TRACK: Personal Bests Pace Improving Crimson Squad

Michael E. Danto

Senior Claire Richardson impressed during the spring track season, winning the women’s 3000-meter title at the outdoor Heps. The men’s squad placed fourth, its best finish in five years, as junior pole vaulter Nico Weiler and rookie thrower Dustin Brode earned All-Ivy first-team honors.

The Harvard men’s and women’s track and field teams remained a consistent force within the Ivy League in the 2010-2011 season, one in which many strong individual and team bests were set.

“Overall, both seasons went pretty well for both our men’s and women’s teams,” Crimson coach Jason Saretsky said. “We gained some real improvement and established some real consistency in how we matched up in the Ivy League, and we also had some great individual performances throughout the season as well.”

During the indoor track season, the men’s squad finished 45th in a field of 51 teams at the IC4A meet and placed fourth at the Heptagonal Championships. The team took second in the HYP meet and third at the Battle of Beantown. The men’s squad was led at the IC4As by the performances of senior Brian Hill, who finished ninth in the 800-meter race, sophomore Fedor Garin who finished ninth in the men’s pole vault, and the relay team of freshman Erik Kraus, junior Darcy Wilson (an inactive Crimson business editor), sophomore Weishen Mead, and junior Brian Paison that finished sixth in the men’s 4x800-meter relay race.

The women’s squad earned several solid finishes throughout the season, highlighted by the Crimson’s successful defense of last year’s Battle of Beantown title. The women took fifth at Heptagonal Championships and earned a sixth-place finish at the ECAC Championship Meet, posting the highest team score for the women’s squad in school history.

Strong individual performances at these two championship meets included senior Hilary May placing second in the women’s 1000-meter run and senior Claire Richardson placing second in the women’s 3000-meter run.


“I think our season overall went pretty well,” Richardson said. “Our biggest accomplishment this season was coming together as a team, supporting each other and bonding across events groups, and using that to help support and motivate each other.”

The Crimson carried this individual momentum into the spring for the start of the outdoor track and field season. Outdoor competition began with the dispersal of both Harvard squads across the country on one weekend at three different meets. But despite the division of the team, the Crimson shined at Colonial Relays and Sam Howell Invitational and Snowflake Classic, with a number of athletes securing IC4A and ECAC-qualifying marks in the process.

Two weeks later at the annual Harvard-Yale meet in New Haven, Harvard faced off against the Bulldogs. Despite the fierce winds, torrential rains, and frigid conditions, both Crimson squads captured historic victories over the Yale by taking 28 of 38 events for the day.

For the Harvard women’s team, this victory marked a third consecutive win over Yale, while the men’s squad celebrated the end of an eight-year losing streak against the Bulldogs.

At the outdoor Heptagonal Championships, the Crimson returned to New Haven looking to rekindle some of the magic of the Harvard-Yale meet. Although the Crimson men posted their best result in nearly eight years by finishing in fourth place in the overall standings, the Harvard women finished in a distant seventh place. On the men’s side, junior Nico Weiler took home first place in the pole vault, and freshman Dustin Brode earned a win in the shot put, both securing nods to the All-Ivy first team in the process. Senior Dan Chenoweth earned a second-team All-Ivy nod with a second-place finish in the 10,000-meter race.

“I don’t think [our record this year] reflected how much work everyone put into training during the outdoor season,” Richardson said. “But it is still a step towards where we want to be.”

Despite the women’s less than stellar overall performance at Heps, its day was punctuated by strong individual efforts by Richardson, who claimed the women’s 3,000-meter title with a time of 9:49.36, and a fourth-place finish by the 4x100-meter quartet of freshmen Christina Twicken, Meisha Brooks, Chelsea Celistan, and sophomore Olivia Weeks that posted its season-best time of 47.93. Freshman Hannah Mayer earned first place in the javelin, securing a first-team All-Ivy nod.

At the outdoor ECAC/IC4A Championships, the Crimson was led by Brode, who finished second in the shot put with distance of a distance of 17.03.

Looking back at the track season overall, Saretsky was quick to point out that the team’s successes would not have been possible without the leadership of his graduating seniors.

“The biggest thing that we had this year was the great leadership this year from our senior class,” Saretsky said. “All the seniors that we will be graduating are irreplaceable in what they bring in terms of their athletic ability but [also] in their leadership, personalities and charisma.

“We do have a great rising senior class and some incoming freshman that should continue the tradition and legacy that this year’s seniors created for us.”

—Staff writer Oluwatoni A. Campbell can be reached at


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