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Track and Field Hosts Multi-Meet, Beantown Challenge This Weekend

Track and Field Hosts Multi-Meet, Beantown Challenge This Weekend

The Harvard women's track and field team will be seeking its sixth straight win at the Beantown Challenge this weekend (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard indoor track and field kicks off 2017 by hosting the Harvard Multi-Meet and the Beantown Challenge this weekend (Jan. 13-14) at Gordon Track. The Harvard Multi-Meet will feature the women's pentathlon and the men's heptathlon, with both events beginning on Friday (Jan. 13). The women's pentathlon will start at 11 a.m., while the men's heptathlon will begin at 2:00 p.m. and continue on Saturday (Jan. 14) with a 9:30 a.m. start.

The Beantown Challenge will begin on Saturday with field events beginning at 10:00 a.m. (track events to start at noon) and will include student-athletes from Boston College, Brown, Harvard, UMass-Amherst, UMass-Lowell, Rutgers, and Rhode Island. The Harvard women are in search of their sixth straight title at the event.

IVY LEAGUE DIGITAL NETWORK
Competition on Saturday will be streamed live on the Ivy League Digital Nework with coverage beginning at 10:00 a.m. 

LIVE VIDEO LINK

LAST TIME OUT
The Harvard men's and women's track and field teams opened the 2016-17 indoor season at Boston University in a non-scoring event on Dec. 3.

Sophomore Gabby Thomas set a new school record in the 300m dash with a time of 38.03, finishing second overall while on the men's side in the 300m, Harvard placed two among the top 10 finishers, including James Heckendorn, who set a new school record in 34.48. Harvard women's sprinters had a standout day overall with Thomas (7.52) and Ngozi Musa (7.61) winning heats in the 60m, and Thomas taking the top spot in the final (7.55). The Harvard men placed the top 4 finishers in the 1000m run, with Myles Marshall leading the way in 2:24.96, the fifth fastest time in Harvard history in the event. In the high jump, on the women's side Reagan Nizdil placed second with a jump of 1.70 meters. On the men's side, Donagh Mahon cleared 1.95m, finishing third to top all Harvard finishers. Senior captain Andrew Roney cleared 4.80m in the pole vault, good for third.

Full Release: Track and Field Opens Indoor Season With Several Record Performances at BU

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
Harvard's women's team finished the indoor season as the top-ranked program in the Northeast region, while the men's team wound up ninth. The Crimson landed a pair of student-athletes with first team All-America honors during the indoor campaign: sophomore Courtney Smith and junior Nikki Okwelogu, who both had standout preformances at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Okwelogu and Smith took third and eighth in the shot put and 5,000 meters, respectively, to earn first team All-America honors. The duo joined an elite group of All-Americans, with Okwelogu writing her name on the list for the second time.

Okwelogu earned the bronze with a career-best throw of 57-11.25 (17.66 meters), crushing her own Harvard and Ivy League records in the process by 17.25 inches. Smith ran to an eighth-place result in the 5,000 meters to garner a first team All-America nod with a time of 16:04.86. The sophomore persevered late in the race, moving up three spots over the final 2,000 meters.

Last year, several Crimson standouts kicked off their collegiate careers with unprecedented performances. Gabby Thomas tallied 10 individual victories through eight meets in the indoor season, three times in the 60 meters, five times in the 200 meters and twice in the long jump to lead the freshman class. She owns the school and Ivy records in the 60 and 200 meters. Fellow sprinter Ngozi Musa also placed in the school's top-10 list in the 60 meters (second, 7.40 seconds).

On the men's side, Myles Marshall broke indoor school records in the 800 meters at the Rod McCravy Memorial, running 1:49.35, and the 500 meters at the IC4A Championships with a time of 1:01.63. Classmate Ian West claimed top honors in the pole vault (15-9, 4.80 meters) at the Beantown Challenge, while Kieran Tuntivate owned the Crimson's best indoor mark last season in the 1,000 meters (2:28.14).

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.

SOCIAL STREAM
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.

WHAT'S NEXT
Harvard will compete next weekend at the Rod McCravy Memorial hosted by the University of Kentucky as well as the Joe Donohue Invite in Boston.

PRINCIPLED LEADERSHIP, ACADEMIC INTEGRATION AND COMPETITIVE EXCELLENCE