The Harvard men’s and women’s track and field teams braved a cold, rainy afternoon to turn in strong performances on Saturday in New Haven, Conn., delivering historic victories over Yale in the annual Harvard-Yale dual meet. Both the men’s and women’s squads cruised to victory, as the women posted an impressive final score of 113 to Yale’s 50, while the men thrashed the Bulldogs, 106-57.
For the Crimson women, Saturday’s win marked their third consecutive victory against rival Yale, while their male counterparts celebrated the end of an eight-year losing streak against the Bulldogs.
“We were pretty happy with how the meet turned out,” said senior distance runner Dan Chenoweth. “We hadn’t won in the past few years, so we really looking forward to going there and getting a win. And coming away with a win in that fashion was a good thing.”
Leading the Harvard women to victory were freshman sprinters Christina Twicken, Chelsea Celistan, and Meisha Brooks, who teamed up with junior jumper Olivia Weeks to kick off the day with a victory in the 4x100-meter relay in a time of 48.25—nearly a second faster than the Bulldogs’ entry.
Freshman sprinter Olivia Abbate then added to the Crimson’s points total, picking up a victory in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.44. In the women’s 100-meter dash, Celistan and junior sprinter Shannon Conway finished 1-2—within .01 seconds of each other—to increase the gap between Harvard and the host Bulldogs. Later in the day Conway would lead a Harvard sweep in the women’s 200-meter run, finishing in 25.34 ahead of teammates Brooks (25.72) and Twicken (25.86).
However, the Crimson women’s distance runners were not to be outdone by the sprinters. In the women’s 3000-meter run, senior distance runner Claire Richardson and junior distance runner Kailyn Kuzmuk broke away from the pack early in the race and never looked back. They ended up finishing 1-2, with Richardson posting a winning time of 9:55.84 and Kuzmuk finishing seconds behind in 9:57.04.
On the field, the Harvard women were similarly dominant, as they emerged victorious in every field event. Sophomore pole vault Sydnie Leroy captured the pole vault for the Crimson with a substantial 3.70-meter clearance. Weeks also emerged victorious in both the long jump (5.68 meters) and the triple jump (11.91 meters). In the high jump, sophomore Mary Hirst and senior Dina Emde finished 1-2, while freshman thrower Hannah Mayer led a 1-2-3 Harvard sweep with a mark of 43.89 meters in the javelin.
Closing out the day for the Crimson women were freshman thrower Alysha Johnson–who posted the sixth-best mark in school history in the shot put at 13.04 meters—and sophomore Shannon Watt—who gave Harvard its final victory during the last event of the meet in the women’s discus with a distance of 41.97 meters.
Like the women, the men established their dominance over Yale throughout the day with strong showings by the men’s runners, throwers and jumpers. The men captured their first win of the meet with a Harvard podium sweep in the 110-meter hurdles led by sophomore hurdler Scott Sansovich in a time of 15.56, supported by second-place freshman Timothy Moan (16.02) and third-place freshman Caleb Galoozis (16.87). Later in the day, Moan would feature in another Harvard podium sweep in the men’s 400-meter hurdles, as he finished third behind teammates junior Robert Pais (56.15) and sophomore Julian Sherwin (59.83) who took first and second, respectively.
Not to be outdone by the hurdlers, the upperclassmen middle-distance trio of co-captain Brian Hill and juniors Darcy Wilson and Brian Paison finished 1-2-3 to sweep the podium of the men’s 800-meter race.
In the men’s 5000-meter run, Chenoweth led the field from start to finish, and finished nearly 23 seconds ahead of his closest competitors. Chenoweth was one of four Crimson long-distance runners who finished atop the leaderboard in the event.
Similar to their female teammates, the Crimson men went a perfect 8-of-8 in the field, led by a dominant performance from junior thrower Nick Farnsworth, who won the men’s javelin with a distance of 64.51 meters—nearly 25 meters more than the second-place finisher.
I think it was a really important step for us to have that kind of effort as a team,” Harvard coach Jason Saresky said. “It bodes well for us now as we go into the Ivy League Championship in a few weeks and then at the national level as well.”
Next weekend, Harvard will send runners to the West Coast to the Brutus Hamilton Invitational in Berkeley, Calif., and to Princeton, N.J., to compete in the Larry Ellis Invitational.
—Staff writer Oluwatoni A. Campbell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.