Sophomore Gabby Thomas is looking to lead women's track and field to its fifth straight Ivy League Indoor Heptagonal Championship. (Gil Talbot)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard indoor track and field will compete in the penultimate meet of the winter season this weekend (Feb. 25-26) at the Ivy League Indoor Heptagonal Championships hosted by Columbia University at the NYC Armory. Both days of the meet can be seen live on the Ivy League Digital Network.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 1: Harvard's women's team is the top-ranked program in the Northeast region. The men's squad enters the Heptagonal Championships ranked 11th regionally.
- 2: Two Harvard records have fallen during the 2016-17 campaign – Gabby Thomas set a new school mark in the 200m dash (23.01), and Myles Marshall owns the school record in the 800m run (1:48.17)
- 5: Harvard's women are in search of their fifth-consecutive Ivy League Championship.
- 7: Judy Pendergast owns the seventh-fastest time nationally in the 5,000 meters at 15:52.64.
- 12: 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. Okwelogu enters the weekend ranked 12th nationally.
CRIMSON REWRITING RECORD BOOKS
LAST TIME OUT
Harvard competed at four different events two weekends ago. At the Tyson Invitational at the University of Arkansas, senior Jade Miller finished 33rdin 200 meters in 24.67, her fastest time in the event this season. Sophomore Gabby Thomas finished seventh in the 200-meter dash in 23.57.
Freshman Simi Fajemisin took sixth place in the women's triple jump, reaching 12.34 meters, the best finish by a freshman in the event.
At the Valentine Invitational at BU, junior Jay Hebert placed second in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.11 seconds. Sophomore Kieran Tuntivate set a new personal record in the 3000-meter run, finishing eighth in 8:09.85.
At the Husky Classic hosted by the University of Washington, in the 5,000 meter run, freshman Judy Pendergast finished second in 15:52.64, the third fastest time in the event in school history, and sixth fastest in Ivy League history
At the Millrose Games in New York, sophomore Myles Marshall placed eighth in the men's 1000 meter run in 2:29.23.
PENDERGAST HONORED BY HEPS TRACK
Freshman Judy Pendergast was honored by HepsTrack.com as women's rookie of the week after placing second in the 5,000m run at the Husky Classic in 15:52.64. Pendergast's time in the event is the best in the Ivy League by more than a minute, and the seventh fastest in the nation this season.
HARVARD WOMEN'S TEAM RANKED No. 33
The Harvard women's team remained at No. 33 in the latest 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
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 send qualified student-athletes to the IC4A/ECAC Championships on March 4 at Boston University.