Commencement 2020 Sports
Going forward, we hope to continue telling student-athlete stories, and we look forward to a time when we truly do have a “year” in sports to review, and not just two-thirds of one.
For many athletes, elevated expectations come with crippling performance challenges. But as Harvard squash champion Gina Kennedy went from being one of the top performers in the country to becoming the player to beat in all of women’s college squash, she dazzled under the spotlight.
On the second day of the Valentine Invitational at nearby BU, a Harvard runner would make history. Senior cross country and track star Kieran Tuntivate broke the once unthinkable four-minute barrier in the mile, crossing the finish line in 3:57.36.
It is not normal to be winning multiple races at the Ivy League Swimming and Diving Championships by several seconds, where races are often determined by fractions of a second. Nor is it normal to win every event you swim in at a championship meet — but that’s exactly what Pasadyn did this February at the Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center at Brown University in Providence, R.I.
The Crimson is not the only entity to give first-year forward Nick Abruzzese post-season accolades: his conference already has. The ECAC labeled him the rookie of the year in men’s ice hockey, thanks to a 44-point 2019-20 campaign. The conference also reserved spots for the first-year forward on the all-ECAC First Team and the ECAC All-Rookie team.
The game proceeded into near-darkness as a result of the delay and the 105-year-old Yale Bowl’s deficiency in the area of lighting fixtures. The Bulldogs overcame a 17-point deficit and completed the comeback with a victory in the second overtime. And, Harvard’s unassuming first-year running back Aidan Borguet set the rushing record and tied the scoring record for the historic rivalry.
Over 102 minutes of game-play had elapsed, and even still, a winner had not yet been crowned. Everything was on the line as the mid-afternoon crept into the evening.
On Mignone Field, in front of a large and boisterous home crowd, the Harvard women’s rugby team defeated Army West Point 18-7 to be named the 2019 National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) National Champions for the first time in program history. After a season full of adversity and a couple stinging losses, the team pulled together to achieve a historic season.
“I don’t think there was a feeling of anxiety or nervousness around the team, but I think that people definitely knew the pressure that was on us,” sophomore goalie Noah Hodge said. “Preparation-wise, everyone knew we just had to go out there and do what we’ve been doing all year.”
With four minutes remaining in the 4th quarter, The Game was Harvard’s to lose.
For Harvard distance runner Abbe Goldstein, the abrupt end to her junior track and field season due to COVID-19 did little to diminish the sweeping success of her 2020 campaign. Goldstein enjoyed a breakthrough performance on the track, and her work ethic, optimism, and resiliency have led to triumph off of it as well.
‘She Wouldn’t Back Down’: Inside Incoming Athletic Director Erin McDermott’s College Basketball Career
But McDermott is no stranger to Division I athletics. She brings to Harvard a background in Ivy League administration, having previously held top posts in the athletic departments at Columbia University and Princeton University. What is more, McDermott understands what it is like to be a Division I athlete because she was one herself.
Harvard women’s soccer’s Class of 2024 recruiting class is arguably the best in program history, with an incoming eight-member group ranked No. 5 in the nation by TopDrawerSoccer. Among the recruits are three of the country’s top-12 prospects and six players with national team experience.