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The Harvard track and field team returned to action this weekend, competing in a pair of invitationals on Saturday.
The Crimson sent its throwing corps down south to compete in the Ole Miss Invitational, while the runners stayed in New England to participate in the George Davis Invitational at UMass Lowell.
“That’s the nature of track and field,” Harvard coach Jason Saretsky said. “You’ve got different parts moving in different directions. We pick out different opportunities for our student-athletes to do what they need to do.”
The Crimson’s runners and throwers turned in a number of strong performances, with several event-winning finishes and a few IC4A-qualifying marks.
OLE MISS INVITATIONAL
Harvard’s men’s and women’s throwing squads saw action this weekend in Oxford, Miss. Saretsky was pleased with the performance of his athletes.
“They did a great job,” Saretsky said. “This was a good opportunity to go out of region for warmer weather and some really high-level competition that we don’t usually see. Once again, we had big marks from our throwers. They’ve been the backbone of our team.”
Sophomore Eric Brucker finished third in the shot put with a IC4A-qualifying hurl of 15.86 meters. Freshman Dustin Brode matched his teammate in the event, throwing an identical mark.
But Brucker’s day was not finished when he punched his ticket to the national championship meet in one event.
The sophomore earned fifth place in the discus, with a qualifying throw of 48.27 meters.
What was perhaps the best showing of the weekend for the Crimson came from senior Eric Clayman in the hammer throw.
The senior’s mark of 58.95 meters earned him second in the event, and the attention of his coach.
“[Clayman’s performance] was big,” Saretsky said. “That’s got to be top 25 in the East region.”
Another standout performance came from junior thrower Nick Farnsworth.
Farnsworth’s throw of 63.04 meters gave him a victory in the javelin by almost four meters. His mark on Saturday was 1.5 meters short of his personal record, which stands as the fifth-best javelin throw in school history.
“Nick is two-for-two in the javelin this season,” Saretsky said. “He’s done a great job coming back from an injury.”
Harvard also had an event-winning javelin thrower on the women’s side.
Freshman Hannah Meyer was awarded first place with a toss of 45.10 meters.
Sophomore Shannon Watt had an equally impressive showing at the Ole Miss meet. After taking 10th place in the shot put, Watt finished sixth in the discus, throwing an ECAC-qualifying distance of 44.41 meters.
GEORGE DAVIS INVITATIONAL
While the Crimson’s throwing squad was flexing its muscle at Ole Miss, Harvard’s runners were delivering a solid performance of their own at the George Davis Invitational in Lowell, Mass.
A trio of freshman distance runners was impressive for the Crimson on Saturday.
Kurt Ruegg took third place in the 3000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9:30.18. Classmate Paul Koullick finished the two-mile run in 9:12.66, good for fourth place at the meet. Another freshman, Peter Dolan, finished 11th in a highly contested 800-meter run.
“We’ve got some great young talent that’s developing,” Saretsky said. “This weekend provided them with an opportunity to really see where they’re at and see what they need to work on. It’ll give them some momentum going into the final stretch of the season when it’ll really count.”
The young distance runners were able to shine at the meet in the absence of some of their older teammates. Saretsky held many of the Harvard standouts, including senior Dan Chenoweth and captain Brian Hill, out of competition this weekend so they could train and prepare for next weekend’s invitational at Yale.
“[The team’s older runners] are getting ready for Harvard-Yale next week,” Dolan said. “So it was a good opportunity for us to go out and put down some good marks.”
On the women’s side, a pair of freshman sprinters found success at the George Davis meet. Chelsea Celistan ran a 12.56 in the 100-meter dash, which earned her second place. Classmate Christina Twicken finished third in the 200, crossing the line in 25.25 seconds.
Winning performances came from the Crimson’s 4x100 meter relay team, who finished with a time of 48.90 seconds. Freshman Adrienn LaChance was victorious in the pole vault, with an impressive clearance of 3.50 meters.
Harvard will be back in action next weekend on April 16 in New Haven for the Harvard-Yale Invitational.
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