Illness, Injuries Lead to Poor Performance

Crimson fails to earn any automatic berths at NCAA Championships

Injuries and sickness plagued Harvard’s track athletes this past weekend at the IC4A and ECAC Championships, as the Crimson failed to secure any automatic bids to the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships next weekend.

The meet was the final chance for many athletes, like sophomore high jumper Becky Christensen, to guarantee a spot at Nationals.

“It’s probably not high enough to go to Nationals,” Christensen said of her 1.78-meter jump, which earned her third place at the meet.

Christensen qualified provisionally for NCAAs earlier in the season, but since the field is deep this year, it is not clear whether or not she will make the cut.

Injuries, sickness, and fatigue from last week’s Heptagonals hurt the Crimson women. Senior co-captain Julia Pederson was forced to pull out of the pentathlon due to a leg injury, and long jumper Brittan Smith, who placed 13th, did not reach her previously-achieved lengths.

“No one performed as well as they did last week at Heptagonals,” Christensen said.

The men’s team was also affected by the strains of a long season. Junior Christopher Green was battling a cold as he ran the anchor leg for the distance medley relay along with sophomore Nils Wernerfelt and freshmen Vito Cannavo and Chas Gillespie. The relay did not make it to the finals.

“It was tough personally for me because I’ve been a little under the weather,” Green said. “But [our relay team] wound up at least being in position with a few laps left to go.”

Senior Peter Mullen and freshman Ben Gutierrez were also forced to pull out of the 5000-meter run because of sickness and injuries.

“In indoors and cross country, when the weather’s bad, you almost expect to get a cold,” co-captain Sean Barrett said. “It can really take a lot out of you because if you’re just a little bit off, it can mean a lot.”

“They’ve been kind of banged up recently,” Barrett added, referring to Mullen and Gutierrez.

Barrett performed exceptionally, taking eighth in the 5000 and knocking 11 seconds off of his fastest time.

“Running a time like that, you kind of want to break some mental barriers,” Barrett said. “I’d go out and race tomorrow after a race like that.”

Junior Alex Lewis also competed in the meet, taking 13th in the heptathlon. For the women, junior Danielle Mirabal finished 14th in the pentathlon.

Juniors Sally Stanton and Clara Blattler placed 10th and 12th in the pole vault.

The meet was a chance for the athletes to compete against a large variety of teams.

“It’s a high level of competition with a lot of great teams,” Green said. “It’s a great atmosphere and a pretty quick track.”

The Harvard track and field team will be back in action over spring break when the Crimson travels to Houston for the Texas Southern Relays.

“We have three weeks off before our next meet,” Barrett said. “I would hope that we can all get healthy and better.”