TRACK | Harvard dominates field events

Anne Lovelace ’12 won the 3000m steeplechase on Saturday, finishing with a time of 11:07.41.
Anne Lovelace ’12 won the 3000m steeplechase on Saturday, finishing with a time of 11:07.41. Photo by Max de la Bruyere.

Harvard skill and foul weather rained on the Bulldogs’ expectations at the annual Harvard-Yale track and field meet Saturday.

The men’s team lost to the Cantabs for the first time in 8 years, 106–57. The women also fell for the fourth year in a row, 113–50.

The Bulldogs boasted smaller teams than their Crimson counterparts — on the women’s side, for example, 32 Elis competed against 41 Cantabs. While the two rivals were fairly evenly matched on track events, Harvard won all 16 field events, outscoring the men’s and women’s teams by 40 and 44, respectively.

“It felt like missed opportunities for a lot of people,” captain Marty Evans ’11 said. “There were a lot of near misses, a lot of near wins.”

The meet was doubly significant because it determined who would compete against a joint Oxford and Cambridge team in the biannual competition. The first two finishers in each event will travel to England this summer for the meet.

“There was a lot of pressure,” Elizabeth Marvin ’13 said. “There’s a lot of tradition and rivalry behind [Saturday’s meet]. Everyone was very intense and focused.”

Both teams battled the elements throughout the course of the meet. Low temperatures, coupled with rain and aggressive winds, added another challenge to the difficult meet.

“When you’re coming through the home stretch, [the wind] really throws you off,” Matt Bieszard ’12 said.

The men’s team won four individual events as well as the 4 x 100m relay. Nathan Richards ’12 won the 3000m steeplechase, while Matt Bogdan ’11 finished in second place. The Bulldogs especially showed strength in the sprints, where they swept the 100m and the 200m. In the 100m, Bieszard took first, Nathan Molina ’11 placed second, and Daniel Jones ’14 finished third. For the 200m, the order was Evans, Bieszard and Molina, respectively. Finally, Evans and Chris Stanley ’11 took second and third, respectively, in the 400m.

“It’s very encouraging that races we excelled at in the past we continue to excel at,” Evans said.

In his first outdoor meet of the season, Johnny Van Deventer ’11 won the 1500m. Van Deventer, who has been plagued by injury since his freshman year, was unable to compete in track meets until the end of the indoor season, when he wowed everyone with a record-setting indoor mile at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships. Following him was Julian Sheinbaum ’12, who placed third.

Off the track, the Bulldogs did not win a single event, but they were still present in the scoreboard. In the long jump, Tom Winger ’13 and Dana Lindberg ’14 took second and third, respectively; in the triple jump, Samba Binagi ’11 and Lindberg finished second and third; in the discus, Michael Levine ’13 and Stefan Palios placed second and third, respectively; in the javelin, Clifford Van Meter ’14 came in second; and in the shot put, David Smith ’11 took third.

There were some gaps, however, in the men’s results. Harvard swept seven events, four of which (hammer throw, high jump, pole vault and 400m hurdles) had no Bulldogs competing.

“It’s not by choice that we had to forfeit,” Bieszard said, explaining that the team simply does not have athletes who are qualified to compete in those events.

The women’s meet played out in a strikingly similar manner to the men’s competition. The Bulldogs were competitive in the track events, winning five races, but fell behind in the field events, which they lost 58–14.

Kate Grace ’11 grabbed two first-place finishes in the 1500m, where she led a sweep comprised of her, Nihal Kayali ’13 and Sarah Barry ’14, respectively. Grace also won the 800m, where she was followed by Annelies Gamble ’13. In the 1500m, the next-closest Harvard runner was seven seconds behind Barry.

Other wins for the Bulldogs included Anne Lovelace ’12 in the 3000m steeplechase, Gabriella Kelly ’12 in the 400m and Jenna Poggi ’13 in the 400m hurdles. In addition, Amanda Snajder ’14 placed second in the 100m hurdles, Allison Rue ’13 finished third in the 400m, Adele Jackson-Gibson ’13 placed third in the 100m, Annelies Gamble took third in the 800m, Dakota McCoy finished third in the 400m hurdles and Marvin placed third in the 3000m.

On the field, the Bulldogs scored in nearly every event. The Bulldogs took second in four events: Emily Urciuoli ’14 in the pole vault, Jackson-Gibson in the long jump, Antonia Renker ’13 in the discuss and Stephanie Scaramella ’11 in the hammer throw. In addition, Emily Standish ’11 took third in the high jump and Kristen Proe ’14 placed third in the triple jump.

“We have a lot of quality on the team,” Marvin said. “It was definitely an encouraging day in that aspect.”

Harvard showed significant strength in numbers, especially on the field. In the shot put, for example, the five Cantabs were matched by just one Eli.

