Not many walk-ons end up being a major factor in a win, but this weekend at Harvard an Eli did just that.
Walk-on sprinter Kevin Alexander ’06 helped lead the men’s track and field team to a 97.5 to 61.5 victory over the Cantabs in Cambridge. This victory at the dual meet secured the Bulldogs’ sweep of the Cantabs in every single running season this year.
“It’s notable in that it’s the first time in at least the last 10 years that we’ve beaten Harvard in all three,” Eli head coach Dave Shoehalter said. “That’s what we’d kind of set as a team goal before the meet.”
This weekend, Alexander met individual goals in the 200- and the 400-meter dashes, where he finished second and first respectively. His times in these events broke his personal best records. Alexander said he is happy with his performances and even somewhat surprised.
“It makes me feel good because I feel like I am contributing to the team by running well,” Alexander said. “I’ve been working a lot harder on the track and in the weight room.”
Besides Alexander’s strong performances, a number of Bulldogs found success in the field and on the track, where the 100-, 200-, 800- and 1,500-meter events were swept.
In the 200-meter dash, Alexander was beaten by Russ Kempf ’07. Both qualified for IC4As. Kempf ran a 21.58 to find gold in the race. Kempf said that Alexander had a great day.
“He’s just a walk-on, and now he’s one of our best sprinters,” Kempf said.
Kempf also won the 100-meter dash, reaching the finish line in 10.74. He said he is pleased that he set two freshman records even though the Crimson did not field much in the way of competitors.
“I was running against my teammates,” Kempf said. “But it’s good to get qualifying times out of the way so I can focus on doing well at Heps.”
In other track events, the Elis came up strong as well. Nathan Clute ’07 led the 800-meter race from the gun and ended up winning. He was followed by Matt Boshart ’06 and Bobby Dwyer ’04. In the 1,500-meter race, Josh Yelsey ’05 came up with a gold, while Casey Moriarty ’05 tailed him for second place.
In the 3,000-meter steeplechase, an event that bridges track running and field disciplines, Luke Meyer ’05 ran a strong race to earn the win. Although this was the first time Meyer ran the event this outdoor season, he was able to qualify for NCAA Regionals and IC4As with his time of 8:59.6. Meyer said it was nice to get back to his best event after running other lengths of races earlier this season.
“It was a fine race, but I was not going out to run really hard,” Meyer said. “I went out to compete and win.”
Meyer said his goal was to clear all the hurdles in the event, but he did end up stepping on some of them.
“I am not the best hurdler, but I ran tough,” Meyer said. “Hopefully next weekend I will run a lot faster.”
Behind Meyer, Brian Hanak ’07 finished second by staying with a Cantab runner and then out-kicking him at the finish.
In the field events, in which the Crimson was particularly strong, the Elis managed to garner some solid marks. Triple jumper Jihad Beauchman ’06 had a successful jump of 4.73 meters, which earned him second place as well as qualification for IC4As. In the hammer throw, Eoghan O’Dwyer ’04 and Nate Lawrie ’04 finished second and third respectively.
With only one weekend of competition left before the Heptagonal Championships, the Elis are starting to focus on being the best they can be for the Ivy competition. Kempf said the most important thing at this point in the season is to stay healthy and for athletes like Rob DeLaski ’06, who did not compete in Cambridge, to regain their full health. Kempf added that he thinks the team will fare much better at outdoor Heps than at indoor.
The next hurdle on the Bulldogs’ path to success at Heps is the Penn Relays in Philadelphia on April 22-24.