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One National-Leading Record, Four School Records Set for Harvard Track and Field

Senior Alexander Kolesnikoff poses next to the scoreboard in Fla., listing his new school record and leading NCAA mark. Kolesnikoff threw a 20.05 m shot put, making him the first in Harvard history.
Senior Alexander Kolesnikoff poses next to the scoreboard in Fla., listing his new school record and leading NCAA mark. Kolesnikoff threw a 20.05 m shot put, making him the first in Harvard history. By Courtesy of Lexie Mehallis/Harvard Athletics
By Nadia A. Fairfax, Crimson Staff Writer

Amidst one of its most successful seasons in program history, Harvard track and field split between Texas, Florida, and Massachusetts last weekend for the third week of its 2022-23 outdoor season. Sophomore Izzy Goudros was the first to compete for the Crimson at the Texas Relays of the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin). Goudros represented Harvard well, setting a new school record for the women’s heptathlon with a score of 5637, putting her in seventh place at the meet and in the NCAA standings.

Over at the Florida Relays, the Crimson continued to set more records.

“[The] Florida Relays was a super exciting environment,” junior sprinter Lance Ward said. “There were lots of Olympic-level athletes there, including Rai Benjamin, Noah Lyles, and Erriyon Knighton, some big names on the American side.”

“We were right there next to them and everybody kind of brought their A game,” Ward continued. “We’re just continuing to improve and Florida Relays was an awesome place to do that.”

Senior Stephanie Ratcliffe threw 70.15 m to win the women’s hammer throw and break her previous school record by nearly three meters. Her mark in Fla. puts her first in the national league at two meters further than any other collegiate athlete has thrown this season. Her teammate, sophomore Anastasia Retsa, also improved on her school record, jumping 4.18 m to take second place at the relays. Senior Sarah Omoregie also made it on the podium, throwing a personal best in the women’s shot put with a mark of 17.21 m to take third place at the meet and put her sixth place in the national league.

Sophomore Kenneth Ikeji threw a 72.48 m hammer throw, giving him the silver medal and replacing his previous school record. Senior Alexander Kolesnikoff also had a record-breaking throw on Saturday, throwing 20.05 m in the men’s shot put to win the event and become the first Harvard athlete to throw over 20 meters. He now leads the nation with this mark.

Senior Aaron Shirley who had previously set the school record for the men’s 400 m hurdles last week took first place in the event with a time of 50.75 seconds. Senior Samuel Bennett also won his race in the men’s 110 m hurdles, running a time of 13.79 seconds in the preliminaries to break the school record and 13.56 seconds in the final to win the race.

Shirley was also a part of the Harvard record-breaking men’s 4x400 m team, along with juniors Gregory Lapit, Peter Diebold, and Ward. The team of four ran a time of 3:07.79 seconds, taking second place and shaving almost a second off the previous record.

“The 4x400 [relay] is always that event at the end of the meet where everyone's a little bit tired, but everyone comes together and gives it their all,” Ward reflected about the event. “Everyone is watching and cheering and everybody loves the [race] due to the nature of how difficult it can be.”

“I was particularly fatigued coming into the race, but I looked at the other guys around me and I knew that we were all gonna do everything in our power to run the best race that we could and we were doing it for each other — that’s what we did. It turned out pretty great,” Ward reflected.

Sophomore Victoria Bossong ran a time of 2:07.11 seconds in the women’s 800 m run which puts her fourth in program history.

Over at Dartmouth, Harvard had three athletes earn the gold medal.

Sophomore Jeremiah Swett threw 43.74 m to win the men’s discus throw in a competition of 20 athletes. In the same event for the women, first-year Michaela Denson also won with a throw of 43.30 m. Senior Kyle Murphy also won his event, jumping 13.34 m in the men’s triple jump to earn himself first place.

This weekend, Harvard will host Yale, Oxford, and Cambridge for the historic HYOC meet this Saturday, April 8 on McCurdy Outdoor Track where Harvard and Yale will team up against Cambridge and Oxford.

“I think we’re all coming into this weekend pretty excited,” said Ward about the Crimson’s upcoming home meet. “We actually happen to be teaming up with Yale this weekend which usually doesn’t happen.”

“It’s kind of a little Atlantic rivalry there — we’re all kind of excited about that. It’s a historic tradition that goes back quite a ways. It occurs every two years. We’re all looking forward to that, it’s pretty historic.”

— Staff writer Nadia A. Fairfax can be reached at nadia.fairfax@thecrimson.com.

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