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Continuing their rigorous travel schedule, the Harvard men’s and women’s track and field teams divided and conquered yet again, with members traveling throughout the nation.
While a few members stayed close to home and traveled to Princeton, N.J., to partake in the Sam Howell Invite, others traveled south to compete against the best in the nation at the Florida Relays.
Competing in a field packed with potential All-Americans, national championship contenders, and former Olympians, the Crimson athletes proved they could race with the best while obtaining solid results.
Captain Jarvis Harris rewrote the program record book in the 110 meter hurdles, clocking in with a time of 14.05, besting the previous top mark by just under .1 seconds and taking home a top-25 finish. Harris also took home a 53.69 finish in the 400-meter hurdles.
Though the performance earned Harris a record, the senior believes there is room for improvement since he clocked in at 13.80 last year at the LSU Gold Alumni meet in the same event. The time was not considered official due to the wind speed being over two miles.
“[The mark] definitely shows I’m moving in the right direction,” Harris said. “I’m looking forward to the next few weeks, getting back to that mark and even exceeding that previous mark…as we move toward the Ivy League championships and beyond.”
Rookie Malcolm Johnson opened up his first outdoor campaign by becoming just the second Ancient Eight runner to clock in under 11 seconds in the 100 meter dash this year, finishing with a mark of 10.92.
Harris, Johnson, freshman Matthew Hurst and classmate Alexander Moore teamed up to compete in the 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 relays as well, finishing with times of 41.84 and 1:26.28.
The distance runners left their mark as well, as senior Molly Renfer, junior Paige Kouba and sophomore Sarah Gillespie all finished in the top-10 in the women’s 1500 meter run, placing fifth, sixth and 10th with times of 4:22.48, 4:25.66 and 4:26.49, respectively.
On the male side of the event, seniors Connor Reck and Nephat Maratim obtained personal records with finishes of 3:49.39 and 3:52.91. The teammates finished in ninth and 18th place, respectively.
The results weren’t limited to the track, as the field athletes also helped strengthen Harvard’s performance.
Senior Hannah Meyer threw a 48.52-meter mark in the javelin, good enough for sixth overall, while sophomore Raegan Nizdil finished in a five-way tie for ninth in the high jump with a 1.68-meter leap.
With such steep competition, head coach Jason Saretsky believes the meet provided a pivotal opportunity for the program to maintain focus while also gaining valuable experience.
“It’s big to get that exposure, it’s big to get out of our comfort zone,” Saretsky said. “We can get a little bit used to being here in the northeast and seeing the same competition, so it’s always good to mix things up.”
SAM HOWELL INVITE
Competing at the home of Ivy League rival Princeton, the Crimson notched various top-10 finishes and personal records at the Sam Howell Invite. The meet allowed several of the younger athletes to obtain their own experience leading up to the championship portion of the season.
“For some of those younger kids, it’s great for them to continue to develop and get some good race experience and continue to build so they can help contribute to the team.” Saretsky said.
The distance runners continued their impressive weekend, as freshman Gabe Montague claimed fifth in the 800-meter run and 10th in the 1,500-meter race.
On the women’s side, rookie Sarah Angell placed fourth in the 800-meter race, while classmate Elianna Shwayder finished in seventh in the 5,000-meter competition with a time of 17:10.11. Junior Emma Payne finished with a personal-best and 11th-place 17:37.42 mark in the same race.
The field component saw various personal marks fall, highlighted by sophomore Joshua Whitener’s 59.71 mark in the hammer throw. The throw was good for second place and was over six feet farther than Whitener’s previous best.
The record breaking continued, as sophomore Julian Nunally finished sixth in the shot put with a mark of 15.98 meters.
Rookie Matt Miller claimed fourth in the pole vault with a height of 4.70 meters, a personal record. On the women’s side, classmate Marlena Sabatino and junior Lexie Schachne each finished in the top five with a mark of 3.50 meters. The mark tied Schachne’s personal record.
In the sprint events, junior Mark Hill took home a personal record and fourth-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles at 15.21 seconds, while sophomore David Fan placed 10th in the 100-meter dash.
The team now turns its attention to its only home meet of the season, as Harvard will welcome Yale to the McCurdy Outdoor Track on Saturday.
The meet promises to be an exciting one, with athletes from both schools competing for the opportunity to qualify and represent a joint Harvard-Yale squad at the biannual meet against Oxford-Cambridge that will be hosted across the pond this summer.
“Both Harvard and Yale are definitely looking forward to bringing the heat for this meet,” Harris said. “Not only do we like competitions amongst ourselves, but we definitely want to extend that competition into this summer.”
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