Harvard will compete at the Columbia Challenge on Friday and Saturday, and host the H-Y-P Meet on Sunday. (Gil Talbot)
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard will compete in two meets this weekend, sending a contingent of athletes to the Columbia Challenge held at the New York City Armory on Friday and Saturday, before hosting the annual Harvard-Yale-Princeton Meet at Gordon Indoor Track on Sunday.
One of the top indoor meets of the season, the Columbia Challenge will feature 15 of the top track programs in the nation, including several squads ranked in the top-25. Since 1953, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton have competed in the H-Y-P Meet, with each team rotating as the host institution. The women's competition has been held every year since 1978.
Last Time Out
On Friday afternoon at the Joe Donohue Games, junior Myles Marshall set a new personal record in the 400-meter dash, placing first in 48.13, the second-fastest indoor 400-meter time in school history, leading track and field at the Joe Donohue Games hosted by Northeastern at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center on Friday afternoon. Senior Matt Hurst had an impressive day for the Crimson, winning the 200-meter dash in 22.56 and placing second in the 60-meter dash final in 7.02. In the 60-meter hurdles, senior captain Jay Hebert picked up his second win of the season, winning the final in 8.06. In field events, junior Andrew Bolze won the long jump in 22'11.75". On the women's side, junior Nicole Trenchard won the pole vault, clearing 11'5.75" on her first attempt, with senior Marlena Sabatino finishing third, clearing the same height on her third attempt.
In The Rankings
Both the men's and women's programs are ranked in the top 10 of the latest USTFCCCA Northeast Regional Rankings, released on Jan. 22. The women's team is 14th in the latest rankings, while the men's team is ninth.
A Year Ago
Harvard women's track and field won its fifth-consecutive Ivy League Indoor Heptagonal Championship and seventh in program history. Harvard sent four competitors to NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships - Zoe Hughes (pentathlon), Nikki Okwelogu (shotput), Judy Pendergast (5000m), and Gabby Thomas(200m). Thomas earned First Team All-America honors, and became the first Ivy League sprinter to reach an NCAA final, while Hughes and Okwelogu earned Second Team All-America distinction. Thomas set new school marks in the 60m (7.29s) and 200m (22.88) at Indoor Heps, and Simi Fajemisin broke school records in the long jump (6.09m) and triple jump (12.96m) at Indoor Heps.
Eight members of the women's team earned All-Ivy recognition. On the men's side, three members of the team captured individual Heps crowns – Efe Uwaifo (triple jump), Anthony DeNitto (long jump), and Myles Marshall (800m). 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, while Marshall lowered his own school record in the 800m run (1:48.17).
At the Helm:
Jason Saretsky begins his 12th season at the helm of men's and women's track and field and cross country programs at Harvard in 2017-18. Saretsky's position, The William W. "Bill" McCurdy Director of Track and Field/Cross Country, became the 17th endowed coaching position at Harvard in the spring of 2013. Saretsky is just the 10th person to serve as head coach of the track and field program since Harvard began formal competition in 1874.
During Saretsky's tenure with the Crimson, Harvard has had 37 All-America performances, including eight in the 2016-17 season alone. The 2017 Ivy League Women's Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year, Saretsky has also mentored 48 NCAA qualifiers, 136 NCAA regional qualifiers, coached to nine individual ECAC/IC4A titles with 112 Heptagonal champions, and countless school records have fallen with more than 250 marks added to the program's top-10 list. For the first time in program history and the second time in Ivy League history, the Harvard women's team completed the triple crown in 2016-17 - winning cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field Ivy League Heptagonal championships.
Harvard will host the Crimson Elite Meet at Gordon Indoor Track on Friday and will send student-athletes to the Scarlet and White Meet at Boston University.