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Track and Field Splits Up for Relays, Invitational, Setting Personal Bests

Passing the Baton
The track and field team's promising showing against talented competition bodes well for the rest of its season.
After a spring break that consisted of training and competing in Houston, Harvard outdoor track and field continued to leave a dent in the school record books this past weekend, splitting up to compete against some of the best athletes in the country at the Texas Relays, Raleigh Relays, and UMass Lowell Invitational. There were a slew of personal and season bests from the Crimson athletes, boding well for their development in upcoming meets on the way to Ivy Heps.

Texas Relays

Coming down to Texas for a second consecutive weekends, both the Harvard men’s and women’s relay teams had stellar performances, exceeding expectations for the Crimson.

The men’s team consisted of the same group that brought home the Ivy Heps title in the 4x400 during the indoor season. The relay consisting of sophomore sprinters Rodney Agyare-May, Jovahn Williamson, and Kahlil Wassell along with senior middle distance runner Myles Marshall qualified for the finals and ran the second-fastest time in Harvard history with its mark of 3:10.05.

On the women’s side, the 4x400 team showed their versatility as athletes by compromising a group that consisted of both sprinters and hurdlers. Sophomore sprinter Olivia Okoli ran with freshman hurdler Sharelle Samuel and junior hurdlers Karina Joiner and Maya Miklos to qualify for the finals with a time of 3:43.31. Miklos ran one of the fastest splits with a 53.64 400.

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Freshman thrower Sam Welsh also had a great performance in Austin competing against some of the best in the nation at the discus. The Lunenburg, Mass. native just came off a great performance at the Victor Lopez Invitational the previous week where he won the discus with a mark of 56.57m.

“It was amazing to throw against the best in the country as a freshman," Welsh said. “The competition gave me experience throwing at a national caliber meet, which will help me for the rest of the season. I look forward to facing them again in future competitions and next time, I’ll be ready to give them a good fight.”

Facing such stellar competition puts Harvard in a position where it can feel confident against the rest of its Ancient Eight competitors. This experience helps to prepare the team for both Ivy Heps and NCAAs later on.

“The competition at the Texas relays was on par with NCAAs, which will take place in June at the same venue,” Welsh said. “Being able to compete at a big meet like the Texas relays early in the season is great because it helps us to gain experience competing against athletes we will face again at nationals and Ivy Heps.”

Raleigh Relays

The distance team headed to North Carolina where the reigning Indoor Ivy heps 3000m and 5000m champion junior distance runner Kieran Tuntivate continued to excel. Tuntivate placed sixth in the 10000m with a mark of 28:45.61, a time that broke the program record and surpassed the 28:55.64 mark of Paul Gomper ’87.

Personal and season records were also set on the women’s distance team in the Raleigh Relays. Senior distance runner Kathryn Gillespie placed 15th in the 1500m with a time of 4:23.24, while sophomore distance runner Anna Juul placed 19th in the same event, earning a new personal best of 4:24.27.

UMass Lowell Invitational

The team’s jumpers and underclassmen sprinters were able to showcase their abilities in Lowell, Mass. In both the 100m and 200m, freshmen sprinters Tina Martin and Katina Martin were able to place first and second in their events. Sophomore jumper Iza Sabharwal had a second place finish in the long jump (5.29m) and a first place finish in the triple jump (10.71m).

On the men’s side, senior pole vaulter Ian West built off his fourth place finish at Indoor Ivy Heps and placed second with a mark of 4.60m. Freshmen sprinter Max Serrano-Wu finished third in the 400m with a time of 51.23, an impressive mark he hopes to build upon.

“My coach and I had talked about my race plan during the week,” Serrano-Wu said. “For the 400m, I would go out hard for the first 150m, stay relaxed and smooth for the next 100m, then give it my all for the last 150m. While I'm definitely happy about my 3rd place finish, I am disappointed with my overall time in the 400m, as I was hoping to closer to 50 seconds flat. I didn't run my race plan entirely correct, but for the first meet of the season I'm happy to have competed and get some races under my belt going into our next meet in a couple of weeks.”

Competing all across the country, the Crimson used its performances this past weekend to gain the edge it needs going into the rest of its season.

“We're using all these different meets as opportunities to prepare for the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships in Princeton in May, where we hope to improve on our 2nd place finish [for the women] and 3rd place finish [for the men] from the indoor championships,” Serrano-Wu said. “There were many PR's set this weekend, so we'll reflect on our performance and use it as a boost for the next coming meets.”

— Staff writer Mahtab Shihab can be reached at mahtab.shihab@thecrimson.com.

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