CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard track and field competes in its second outdoor meet of the season, as the Crimson will send a near full squad of competitors to the Wake Forest Outdoor Opener on Saturday (March 24). Competition will take place at Kentner Stadium. Harvard will compete against Wake Forest, Davidson, Duke, High Point, and NC State.
Last Time Out
Harvard track and field opened the outdoor season at the Cougar Spring Break Invitational last Thursday, hosted by the University of Houston on Tom Tellez Track. Freshman Olivia Okoli had a stellar outdoor debut, placing second in the 100m dash in 11.64. Okoli was also Harvard's top finisher in the 200m, placing third overall in 23.91. Senior Matt Hurst placed fourth in the 200-meter dash, finishing in 21.84. Senior Jay Hebert placed second in the 110-meter hurdles recording his collegiate best in the event (14.10).
Thomas a National Champion in 200m, Earns Bowerman Recognition
Junior sprinter Gabby Thomas who became the first Ivy League women's sprinter to win an indoor national championship in the 200m, was named to The Bowerman Post-Indoor Watch List, the first time in program history a Harvard student-athlete has been named as a candidate for The Bowerman. The Bowerman is the nation's highest accolade given to the year's best student-athlete in American collegiate track and field.
Thomas set a new collegiate record with her 22.38 mark in her final heat, breaking a 10-year record, previously held by Bianca Knight of Oregon (22.40, March 14, 2008). A junior captain from Florence, Mass., Thomas the fourth national indoor champion in Harvard women's track and field history, joining Kart Siilats (high jump, 2001), Dora Gyorffy (high jump, 2000), and Meredith L. Rainey (800 meters, 1990). Thomas' 200m mark sits fifth on the all-time world record list and second on the American performers list. Thomas also became the first Ivy League woman to be named to the Watch List since Princeton's Julia Ratcliffe on Jan. 8, 2015.
Thomas, Marshall Indoor All-Americans
Both Gabby Thomas (200m, 60m) and Myles Marshall (800m) earned USTFCCCA All-America recognition. Thomas became the first Ivy League sprinter to earn back-to-back First Team All-America honors after her national title in the 200m. She also earned Second Team All-American honors for her 12th place finish in the 60-meter dash. Marshall also placed 12th to earn Second Team All-America honors in the 800m.
Tolbert Named USTFCCCA Northeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year
Associate head coach Kebba Tolbert was named USTFCCCA Women's Assistant Coach of the Year for the Northeast Region, the organization announced this week. Tolbert earned this honor for the second year in a row and a third time in the last four seasons. Tolbert guides women's sprints, hurdles, and horizontal jumps at Harvard. His athletes were responsible for 78 of Harvard's 105 points at the Ivy League Indoor Heptagonal Championships, including Heps titles in the 60m (Gabby Thomas), 200m (Gabby Thomas), triple jump (Simi Fajemisin), and 4x400m relay.
Under Tolbert's guidance, Thomas set a new Ivy League, meet, and school record in the 60-meter dash (7.25) at Indoor Heps, and Fajemisin recorded a new program mark in the triple jump (43'.25"), also at Indoor Heps
Harvard Earns 11 All-Ivy Selections at indoor Heps
After another strong showing at the Ivy League Indoor Heptagonal Championship, Harvard track and field had 11 selections to All-Ivy League teams, including four relay teams earning all-conference honors.
All-Ivy selections are based on results from Indoor Heps, with all first-place finishers (including ties and relays) earning first-team All-Ivy, and all second-place finishers (including ties and relays) earning second-team All-Ivy.
Second Team All-Ivy - Men
Matt Hurst, Rodney Agyare-May, Jovan Williamson, Charles Lego – 4x400m Relay
Last Year's Outdoor Season
In 2017, Harvard clinched its fourth straight Outdoor Heps title, totaling 164 points to run away with the team victory. In addition, seventeen (17) Harvard track and field athletes earned All-Ivy League honors by finishing among the top two in their respective events at the Ivy League Outdoor Heptagonal Championships.
On the first team for the women were Gabby Thomas (100m, 200m, Long Jump, 4x100m Relay, 4x400m Relay), Jade Miller (400m Hurdles, 4x100m Relay, 4x400m Relay), Karina Joiner '20 (4x100m Relay, 4x400m Relay), Maya Miklos (4x400m Relay), Nikki Okwelogu (Shot Put), Zoe Hughes (Heptathlon), Raegan Nizdil (High Jump), and Simi Fajemisin (Triple Jump).
For the men's team, Brett Henderson (Javelin), Myles Marshall (800m), and Efe Uwaifo (Long Jump, Triple Jump) earned First Team All-Ivy honors.
Miller, Okwelogu, Thomas, and Uwaifo represented Harvard at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, with Thomas (3rd, 200m) and Miller (6th, 400m hurdles) earning First Team All-America honors (3rd, 200m), Uwaifo (15th, Triple Jump) earning Second Team All-America honors, and Okwelogu (discus throw) and Thomas (100m) earning All-America Honorable Mention.
Top Of The Podium
Senior Marlena Sabatino, junior Myles Marshall, junior Gabby Thomas, and senior Jay Hebert will serve as captains this season.
At the Helm:
Jason Saretsky begins his 12th season at the helm of men's and women's track and field and cross country programs at Harvard in 2017-18. Saretsky's position, The William W. "Bill" McCurdy Director of Track and Field/Cross Country, became the 17th endowed coaching position at Harvard in the spring of 2013. Saretsky is just the 10th person to serve as head coach of the track and field program since Harvard began formal competition in 1874.
During Saretsky's tenure with the Crimson, Harvard has had 37 All-America performances, including eight in the 2016-17 season alone. The 2017 Ivy League Women's Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year, Saretsky has also mentored 48 NCAA qualifiers, 136 NCAA regional qualifiers, coached to nine individual ECAC/IC4A titles with 112 Heptagonal champions, and countless school records have fallen with more than 250 marks added to the program's top-10 list. For the first time in program history and the second time in Ivy League history, the Harvard women's team completed the triple crown in 2016-17 - winning cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field Ivy League Heptagonal championships.
Harvard will send competitors to three different meets next weekend – the Raleigh Relays, the Texas Relays, and the UMass-Lowell River Hawk Invitational.