Sophomore Karina Joiner has been busy during the offseason. Almost exactly one year ago at the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet, the then-freshman logged the best 60-meter hurdle time of her career by crossing the finish line in 8.64 seconds. The effort merited a first place finish.
At Saturday’s Beantown Challenge, Joiner again donned the gold medal in the race, but this time she also knocked .18 seconds off of her career best. The sophomore now holds the fifth fastest time in Ivy League history and third best in program history.
The rest of the squad had a field day at the team’s first indoor track meet of the season held at the Crimson’s Gordon Indoor Track. Harvard brought home 12 gold medals overall. The women’s team rounded out the evening in second place with 98 points, while the men finished third with 98.
Two-time first team All-American and junior co-captain Gabby Thomas made her presence known immediately in the competition. The phenom won both the 60-meter dash and the long jump. Leaning past the finish line 7.44 seconds after the gun in the 60-meter, Thomas finished just ahead of freshman teammate Olivia Okoli, the second place finisher with a time of 7.59 seconds.
Okoli wasn’t the only freshman to earn a medal. Freshman Lizzie Gummer and sophomores Maya Miklos, Micah Meekins and Joiner combined to dominate the 4x440-yard relay. The quartet finished in 3:54.70, over three seconds faster than the next closest competitors.
In the same race, the Crimson men matched the feat with a time off 3:17.28. Freshmen Rodney Agyare-May and Jovahn Williamson teamed up with junior co-captain Myles Marshall and senior Matt Hurst to claim the gold.
“I think the freshmen bring a lot of talent to the team and hopefully we will be contributors at Heps,” said freshman Abbe Goldstein, the top finisher for the women’s team in the cross country Heps. “I'm feeling optimistic about the season.”
Though the Crimson didn’t field any long distance runners Saturday, it didn’t need to. The team dominated the sprints.
In addition to Joiner’s performance in the 60-meter hurdles, Harvard swept the event. Co-captain Jay Hebert claimed gold on the men’s side in 8.05 seconds, supplementing Joiner’s performance for the women. The sophomore girl was also tailed closely by classmate Livia Gauntlett who finished second.
Prior to their gold 4x440-meter relay, both Miklos and Meekins earned their own, individual first place medals. In her first individual collegiate career win, Meekins sprinted past the 40 other competitors and to the top of the 200-meter dash podium. Milklos performed similarly, winning the 500-meter run in 1:15.47.
Two meets in, Miklos has dominated the mid-distance races, earning a total of four golds. In addition to her two first place performances this weekend—the 4x440 and 500-meter—she conquered the 600-meter and the 4x400-meter (along with Joiner, Meekins, and freshman Claire Hotchkin).
Miklos isn’t the only one on the Crimson’s roster showing up in the mid-distance runs. The men’s team placed five runners in the top seven spots of the 500-meter run at the Beantown Challenge. Marshall set the pace, finishing in 1:02.53, just ahead of Agyare-May and Hurst who finished second and third, respectively.
The men’s team dominated the 4x880-meter relay as well. The group of junior Gabe Montague, junior Nick Linder, freshman Ryan Thrush and sophomore Michael Kolor ascended to the top of the platform after a 7:49.16 race. Sophomore Ian West rounded out teams with gold in pole vault, leaping 4.95 meters.
Prior to the beginning of the Beantown Challenge, sophomore Anthony DeNitto grabbed first place in the Heptathlon at the Harvard Multi Meet. The medal was his first gold in the event.
The Beantown Challenge, the team’s first indoor track meet of the season, marks the beginning of a quest back to Indoor Ivy League Heps. For the women, it’s about continuing a legacy of Ancient Eight dominance that has produced five-year streak of Indoor Heps team championships. For the men, it’s about improving on last year’s sixth place performance.
“I feel really good about the men's team potential this season,” Marshall said. “We have a stellar freshman class that has already proved themselves at the BU opener, and they, combined with our high performing sophomore class, ought to lift the program to new heights.”
—Staff writer Cade Palmer can be reached at email@example.com.
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