This past weekend, Harvard Track and Field split their efforts, with part of the team competing in the Valentine Invitational at nearby Boston University and part of the team competing at the Tiger Paw Invitational in Clemson, South Carolina. Crimson records were tested and broken on the long weekend, as a pair of Havard runners from both the men’s and women’s sides had incredible performances in the mile.
Entering the weekend, the women’s team was ranked No. 1 in the region while the men’s team was not far behind, ranked No. 2 in the region.
The second day of the Valentine Invitational was where most of the excitement happened, with strong performances across the board including but not limited to an all-time record broken in the mile for the Crimson.
That performance record was broken by none other than cross country standout and senior Kieran Tuntivate who ran a blistering 3:57.36 to win the event, breaking the once famed four-minute mile barrier, placing second in the Ivy League all time and fifth in the NCAA this year. Obviously, this performance smashed the Harvard record in the event, as Kieran continues to decorate the Havard record books with his individual efforts.
“Personally I want to do well at nationals, I don’t know what event I’ll do, but we’ll see,” said Tuntivate on his personal goals for the year and beyond. “And then I definitely will continue running post-collegiately, hopefully take a shot at going to the Olympics and world champs next year as well.”
Senior Mike Kolor and junior Kaeo Kruse earned personal bests in the mile, finishing in 4:06.83 and 4:11.25 respectively. Kruse’s run was over 10 seconds faster than his previous personal best as the men’s mile runners had a very successful day as a collective.
Along with the record-breaking mile performance, not to be outshined, other Crimson athletes turned in their own strong performances. Junior middle distance runner Ryan Thrush won his heat in the 500 meters and ended up finishing second overall in the event with a time of 1:02.60, good for third all time in the Harvard record books. All other Crimson runners that competed in the 500, junior Charles Lego, sophomore Max Serrano-Wu, and senior Jacob McLennan, had personal bests in the race, showing off strong group training.
Junior standout sprinter Jovahn Williamson took home second in the 400 and sixth in the 200, building off his success at last week's meet. Junior Kahil Wassell finished in 15th in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.14 seconds. The top performer outside of the track was junior Wesely Donhauser, who placed 13th in the men’s weight throw, good for a personal best. To conclude the night, junior long distance runner Will Battershill notched a personal best in the 3000-meter run, good for third all time in the Crimson record books. A pair of first-years, Acer Iverson and Ben Hartvigsen, and sophomore David Melville grabbed personal bests as well in the event, as the distance runners continued their strong team performances from the fall cross country season.
“I want to take it one meet at a time,” said Tuntivate when asked about team goals. “I think we have a shot at winning HEPs (Ivy League Indoor Heptagonal Championship) this year on the men’s side, which would be pretty awesome considering where we’ve been.”
Just a day before, the Harvard women had their own champion performance as junior Abbe Goldstein turned in an incredible showing in the mile. Goldstein crushed her previous personal best with a time of 4:35.70 on the way to a seventh-place finish in the event, placing her second in the Crimson record books for the event. Just behind Abbe was cross country star and junior, Anna Juul, who placed 11th with a time of 4:37.87, just off her personal best. Goldstein's stellar effort in the mile places her in 10th in the NCAA this year, a sure highlight for the Crimson Track and Field squad this season. Tuntivate and Goldstein likely punched their tickets to nationals with their performances and will look to build on their success as the season progresses.
“For the women’s side on distance Abbe Goldstein ran a fantastic race, likely to get her a spot at nationals, while on the guy’s side Kieran Tuntivate hammered a 3:57 mile and qualified for nationals in his second event,” said sophomore David Melville on the highlights from the weekend. “Going forward the team is gearing up for HEPs and trying to get ready to score as many points as possible in two weeks.”
To round out day one of the Valentine Invitational, middle distance junior Tessa Medrano finished in 10th in the 1000-meter run, crossing the line in 2:48.67, on the way to a personal best. This strong effort was good enough for fourth all time in the event for Harvard women. Sophomore Fredericka Lucas earned a top-35 finish in the long jump, senior Martha Kebeh and sophomore Obie Amudo placed 16th and 24th in the weight throw respectively, while senior Maya Miklos and junior Rachael Estell, nabbed 34th in the 400-meter dash and 34th in the long jump each.
Down south at Clemson, sophomore pole vaulter Alana Caroll placed ninth, clearing 3.82 meters on her best effort. This result landed Caroll in fifth all time in the Crimson record books for the event. Fellow sophomore vaulter Kylie Hilton cleared 3.67 meters, finishing just behind in 14th.
Other notable performances in the Tiger Paw Invitational included senior All-Ivy Leaguer Simi Fajemisin, who placed 19th in a highly competitive long-jump heat with a mark of 5.90 meters. Back on the track, senior hurdler Zoe Hughes earned a new personal best, crossing the line in 8.66 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles.
Day two of Tiger Paw saw junior Erick Duffy take home an impressive third place in the men’s pole vault, and Fajemisin continued her strong invitational with a seventh-place finish in the triple jump.
Looking ahead, Harvard Track and Field has a week off before returning to action at the huge Ivy League Indoor HEPs Championship, hosted by Cornell. Building off impressive performances from the men and the women, the team will look to train before its biggest meet of the season thus far as it competes for the Ivy League title.