridge meet to be held in England this summer.
The official squads for the meet will be announced later this season, but athletes who picked up victories in Saturday's meet in addition to many second-place finishers likely earned them selves a slot on the meet team.
"The main focus for the meet was beating Yale," Henry said, "but getting to England was a huge, huge incentive."
"The team was really fired up for the race," Fitzgerald said. "There was a lot on the line--trying to qualify for England and trying to beat Yale. That was the reason that this was such a big deal for so many people."
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