Following a solid indoor season, the Harvard track and field team kicked off its outdoor season with a spring break trip to the Lone Star State.
Hoping to carry its momentum, the Crimson competed against Rice University at the Shirley Crowe Combined Events Classic. Harvard’s performance lived up to its post-indoor expectations, as the Crimson finished the meet with event winners on both the men’s and women’s sides.
The Shirley Crowe Combined Events Classic was held at Rice University in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday and Thursday. The dual meet has been a long-standing tradition for the universities, and, due to the two schools’ prestige, has been dubbed, “The Meeting of the Minds.”
Harvard freshman Christina Twicken started her collegiate outdoor career in impressive fashion.
The sprinter from San Clemente, Calif., raced to a win in the 400-meter dash with a time of 55.47. Classmate Meisha Brooks was hot on Twicken’s tail, finishing a mere 10th of a second behind her counterpart.
“I thought Christina and Meisha ran well,” Crimson coach Jason Saretsky said. “Both freshman are having outstanding beginnings to their collegiate careers. I’m very excited for them.”
Following Twicken and Brooks were two more Harvard runners, junior Magda Robak and sophomore Carlyle Davis, giving the team a rare one-through-four finish.
The visiting team also had the top-three finishers in the 400-meter hurdles. Sophomore Melissa Bellin paced the Crimson, finishing with a time of 1:03.54, just off her personal-best time of 1:01.05.
Three of Harvard’s athletes competed in the heptathlon at Rice this week. Of the trio, junior co-captain Nicole Sliva had the best outing.
The multi-event specialist from Monte Sereno, Calif. finished third overall in the heptathlon with a score of 4,433.
On the men’s side, co-captain Brian Hill had a strong meet, as he won the 600-meter run. A pack of five followed Hill for the Crimson, earning third through seventh place. All six of Harvard’s runners finished within five seconds of each other. Hill and the other middle distance runners for the Crimson ran both the 600-meter run and the 4x400-meter relay at Rice. Though it may have been exhausting, competing in two events is something that the senior embraced.
“Most of us doubled up with the 4x400 and the 600 that day,” Hill said. “It was a good training tool that all of us could use to gauge where we are.”
Saretsky said that Hill has been a major contributor for the Crimson for four years.
“[Hill] is our senior captain,” Saretsky said. “He’s a great leader, he always goes out there and competes hard. What he does was on display this week.”
But what was perhaps most demonstrated in the Meeting of the Minds was the strength of Harvard’s throwers. Six Crimson throwers finished in the top two of their individual events.