Despite the defeat at home, there were bright spots that should encourage the Crimson going forward. The men’s team continued to have strong performances in the sprints while the women’s team excelled in the hurdles and jumps.
The men’s team was led by its captain Myles Marshall and sophomore Jovahn Williamson. Marshall started his season with a victory in the 600 meter (1:18.51), an indicator that he has not missed a step after a 2018 outdoor season where he earned the first team All-Ivy distinction in three different events. Williamson meanwhile claimed his second straight victory in the 300 meter and is proving to be one of the best sprinters in the Ancient Eight, having already broken his own school record in the 300 (33.75). Both Marshall and Williamson led a winning 4x400-yard relay (3:15.38) winning the event by over three seconds.
The men also had exceptional performances in field events by both veterans and underclassmen. Junior Donagh Mahon moved into second all-time in the high jump with a mark of 2.18 meters (7-1.75). The Irish native is looking to secure the record by the end of the season having already set a personal best in his first meet. Freshmen Kyle Murphy and Sam Welsh also had standout marks in the long jump (23-10) and shot put (53-.25), respectively. These star-studded underclassmen, despite winning their events, have still not hit their personal bests and still have room for improvement.
The women’s team was highlighted by a pair of sweeps in the 60-meter dash and the 60-meter hurdles. Juniors Livia Gauntlett (8.50) and Karina Joiner (8.58) earned first and third, respectively, in the hurdle event while freshman sensation Jada Jones (8.52) tabbed second. Harvard’s dominance in the hurdles will be essential towards its success against the rest of the Ivy League. Another highlight against the Quakers was the Crimson’s assertive performances in the short sprints. Sophomore Olivia Okoli along with freshmen Kelisa Cain and DaLoria Boone swept the 60 meter going 7.57, 7.58, and 7.62, respectively.
Like the men’s team, the women’s team’s prospects look bright thanks to their star underclassmen. Junior Maya Miklos earned her second win of the season with a personal best of 1:31.99 in the 600 meter. If the underclassmen can continue to grow and develop, Harvard will be a force to reckon with in the Ancient Eight.
Even though the Crimson had notable performances across the board, their loss ultimately came about due to a few critical events. On the men’s side Penn had the advantage in both the 1000-meter and 3000-meter events sweeping the distance competitions. The women’s team also lost the battle to the Quakers in the mile and the 300-meter. The improvement of Harvard’s distance runners will be critical to the Ivy League championship goals of both the men’s and women’s teams.
The Crimson will have the chance to prove their championship capabilities again in 2019 when they compete at the Harvard Multi Meet and the Beantown Challenge on January 11th and 12th.