The days are getting longer and the sun is finally out. For most Harvard students, this means spring break is just around the corner. For the Crimson track and field teams however, this means that the covered domes and bubbles are being replaced with the open stadiums of the outdoor season.
The men’s and women’s track and field teams will wrap up the indoor season this weekend with the Ivy League indoor heptagonal championship meet.
“I personally prefer outdoor significantly more,” said junior women’s co-captain and sprinter Gabby Thomas. “Indoor [season] is a good training opportunity looking forward to outdoor.”
If that is the case, then both the men’s and women’s teams are poised for an excellent outdoor season. Both teams accomplished many feats this indoor season. On the team side, the Harvard men had several top finishes, including a win in the Crimson Elite Meet. Individually, members of the team shattered records. The men’s 4x400 meter relay team of senior Matt Hurst, Junior Myles Marshall, and freshmen Jovahn Williamson and Rodney Agyare-May ran the second fastest time in program history with a time of 3:12.35. Newcomer Williamson also set the program mark of 33.96 in the 300-meter dash.
The women’s side did their fair share of record breaking as well. The women’s 4x400-meter relay team of Thomas and sophomores Karina Joiner, Maya Miklos and Zoe Hughes posted the second-best mark in Ancient Eight history at 3:38.45. Thomas also set a new Harvard mark in the 300-meter dash with a time of 37.47, in addition to an Ivy League record of 7.26 in the 60-meter dash. Joiner and Miklos each posted the third best times in program history in the 60-meter hurdles and the 500-meter runs, respectively.
The women’s team as a whole grabbed great finishes of second and third in the Beantown meet and the Crimson Elite meet. Even with a bevy of accomplishments from both teams in the past two months, members insist there is still room for improvement. Getting healthy has been a common trend for both teams, as several members are recovering from injuries and are looking to rebound in the coming outdoor season.
“A lot of the girls on our team have really bounced back from injuries,” Thomas said. “There’s a lot of good resilience and mental toughness going on within our women’s team right now, so I think we’re in a really good shape to come back and have a really good outdoor season.e’re really focused on getting healthy.”
Both teams have also gained some much-needed experience through the indoor season.
“We’ve got a really young group,” Herbert said. “[There are] a lot of freshman and sophomores that are still getting the hang of things…having them gone through a season so everyone knows what a college meet is like… and take that knowledge into the outdoor season is great.”
An already young team added a lot of fresh talent this year. Sprinters Williamson and Agyare-May, distance runner freshman Ryan Thrush, freshman thrower Jason Judge, and freshman sprinter and pole vaulter freshman Eric Duffy are some new names to look out for on the men’s side in the upcoming season. Co-captains Herbert and Marshall as well as Hurst are some established names looking to make their marks on the record books this season.
“[We’re] being more attentive to the process,” Herbert said. “Its allowed people to grow more and be more positive.”
On the women’s side, freshman sprinter Olivia Okoli and freshman jumper Louise Estberg are some names to add to the likes of sprinters Thomas, Joiner, sophomore Livia Gauntlett and junior Ngozi Musa as well as junior distance runner Kathryn Gillespie.
The men’s and women’s teams come into this season with a new mentality that will start with the Cougar Spring Break Invitational on March 15th. “Making sure that everyone’s on the same page and we’re all working towards the same goals,” Thomas said. “[We need to be] holding each other accountable. Everything you do sets the tone on how the team is.”