Next week, both teams will compete at the Larry Ellis Invitational at Princeton. The meet will be much more low-pressure than the recent one against Harvard or Ivy League Heptagonals in early May.

“It was very disappointing that our eight-year winning streak should come to an end,” Evans said. “But we’re looking forward to Heps in three weeks as an opportunity for redemption.”


  • trackalum

    Yale should be embarrassed. The team has gotten significantly worse in recent years. They keep saying the problem is how small the team is, but maybe the coaches should actually try recruiting. The guys team has no hurdlers, or jumpers of merit. No javelin thrower, no multi eventer. There was absolutely nothing encouraging about the meet this weekend, for the captain to say otherwise is ridiculous. On both sides, there are maybe 5 or 6 real good athletes. They need a coach who will go out and recruit top level student athletes. Harvard isnt getting better, Yale is getting worse. As an Alum it was nice to watch this program get better in the middle/end of the last decade. Now I worry that there will be 5 people showing up to compete in a few years.

  • robert99


    Think track is declining? Look what has happened to swimming over the last 20 years or so.

  • eli1

    The Problem is with President Levin strongly cutting the number of athletic recruits Yale can take. It’s not just track. Every Yale team with few exceptions (ie. hockey) is getting much worse. It’s only a matter of time before Levin ruins the entire Yale athletic program.

  • trackalum

    Its not just inability to get recruits in. From what I have heard it is the coaching staffs lack of effort in the recruiting department. Obviously the cross country team has been horrible for years, but track had a decent spike a few years ago, and now they are terrible again. its an embarrasment to the university right now.

  • eli1

    trackalum I completely agree with you. However, the more of an embarrassment it is to us sane people, the more of a success it is in Levin’s eyes. The worse the team gets, the easier it will be for Levin to further cut the number of recruits, decrease funding, and generally ruin another once proud Yale team.

  • xfxjuice

    Trackalum- How can you honestly say it is not the size of the team when four events were swept because there were no Yalies competing? That is 27 points lost right off the bat for field events. Add another 14 for the 4×400 and 400 hurdles. Sure, even had we swept those events instead of Harvard, we still would have lost, but it says a lot about the limitations placed on the coaches in terms of recruiting. Harvard had the numbers, Yale didn’t. Simple as that.

  • trackalum

    Maybe harvard had the numbers because they had coaches who put the effort in to get the recruits. I refuse to believe that harvard is getting 3 times as many slots for athletes as yale. Im not saying we have to be good enough to contend with cornell or princeton. Id just like to see us be able to beat a good high school track team.

    Harvard as the numbers because they have an aggressive coaching staff. Yale doesnt, because the coaches in charge of recruiting dont. Simple as that

  • xfxjuice

    It really isn’t up to the coaches. In this interview taken from Yale Alumni Magazine, Levin openly states he has severely reduced the number of recruited athletes that go through the admissions process.

    “Y: What fraction of each class are recruited athletes?

    L: About 13 percent. It was 17 or 18 percent when I became president. I have wanted to maintain a strong athletic program, and I believe we have demonstrated this can be accomplished without admitting quite so many athletes. We now admit significantly fewer recruited athletes than the Ivy League allows. Some of the coaches are not happy with this, understandably. But I believe we have struck the right balance between making our athletic programs successful and wanting to make the Yale experience available for students who excel in other areas.”

    Obviously, his and our views of “successful athletic programs” differ. But to blame the coaches for recruiting caps that are out of their control is silly. Thus, we have to *heavily* rely on walk-ons to fill spots on the team which ultimately we should not have to do.

    (Source of article:

  • xfxjuice

    If the percentage of recruited athletes was restored, it would leave ~5 athletes more to recruit per sport (of course, less for some, more for others).

  • xfxjuice

    Number of Men’s Track and Field athletes:

    Harvard: 52
    Yale: 42

  • trackalum

    How many of the athletes on yales team are bad distance runners? who on the mens or womens team this year are actually capable of scoring at the ivy league championship meet? the team can be small if there are people that are good. If you have no high jumper, recruit one high jumper. If you have no hurdler, and you are aware there are two hurdle events, then recruit one hurdler. Instead, Yale brings in 5 more below average distance runners, and have 1 every other year who gets a little better.

  • Goldie08

    Robert99 – the swim team has actually gotten better over the past 20 years, but when you compare teams of the 80s and beyond to the teams of 1900 – 1960, its not even close. We were THE national powerhouse and are now lucky to get one win against harvard or princeton maybe every 10 years.

    The problem isn’t with the coaching staff – its with recruiting, as other commentors here have correctly pointed out. Going further, I will say that in addition to the recruiting slot issue, there is just a general apathy and lack of accountability for the athletic dept./coaches. Given the pretty poor performances we’ve seen over the past few years from a lot of teams with long tenured coaches, you’d think there’d be more shake up, but no. Hard to motivate a coach to give 100% when there’s total job security.