CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Harvard track and field will open the outdoor season at two events this weekend, starting with the Cougar Spring Break Invitational hosted by the University of Houston (March 16) followed by the Texas Southern Relays on March 17-18.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 1: Harvard's women's team finished the indoor season as the top-ranked program in the Northeast region.
- 3: Three Harvard student-athletes earned All-America recognition during the indoor season - Gabby Thomas (200m, 1st Team), Zoe Hughes (pentathlon, 2nd Team) and Nikki Okwelogu (shot put, 2nd Team).
- 3: Senior captain Efe Uwaifo captured his third straight Ivy Indoor Heps title in the triple jump, sealing the win on his final jump of the day (15.82m).
- 4: By nature of having a nationally-ranked top-16 mark – Zoe Hughes (pentathlon), Nikki Okwelogu (shotput), Judy Pendergast (5000m), and Gabby Thomas (200m) will compete at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. The four qualifiers are the most that Harvard had at NCAA Indoors.
- 5: Harvard's women's team won its fifth-consecutive Ivy League Indoor Championship and seventh in program history.
- 6: Six Harvard records fell during the 2016-17 indoor campaign – sophomore Gabby Thomas new school marks in the 60m (7.29s) and 200m (22.88) at Indoor Heps, freshman Simi Fajemisin broke school records in the long jump (6.09m) and triple jump (12.96m) at Indoor Heps, and Myles Marshall owns the school record in the 800m run (1:48.17). The men's 4x400 meter relay team of James Heckendorn, Myles Marshall, Matt Hurst, and Alexander Moore set a new school record at the IC4A Championships, placing first in the preliminary round with a time of 3:10.84.
- 10: Judy Pendergast owned the 10th-fastest time nationally in the 5,000 meters at 15:52.64.
- 16: Nikki Okwelogu's toss in the shot put at the H-Y-P meet traveled 55-3 (16.84 meters), and the mark is the best in the Ivy League by nearly six feet.
- 32: Freshman Anthony DeNitto captured the Ivy Indoor Heps title with a monster third jump of the competition, shattering his own personal mark (7.00m) with a 7:37m jump. DeNitto's jump was the best by a Harvard long jumper in 32 years, and gave Harvard its first individual Heps title in the event since James Johnson in 1982.
HUGHES, THOMAS, SARETSKY, TOLBERT EARN USTFCCCA NORTHEAST REGION AWARDS
The United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced on March 6that Harvard women's track and field earned all four USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Northeast Region Awards. Jason Saretsky, the William W. "Bill" McCurdy Director of Track and Field/Cross Country, was named Women's Coach of the Year, Kebba Tolbert earned Women's Assistant Coach of the Year, sophomore sprinter Gabby Thomas was named Women's Track Athlete of the Year, and freshman pentathlete Zoe Hughes earned Women's Field Athlete of the Year honors.
Related Story: Hughes, Thomas, Saretsky, Tolbert Honored With USTFCCCA Northeast Region Awards
SARETSKY NAMED IVY COACH OF THE YEAR, 15 HONORED BY LEAGUE
After claiming a historic fifth straight Ivy League Heptagonal Championship, Jason Saretsky, the William W. 'Bill' McCurdy Director of Track and Field/Cross Country, was named Ivy League Coach of the Year on the women's side. This marks the third straight year that Saretsky has netted coach of the year honors from the Ivy League.
In addition, Harvard track and field had 15 selections to All-Ivy League teams, with several student-athletes earning multiple all-conference honors. All-Ivy selections are based on results from Indoor Heps, with all first-place finishers (including ties and relays) earning first-team All-Ivy, and all second-place finishers (including ties and relays) earning second-team All-Ivy.
Harvard recorded top two finishes in 14 different events.
Related Story: Saretsky Named Women's Coach of the Year: Harvard Earns 15 All-Ivy Selections
HARVARD WOMEN'S TEAM RANKED No. 37
The Harvard women's team is ranked No. 37 in the final USTFCCCA Indoor Track and Field rankings, the lone Ivy squad in the top-50.
ABOUT HARVARD TRACK AND FIELD
Harvard is led by outdoor All-American and First Team All-Ivy sophomore Gabby Thomas in the 60 meter, and outdoor All-American senior Jade Miller in the 60 meter hurdles and 400m. On the men's side, All-Ivy selections Jonas Aranda (4x800m), Myles Marshall (4x800m), and Gabe Montague (4x800m) are back in action, while team co-captain Andrew Roney will compete in the pole vault, an event he finished fourth in at the Ivy League Outdoor Championships. The men's team was ranked 9th in the USTFCCCA Northeast Regional Rankings, the third highest among Ivy institutions.
A YEAR AGO
During the 2016 outdoor season, Harvard women's track and field picked up four All-America selections from freshman Gabby Thomas, senior Autumne Franklin, senior Paige Kouba and junior Nikki Okwelogu. The Crimson took 17th as a team overall, its highest placement since 2001, and had four first team All-Americans for the first time.
