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Continuing its season-long dominance, the Harvard women’s track and field team finished third at this weekend’s Heptagonal Championships (HEPS), led by strong performances in the field events.
Meanwhile, the Crimson men’s team finished seventh, despite outstanding showings from senior Chris Lambert in the 100-meter dash (first place) and freshman Sam Laine in the triple jump (second place).
The women placed in the top four in every field event they entered and had three first-place finishers in the meet.
This was the last team competition for both squads. Some athletes, however, will compete in the New England Championships and at NCAA Outdoor Regionals in the upcoming weeks.
Junior BreeAnna Gibson and senior Helena Ronner led the way for the Crimson, each posting a first- and a second-place finish.
Gibson won the shot put (14.18 meters) and finished second in the discus (43.46 meters). She also placed fifth in the hammer throw (49.18 meters).
Gibson’s mark in the discus was a season best, and her distances in the shot put and hammer throw were both personal bests. Her shot put results also met the qualifying distance for regional competition.
“During the shot put, the whole team was around me cheering and yelling,” Gibson said. “It was an amazing experience and probably the highlight of my track career.”
Ronner captured the triple jump title (12.29 meters) and finished second in the long jump (6.03 meters).
Junior Johanna Doyle dominated the hammer throw, winning with a distance of 57.22 meters. Doyle threw over three meters farther than the second-place finisher.
After breaking her own school record in the javelin last weekend, junior Alexandra Petrone placed third in the event yesterday with a throw of 40.41 meters.
Petrone (javelin), Doyle (hammer throw) and Gibson (shot put) have now qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Regionals, which will be held at George Mason University at the end of May.
Rounding out the field events for the Harvard women was junior Andrea Li, who placed fourth in the pole vault (3.36 meters).
As a result of its dominance in the field events, the Crimson found itself in first place after the opening day of competition.
“That first strong day really helped us,” co-captain Ashley Furst said. “We were really motivated and people really stepped up.”
Furst finished fifth in the 400-meter dash and anchored the 4x400-meter relay team in its fourth-place performance. Furst brought the Crimson from sixth to fourth during her anchor leg of the relay.
“I had a lot of momentum coming around the corner and the last straightaway,” Furst said. “It was an exciting finish.”
Harvard also got a fourth-place finish from freshman Laura Maludzinski in the 1,500-meter run and a fifth-place showing from her classmate Adanna Scott, who turned in a personal best in the 400-meter hurdles.
Freshman Anne Hillier placed third in the 400 in 56.21 seconds after being relegated to the seventh lane due to her relatively slow qualifying time.
“I really had to get out of the blocks fast because I was running blindly until about the 200-meter mark,” Hillier said.
The 4x800-meter relay team of Maludzinski, senior Megan Moran-Gates, junior Bev Whelan and senior Sam Piper also raced to a third-place finish in 8:54.72.
“This was a really sentimental meet for most of us, especially the seniors,” co-captain Alaina Aguanno said. “Everyone really put it out there, and we ended up in a position we are proud of.”
Lambert’s blazing first-place finish in the 100-meter (10.30 seconds) was the Harvard men’s only win. His qualifying time of 10.29 seconds would have tied a HEPS record had it not been wind-aided.
It was Lambert’s second consecutive 100-meter win at HEPS.
In a disappointing turn of events, Lambert was disqualified from the 200-meter dash final due to a false start.
He had the two fastest qualifying times of all the competitors.
Laine impressed in the triple jump with a second-place finish (15.06 meters). He was narrowly defeated by Brown’s Sean Thomas, who jumped 15.08 meters.
Senior Nathan Shenk-Boright took third place in the 5,000-meters in 14:23.41 and fourth place in the 10,000-meters in 30:27.02.
Harvard had two fifth-place runs on the day—by co-captain John Traugott in the 1,500 (3:48.96) and the 4x100-meter relay team of seniors Eric LaHaie, John Meeker, Robert Burns and Lambert.
“Obviously we were pretty disappointed with the overall outcome,” Traugott said. “But, on the positive side, there were a lot of freshman and sophomores that did well. They now have the experience of competing in a meet like [HEPS], which is good for the future.”
—Staff writer Samita A. Mannapperuma can be reached at email@example.com.
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