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The Harvard track and field team is gearing up for the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships, with competition beginning this Saturday, May 6th and continuing until Sunday, May 7th.
First, the team took a few athletes to the historic Penn Relays this past weekend. Sophomore Chloe Fair represented the Crimson sprinters well, running a time of 59.79 seconds to take 12th place in the women’s 400 m hurdles.
For the throwers, it was senior Stephanie Ratcliffe who set the tone for Harvard. Ratcliffe threw a new school record and personal best of 70.59 m in the women’s hammer throw to win the championship section of the event. Her throw was far enough to set the new stadium record, as well as the Ivy League record. Senior Cammy Garabian also took first place in her event, winning the college section of the women’s weight throw. Her throw of 61.47 m set a new meet record for the event.
In the same event for the men’s, sophomore Kenneth Ikeji threw 74.12 m to claim first place. His throw also set a new stadium, school, and Ivy League record that ranks him second place in the nation.
On Saturday, the shot putters put up some big numbers. Seniors Alexander Kolesnikoff and Sarah Omoregie both finished top five in the men’s and women’s shot put, with Kolesnikoff taking fourth place and Omoregie taking second respectively. Both of their throws put them in the top 15 of the nation.
This weekend, Harvard will return to Pennsylvania for the Outdoor Ivy League Heptagonal Championships.
“Biggest piece of advice I give our team is two things — one, you [have to] be able to focus on what you can control regardless of what’s going on around you and be able to go and do what is that you do,” said head coach Jason Saretsky about the advice he gives the team going into the championships. “The second piece is what we’ve been doing this season has been really great, so just continue to do what we’ve been doing.”
At the 2022 Ivy League Heptagonal Championships, the men’s and women’s teams both finished in second place, behind Princeton and Penn respectively. Going into this season’s championship, the team is looking to be equally competitive with them.
“The Ivy League is a fantastic track and field conference with lots of talent throughout all eight institutions,” Saretsky said. “Obviously, if you look at the indoor results, Princeton’s men’s team was a point ahead of us and Princeton’s women’s team was close behind us.”
Although with Penn being at home,” Saretsky continued, “On the women’s side they won the outdoor championships last year, and I’m sure they’re also hungry to compete for a championship, so I think it will overall be a really competitive and exciting weekend.”
Currently, the men’s team is ranked 23rd in the nation, while the women’s team is ranked 31st, though both teams lead the Northeast Region.
“They’re grown in so many ways,” said Saretsky about the team’s growth over this season. “It’s been so wonderful and rewarding to see the competitive excellence athletically, maintaining that competitive excellence academically.
“More importantly though,” he continued, “[they’ve been] really coming together and having that family culture, looking out for one another, caring about one another, that you always want to see with a team.”
The team currently has four athletes ranked in the top ten in the NCAA. Following the championship, the athletes that qualify with the necessary marks or times will advance to the NCAA East Preliminary Round.
“We focus on being the best version of ourselves,” said Saretsky regarding the team’s overall championship goals. “Harvard track and field has a pretty rich history and tradition of success, and to be the best version of ourselves, which is a great and worthy goal of our program.”
The track and field team will travel to Philadelphia to take on the other seven schools in the Ivy League Conference at Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania this weekend.
— Staff writer Nadia A. Fairfax can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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