Winter break is not yet over and Dartmouth’s famous Winter Carnival hasn’t yet occurred, but the Harvard track and field team’s season is just getting started. On Sunday, the Crimson traveled to Hanover, New Hampshire, to compete at the Dartmouth Relays, where the women’s and men’s teams placed second and third among 14 schools, respectively.
“This meet showed us what steps we need to take in the next few months,” junior Jarvis Harris said. “We need to keep running more meets, and try to do our best to win these upcoming meets. All of our [competitions] are stepping stones for our greatest challenge at the Ivy League Championships.”
Harris placed first overall in the 60m hurdles, setting a meet record of 8.10 seconds. He also ran as part of the 4x200 relay team, which placed first at 1:29:89, along with freshmen Mekdim Ashebo and James Heckendorn, and senior Jared Kadich.
“[Our team’s overall third place finish] was a nice start to the season,” Harris said. “This was some people’s first meet competing this season; it was nice getting our feet wet going into the season. It shows us where we are now, but also where we could be in our performances.”
This weekend’s competition not only allowed the Crimson to race against Eastern powers Dartmouth, UMass Lowell, Williams and Boston College, but also allowed them to run on the track where the Ivy League championship meet will take place March 1 and 2.
The 4x400 relay team, comprised of Kadich, Heckendorn, and seniors Scott Miller and Erik Kraus, placed fourth overall.
Other highlights on the men’s side included sophomore Mark Hill’s second place long jump at 6.59m, and junior Ben Glauser’s second place performance in the shot put at 17.16m. Freshman Joshua Whitener placed second overall in the weight throw with an 18.21m toss.
“How we work, our dedication, and the effort we put in [during the rest of break] really determines how we do during our season,” Harris said. “...We will take that and incorporate it into our training, starting tomorrow in practice.”
The women’s team was led by freshmen Nikki Okwelogu, Jade Miller, Jackie Modesett, Sylvia Deppen, and Raegan Nizdil, who all placed at the meet as the Crimson took home second place behind Dartmouth.
“I think a lot of [the freshmen] realized that they are a big part of the team,” sophomore triple jumper Sophia Randolph said. “We recruited a really strong class this year and they are going to play a significant role in scoring. We are really counting on them to be an important part of the team.”
Okwelogu threw the shot put 14.08m, placing third overall, and Miller placed fourth in the 60m hurdles finals behind sophomore teammate Autumne Franklin (8.68s). In the high jump, Nizdil placed third, jumping 1.69m, followed by sophomore Allison Morrison and junior Ann Giebelhaus, who tied for fifth.
“We came in second place to Dartmouth,” Randolph said. “We didn’t have a full team and some people did events that were out of their normal range. I think our coaches could have been a bit happier, but there are things to be happy about and things to learn from.”
Junior Danielle Barbian placed second overall in the 60m dash (7.63s), and sophomore Kieran Gallagher placed second in the 800m (2:16.53). Senior Adabelle Ekechukwu tossed the weight throw 19.55m, bringing home first place in the category. Freshman Madeline Zimmerman placed fourth in the triple jump, reaching 10.44m, followed by Randolph, who placed sixth.
“The meet gave me a good idea in terms of what things I need to be working on more in practice,” Randolph said. “I think a lot of people felt the same, that it was kind of a getting-out-the-cobwebs meet, but also giving a clear image of what we have now and how much further we can go in future meets, especially for the freshmen.”
Both relay teams placed first at the races as well; the 4x200 included sophomore Christi Scott, Barbian, and juniors Ashley Collinsworth and Gabrielle Scott and the 4x400 runners were Franklin, Christi Scott, Gabrielle Scott and senior Olivia Abbate.
“We need to really get after it every day in practice and at every meet and recognize that every meet counts in terms of preparing for the championships,” Randolph said. “Working hard at this point matters down the road; we have to try to focus on the little things that can shape the big picture.”
—Staff writer Orlea L. Miller can be reached at email@example.com.