CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard track and field is set for the Ivy League Outdoor Heptagonal Championships, hosted by Penn at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pa. this weekend (May 5-6). Competition will be streamed on ESPN+ and the Ivy League Network, with broadcasts beginning at 12:45 p.m. on Saturday and 11:45 a.m. on Sunday.
On Saturday, both running and field events will begin at 11 a.m. On Sunday, running events will begin at 9:30 a.m., while field events will start at 11 a.m.
The Harvard women's team has won four consecutive outdoor Heps titles and five overall in program history. Harvard will seek to become the first Ivy program to win five straight outdoor Heps titles since the Cornell women's team won seven straight (2002-08).
The Harvard men's team has won 10 outdoor Heps titles in program history and is seeking its first conference crown since 1983.
VIDEO: Track and Field Establishing Culture, Ready For Heps
Last Year at Outdoor Heps
Last year at the Ivy League Outdoor Heptagonal Championships hosted by Yale, the Harvard women's team won its fourth consecutive Ivy Outdoor Heps title to complete a season sweep of track and field and cross country laurels, the first time in program history that Harvard has earned the "triple crown."
The Harvard men's team had its best showing at Outdoor Heps since 2014, finishing fourth overall with 85 points, narrowly missing a spot in the top three by one point. Gabby Thomas was the unanimous pick for Most Outstanding Performer of the meet after winning five gold medals at Heps, taking victories in the 100-meter dash (11.15), the 200-meter dash (22.84), and being a part of two winning relay teams in addition to her win in the long jump. Leading the Harvard men on Sunday was senior captain Efe Uwaifo, who added to his long jump title on Saturday by taking victory in the triple jump with a 53'1" effort. Uwaifo was named Outdoor Heps Field Athlete of the Year.
Seventeen (17) Harvard track and field athletes earned All-Ivy League honors by finishing among the top two in their respective events. On the first team for the women were Gabby Thomas (100m, 200m, Long Jump, 4x100 Relay, 4x400 Relay), Jade Miller (400m Hurdles, 4x100 Relay, 4x400 Relay), Karina Joiner '20 (4x100 Relay, 4x400 Relay), Maya Miklos (4x400 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.
The Last Time Out
In final preparations for Outdoor Heps, Harvard sent student-athletes to compete at the Penn Relays and the Stonehill Skyhawk Invitational last weekend. Highlighting efforts for the Crimson were Erick Duffy, who won the pole vault at Stonehill, clearing 16-7½ on his third attempt to edge teammate Ian West, who finished second by clearing 15-11. At the Penn Relays, Hugo Milner recorded a season-best time in the 5000m, finishing in sixth place in 14:09.77. In the women's 5000m, Abbe Goldstein placed ninth overall in 16:41.33. In the 3000m steeplechase, Anna Juul recorded her season-best time in the event (10:29.51), placing 14th overall.
In The Rankings
The Harvard women's team is the top ranked Ivy League team in the USTFCCCA rankings index (No. 36), and is the No. 4 team in the Northeast Regional rankings, with several impressive individual marks this season.
Gabby Thomas has the nation's top 200m time (22.32), recorded at the Hurricane Alumni Invitational. She also has the region's top 100m time (11.04), which is the seventh-fastest time in the nation. Simi Fajemisin has the region's best triple jump mark (42-10¾), which is 21st in the country, as well as the fourth best long jump mark in the region (20-1/4). Karina Joiner has the Northeast's second best time in the 400m hurdles (59.72). In the 5000m, Abbe Goldstein's 16:31.26 at the Raleigh Relays is sixth best in the Northeast, while Marlena Sabatino's 12-4½ mark in the pole vault last weekend at the Kansas Relays is also seventh-best in the region.
The Harvard men are the top Ivy team in the Northeast region (No. 7), highlighted by a school record-setting 4x400m relay performance at the Texas Relays from Rodney Agyare-May, Myles Marshall, Jovahn Williamson, and Matt Hurst – 3:08.57 – is the top time in the region and 45th in the country. Williamson recorded his collegiate best in the 400m (47.56) at the Harvard-Yale Meet, which is fourth fastest in the Northeast. Will Battershill has the region's third-fastest time in the 3000m steeplechase (8:59.44) while Erick Duffy is fourth in the region in the pole vault (16-10¾).
Thomas Named to The Bowerman Pre-Conference Championship Watch List
Junior sprinter Gabby Thomas was named to The Bowerman Pre-Conference Championship Watch List, following her recognition on the Mid-Outdoor and Post-Indoor Watch Lists. This marks the first time in program history a Harvard student-athlete has been named as a candidate for The Bowerman.
Thomas is in the midst of a record-setting outdoor campaign, recording the nation's fastest 200m dash time with a new personal and Ivy League record - 22.32. Thomas also has the Northeast region's top 100m time (11.04), which is the seventh-fastest time in the nation, and is line to qualify for the NCAA East preliminary meet in the long jump as well.
The Bowerman is the nation's highest accolade given to the year's best student-athlete in American collegiate track and field.
More on Gabby Thomas: A National Champion, Record Setter in 200m
Thomas became the first Ivy League women's sprinter to win an indoor national championship in the 200m.
Thomas set a new collegiate record with her 22.38 mark in the final event heat of the NCAA Division Indoor Track and Field Championships at Texas A&M, 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, 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.
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 39 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 50 NCAA qualifiers, 136 NCAA regional qualifiers, coached to nine individual ECAC/IC4A titles with 119 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 qualified student-athletes to the IC4A/ECAC Championships, hosted by Princeton on May 11-13.