Track teams hand Harvard two losses

Harvard went home disappointed by the double defeat doled out by the men’s and women’s track teams Saturday afternoon. The men won by a decisive margin, 114-45, while the women took a closer victory, 88-75.

The meet held at McCurdy Track is the only dual Harvard and Yale meet of the season and serves as a qualifier for the annual Harvard-Yale-Oxford-Cambridge Meet, to be held this year in England. For some of those who placed first on Yale’s teams, the Elis’ wins mean they will be going to England to compete this summer.

And for the seniors on the men’s team, the meet marks their fourth consecutive victory over Harvard in the yearly grudge match. The men’s sound victory seemed assured from the start because as early as the first event, Harvard’s smaller number of athletes disadvantaged the Cantabs in point accumulation.

“It opened up with a [4x100-meter relay] and Harvard didn’t even field a team,” sprinter Aaron Kolb ’07 said. “I think it was a combination of having a larger squad and running to our potential mostly across the board.”

The men took 16 of the 19 events and enhanced their overall victory by shutting the Crimson out of some competitions.

The Bulldogs swept the 100-meter dash by taking the top six places. Victor Cheng ’08 clocked in at 10.74 for the gold, followed by Omari Douglas-Hall ’07 and Russell Kempf ’07. The Elis also swept the 3,000-meter steeplechase with Joseph Kingsberry ’08, Brian Hanak ’07 and Eric Kerchberger ’08 finishing in the top three slots with times of 9:11.21, 9:19.24 and 9:33.37, respectively.

“It’s such a long-standing tradition, and we’ve won the last four years, so for the seniors, it’s a pretty big accomplishment although there are bigger meets coming up,” Kold said.

The women’s team faced a more competitive opponent and fought to the wire for the win, though they were able to sweep a few events. Lindsay Donaldson ’08 led the field in the 1,500 meter with a time of 4:39.51. Kelli Buck ’09 came in second and Stephanie Pearl ’10 took third with respective times of 4:43.58 and 4:44.71.

Runners said that the win is significant given how well the two teams matched up with each other.

“We knew it was going to be a really competitive meet because we knew that Harvard had a lot of strengths where we are weak and we have strengths where they are weak,” Donaldson said. “We were just hoping that everything came together at the last minute so we could beat them.”

With the women winning more than half of the events in the meet, the preparation brought more rewards than just hardware.

“It signals a turn in our spirits because we lost last week pretty badly to Penn and Princeton, and so this gives us a renewed confidence going into Heps,” Jackie Meyers ’07 said.

But the runners remain focused on future meets, including the Ivy League’s Heptagonal Championship, or Heps.

“This is really exciting and a positive thing for us, but we still have a long a way to go in our season,” Donaldson said.

Next week, both the men’s and women’s teams will compete at the Penn Relays.

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