Thomas ran a blistering time of 22.47 seconds in the 200 meters, taking third overall to claim first team All-America honors. The freshman broke her own Ivy League and Harvard records with the run, which was wind-legal at plus-1.9 meters per second. Franklin broke her own Harvard and Ivy League records in the 400 meter hurdles, placing fourth overall after stopping the clock at 54.91 seconds. The time gave Franklin All-America honors for the third time in her career, and the highest Harvard finish in the hurdles since Brenda Taylor '01 won the NCAA title in 2001.
Kouba collected first team All-America honors after a seventh-place finish in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, crossing the stripe in 9:54.43. The Eugene, Oregon native is the first Harvard woman to place at an NCAA Championships meet in the steeplechase, and the All-America honor is the first of her career.
Okwelogu tallied the 10th-farthest toss in the discus at 176-10 (53.90m) to collect second team All-America status. The junior, who also earned first team All-America accolades in the shot put and the two All-America honors mark the first time Okwelogu placed in the top-16 in two outdoor events.
The Harvard women's team captured the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships for the third straight year. The women tallied 160 points in the competition to take top honors, while the men's squad placed sixth with 46 points.
Senior Autumne Franklin was named the meets Most Outstanding Track Performer after posting victories in the 100 hurdles, 400 hurdles and 4x100 relay. Nikki Okwelogu was crowned the Most Outstanding Field Performer after her victories in the discus and shot put.
The Harvard men were led by a first-place charge in the 4x800 relay. Sophomore Gabe Montague (1:54.17), senior Malik Epps (1:52.45), junior Thomas Negron (1:51.62) and freshman Myles Marshall (1:49.79) combined for a time of 7:28.04, holding off Princeton and Cornell for the win. Marshall also took second in the 800 meters in 1:49.16, scoring eight points towards the team score.
Junior Efe Uwaifo finished second in the triple jump with a mark of 51-9.75 (15.79m), taking a momentary lead with his final jump before getting passed on the meet's last attempt, while juniors Brett Henderson and Richard Bradley landed on the podium in the javelin. Henderson took fourth with a toss of 208-10 (63.66m) while Bradley took fifth with a mark of 193-6 (58.98m). Henderson's mark was good for the fifth-best in school history.
RECAPPING CROSS COUNTRY
At the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships on Oct. 29, sophomore Kieran Tuntivate's 18th place finish (24:16.8) was the top performance for the Harvard men as the team took eighth overall. Tuntivate represented the team at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships on Nov. 11 at Van Cortlandt Park in New York, placing 23rd overall with a 31:16.40 finish on the 10k course. Tuntivate's finish was the highest by a Harvard sophomore at that event since 2008, and he earned USTFCCCA All-Region honors by finishing in the top-25.
It was a historic season for women's cross country, which earned its first team bid to the NCAA National Championships since 2012, placing 26th overall. Junior Courtney Smith earned USTFCCCA All-America recognition (20:21.1) by finishing 35th overall. Harvard qualified for NCAAs by virtue of its second place finish at the NCAA Regional Championships on Nov. 11 at Van Cortlandt Park in New York. The second place showing was the highest finish at that event in program history, as junior Courtney Smith finished second overall in 20:13.90, leading a group of five Harvard runners who each finished in the top 26 of the race. Smith, freshman Judy Pendergast (6th, 20:38.00), sophomore Erin Dietz (17th, 20:57.00) and junior Elianna Shwayder (20th, 21:08.30) each earned USTFCCCA All-Region honors.
History was made at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships on Oct. 29, Courtney Smith won the individual title in 20:19.6 to lead the Crimson to its first Heps title since 1985 and seventh overall in program history. Smith's finish, the first individual title for Harvard since Suzanne Jones in 1989, was part of an outstanding team performance for the Crimson. Harvard's top five finishers placed in the top 12 of the race, as the Crimson totaled 33 points, ahead of Yale (69 points), and Penn (77 points) on the podium.
Use the Social Stream on GoCrimson.com to stay connected with the Crimson on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube this year. The Social Stream brings the conversation from all four platforms into one convenient location, allowing fans of all Harvard Athletics teams to monitor the action in real time.
Follow @HarvardTrack_XC on Twitter for updates during the competition.
AYE AYE, CAPTAIN
Seniors Julian Nunally, Andrew Roney, and Efe Uwaifo were elected captains for the 2016-17 season on the men's side, while the women's squad will be led by seniors Madeleine Ankhelyi and Raegan Nizdil. Roney is in his second year as captain while the remaining selections are in their first season as captains of the Harvard track and field team.
AT THE HELM
Jason Saretsky is in his 11th season as the William W. "Bill" McCurdy Director of Track and Field Cross Country, and during his tenure the Crimson women have tallied three indoor Ivy League Championships. Saretsky's tenure has seen 29 All-America performances, 40 NCAA qualifiers and 99 Heptagonal champions during the indoor season.
Harvard will compete at the UMass-Lowell Invite and the Hurricane Twilight Invitational on March 25.