For two weeks this summer, arguably the greatest collegiate rivalry in history was put on hold.
The Yale and Harvard men’s and women’s track teams united to compete against teams from throughout England and Scotland, June 13 to 28, as part of their biennial Oxford-Cambridge tour.
The Bulldogs and Cantabs started with easy victories over Limerick and Birmingham Universities before running into a resolved Oxford-Cambridge team. Despite some upsets, Yale-Harvard prevailed, 24-14, to cap a perfect 3-0 record abroad.
“We expected to win some events we didn’t,” Jordan Chapman ’05 said. “But the women made up for that.”
In men’s action, the teams tied with 10 wins, but Yale-Harvard edged its English rival due to its 14 second-place finishes.
Lucas Meyer ’05, Chapman, Nate Lawrie ’04 and Allen Czerwinski ’03 led the men’s charge with individual wins in the steeplechase, pole vault, shotput and javelin, respectively. Yale and Harvard also finished first in the 4×400 meter relay.
“We all did well,” said Meyer, who set the track record in the steeplechase: 9.00.28. “We came out here and did what we had to do.”
That certainly can be said of the women, who routed Oxford-Cambridge, 14-4, ultimately securing the win. Men’s and women’s scores were totaled to determine the final result.
Candace Arthur ’05 won the 200 meter, Anika Kreider ’03 won the 400 meter and Rebecca Dickens ’04 won the 800 meter. All-Americans Kate and Laura O’Neill ’03 notched wins in the 1500 meter and 5000 meter, and Molly Lederman ’06 placed first in the pole vault. Harvard and Yale also took the 4×100 meter relay and the 4×400 meter relay.
“It was a great way for us to end the season,” Arthur said. “We did really well against some good competition, earned a lot of points and really helped the team out.”
Chapman said the trip was equally enjoyable off the track. Team members were able to relax, hang out and catch some of the sights, which Chapman said was harder to do during the teams’ yearly spring break trip.
“Spring break is for training,” he said. “We practice two or three times a day and don’t get the chance to go out as much. In England, we usually practiced just once a day. The coaches understood that we were out of the country, and it would be less about practice and more about the experience.”
Chapman said the team greatly benefited from the increased leisure time.
“It brought us closer together,” he said. “We got to chill with most of the guys and girls. It was just a lot more relaxing and easy-going this time. It’s nice not to have that much pressure on you.”
In terms of teaming with Harvard, Meyer said the squads had no problems getting along. But, he added, that does not mean they will be rooting for each other the next time they meet.
“They’re a bunch of nice guys and girls. There was not any tension, even though they’re our biggest rivals,” Meyer said. “When we race against them, that’s a totally different story.”