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This past weekend, the Harvard track and field team competed at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships on the Crimson’s very own Gordon Indoor Track. With an energetic home crowd behind them, the team had a slew of strong performances. The men’s side took home third in the final team totals, while the women finished second after standout races from their hurdles, jumps, and short sprints athletes.
TUNTIVATE WINS 3K — with one shoe— & 5K
Senior distance runner Kieran Tuntivate had a dominant performance this past weekend, finishing atop the 3K leaderboard despite losing his shoe on the first lap of the race.
“When the shoe came off, I was really flustered for a lap or two,” Tuntivate said. “I knew I wouldn’t run well if I let it get to my head. I took a few deep breaths and just settled in and tried to keep with the pace.”
The Wilmington, Del., native sat in third heading into the final stretch, but outpaced his competitors and accelerated in the final lap to win the contest.
In the 5K, Tuntivate was again challenged by Columbia senior Brian Zabilski who finished second in the 3K. Through maintaining a consistent pace, Tuntivate did not stay out in front for most of the race, and instead used the other people in front of him to maintain a consistent time with each lap.
“The mentality going into the 3k was trying to separate 1800 in and try to stay comfortable,” said Tuntivate. “For the 5k, it was about getting an early rhythm and staying with the pace.”
Tuntivate’s race plan— predicated on consistency and rhythm— ultimately helped the senior distance runner conclude his indoor track career with two exhilarating victories in the biggest meet of the season.
HARVARD DOMINATES WOMEN’S 60M DASH
The brooms were out for the women’s 60 meter dash as Harvard had the top-four fastest times. The Crimson gained 28 of their points from this one event.
Although senior sprinter Ngozi Musa finished slower than freshman standout Kelisa Cain in the prelims, Musa rebounded and won the finals with a time of 7.42 seconds. Following the Seattle, Wash., native in the race were Olivia Okoli, Cain, and DaLoria Boone, respectively. This marked the first time at the Heps that the top-four spots were claimed by one school.
“I think it was about concentrating on my lane and my race and how I was going to execute,” Musa said. “I was talking to my coach beforehand about executing a great race and getting it done.”
CRIMSON SWEEPS MIDDLE DISTANCE MEN’S EVENTS
The 400, 500, and 800 meter events were all won by Harvard athletes this past weekend. Sophomore sprinters Jovahn Williamson and Rodney May-Agyare took home the title in the 400 and 500 meter race, while senior sprinter Myles Marshall defended his back-to-back heps title in the 800 meter race.
Williamson ran a blazing 47.53 in the 400m final, outlasting Penn’s Anthony Okolo by over a second. He finished over half a second faster compared to his result in his heat race.
May-Agyare had a more difficult time winning his 500m title as he just edged out Brown’s Calvin Perkins by .02 seconds. Going neck-to-neck across the finish line, May-Agyare had to dive across the line at the end to ensure victory for the Crimson.
Marshall cruised his way to an 800 meter title, with dominant races in both the prelims and the finals. With a time of 1:50 in the prelims, he outran the rest of the competition by three seconds. His 1:49 in the final outpaced Dartmouth’s Tim Zeph by over a second.
STRONG SHOWING IN HURDLES AND FIELD EVENTS
Junior triple jumper Simi Fajemisin had a strong showing in the triple jump, winning with a mark of 13.27m (43-6.50). She beat her previous record by six inches, and the second place finisher by almost a foot (9.75 inches). Famejisin was named the the Female Most Outstanding Field Performer.
On the men’s side, freshman jumper Kyle Murphy had two top-four finishes, securing a second-place spot in the long jump (7.48m) and a fourth-place finish in the triple jump (15.43m). Junior Donagh Mahon got first-place in the high jump (2.12m), beating Princeton’s Jeff Hollis. Senior Ian West just edged out Cornell freshman Johannes Stromhaug in the pole vault (5.05m) to earn fourth place.
The women’s hurdlers, junior Livia Gauntlett and freshman Jada Jones had personal-best races, obtaining a second and third place finish respectively. Gauntlett’s time of 8.42 seconds improved her own record by .02 seconds and moved her into third all-time in the Harvard record books, while Jones sits at fifth.
— Staff writer Mahtab Shihab can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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