Saturday morning served as the calm before the storm for Harvard’s track and field program. In their first meet of the season, the men’s and women’s teams kicked off their 2014-2015 indoor campaigns at the Boston University Opener. While the meet featured a limited number of Crimson athletes, it served as a good tune-up before the teams’ stretch of six January meets and the month of intense training preceding.
As a group, the two squads brought home four first place finishes—three individual and one relay.
On the women’s side, the sprinters turned in a handful of strong performances. The Crimson had three first place finishes along with eight top-five finishes. Harvard’s 4x400 meter relay team of sophomore Jade Miller and juniors Madison Hansen, Allison Morrison, and Christi Scott finished first with a time of 3 minutes, 50 seconds. Also victorious on the women’s side were senior Danielle Barbian, who took home the win in the 200-meter with a personal best time of 24:94, and junior Autumne Franklin, who captured the 60-meter hurdles with a 8:81 finish.
“I think that [the victories in the 4x400 and 200 are] really encouraging and motivating for the season ahead,” captain Erika Veidis said. “It shows that the team is in great shape and I think that’s an indicator that our team is very capable of performing the same as or exceeding our performance that we had last year.”
Sophomore Jackie Modesett and Hansen placed second and seventh, respectively, in the 60 hurdles. In the 300-meter dash, Franklin took second and Miller third, while Modesett, Scott, and captain Ashley Collinsworth finished sixth, seventh, and eighth, respectively, while running in the second heat. Barbian beat out Collinsworth by one one-hundredth of a second in the 60-meter dash as the duo placed second and third.
While the women’s team brought many of its veterans to the meet, the men’s team showed its youth by fielding a team filled with freshmen making their collegiate debuts.
“We have some outstanding freshman student-athletes that we’re extremely excited about,” Crimson coach Jason Saretsky said. “They bring a lot of accomplishments, accolades, and talent. But more importantly, I think there’s a certain swagger to the group. I think they really want to make their impact and they’re looking forward to continuing to put in the hard work.”
The rookies made an immediate impact, as the 300 dash saw Harvard claim seven of the top ten spots. With a time of 35:16, freshman Matthew Hurst edged out fellow first years Andrew Bolze, who finished second, Alexander Moore, who finished third, and Malcolm Johnson, who finished fifth. Classmates Tomoya Hasegawa and Jay Hebert finished seventh and ninth, respectively, while sophomore Alex Kirby rounded out the top 10.
In the 60 hurdles, Hebert placed second, Bolze third, and junior Mark Hill eighth. Freshman RJ Ammons and senior Ryan Meehan finished seventh and 13th, respectively, in the 3000-meter race.
“[Hurst and Bolze] have a lot of excitement coming in as freshmen,” captain Ben Glauser said. “They work very hard, they have great attitudes, and it’s exciting to see them competing against each other in practice, and that should carry through for the rest of the season.”
In the field events, the women’s team put six athletes in the top five of their respective events while the men had four top five finishers. In the long jump, Hansen placed second with a distance of 5.31 meters, a one-hundredth of a meter behind Boston University senior Tessa Runels, while Morrison and sophomore Haley Baker tied for third. In the high jump, senior Ann Giebelhaus took second at 1.67 meters after losing the tiebreaker to Dartmouth’s Kaitlin Whitehorn. Freshman Marlena Sabatino placed third in pole vault while junior Lexie Schachne tied for fourth.
On the men’s side, junior Spencer Lemons took third in the high jump while Hill finished fifth. Sophomore Andrew Roney and senior Mike Slovenski tied for fifth in pole vault to wrap up a day of strong performances for Harvard.
“I was really pleased, we had a limited squad out there,” Saretsky said. “Not all the events were represented, but those that were I thought competed really well.”
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