CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard indoor track and field is back in action at two events this weekend, the Columbia East-West Challenge held at The Armory in New York on Jan. 27-28 and the Harvard-Yale-Princeton Meet hosted by Yale on Jan. 29. Harvard will compete against several Ivy institutions (Columbia, Cornell, Penn) and top non-conference squads (No. 1 Oregon, Connecticut, UCLA) at the Columbia East-West Challenge.
Last year at the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet, held at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island, NY, the Crimson men's and women's track and field teams each captured second place. Gabby Thomas had a standout day, opening the meet with a victory in the 60 meters with a time of 7.51 seconds to edge classmate Ngozi Musa's 7.56-second dash. Thomas later triumphed in the triple jump (39-7.25, 12.07 meters). On the men's side, Jay Hebert won the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.16 seconds.
LAST TIME OUT
Last weekend, Harvard competed at the Rod McCravy Memorial Meet, hosted by the University of Kentucky, and the Joe Donahue Games at Northeastern. At the Rod McCravy Meet, Harvard had several impressive performances on the track. Senior Jade Miller shattered her own school record in the 600-yard run, taking third place overall in 1:20.53. Sophomore sprinter Gabby Thomas finished third overall in the 200 meter dash, recording the second fastest indoor time in Harvard history (23.63).
On the men's side, sophomore Myles Marshall finished third in the 800-meter run, breaking his own school record by clocking in with a 1:48.17 finish. In distance events, freshman Judy Pendergast made her indoor debut in the 3000-meter run, finishing fifth in 9:25.16, the sixth fastest time in school history in the event. Freshman Zoe Hughes had an excellent showing in the pentathlon, placing fourth overall with 3,759 points, including top-three finishes in the long jump (2nd, 5.51m), high jump (3rd, 1.67m), and 60-meter hurdles (3rd, 8.86 seconds). The score was the fourth-highest women's pentathlon mark in school history.
In field events, senior Nikki Okwelogu took sixth in the shotput with a throw of 15.93m, while on the men's side Efe Uwaifo finished fourth in the triple jump, as his 15.43m effort was the fifth best indoor jump in Harvard history.
At the Joe Donahue Games, Harvard recorded five event wins, including three by the Crimson men's team in field events. Sophomore Ian West cleared 5.06m in the pole vault for his second consecutive win, setting a new personal record and recording the third best mark in school history. Freshman Donagh Mahon won the men's high jump, clearing 2.03m, the 9th best jump in school history, which also matched the meet record. Freshman Anthony DeNitto won the long jump, clearing 6.98m on his third jump of the day.
MARSHALL EARNS HEPS TRACK WEEKLY AWARD
Sophomore Myles Marshall was named HepsTrack.com Men's Athlete of the Week after shattering a school record in the 800-meter run, finishing third place in 1:48.17. Marshall's time is third all-time Heps indoor list behind only former collegiate record-holder Trinity Gray of Brown and former NCAA champion Sam Burley of Penn.
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.
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 host the Crimson Elite meet at Gordon Indoor Track on Friday, Feb. 3, featuring several top non-conference squads. The Crimson will also compete at the Scarlet and White Invitational, hosted by Boston University on Feb. 4.