The name Harvard doesn’t exactly evoke thoughts of athletic prowess. But among track and field circles, that may be starting to change.
Throughout the beginning of the summer, the Crimson track and field team sent five athletes to the NCAA Outdoor Championships and qualified four for their respective junior national teams, representing the nations of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany.
In the U.S. junior national championship meet, rising sophomores Judy Pendergast and Eliza Rego competed in the 3000-meter run and 3000-meter steeplechase, respectively. While Rego placed eighth, Pendergast clocked a 9:49.97 to place second and qualify for the U.S. team at the Pan America Junior Championships in Lima, Peru. Jacob McLennan was tabbed by Canada to compete in the same meet but in the 400-meter hurdles.
“Being able to represent my country is something I have dreamed about since I was a little kid,” McLennan said. “Moments like these are so special because it gives me the chance to look back at all the work I have put in thus far. This opportunity definitely increases the momentum going into next season. Though I was able to make significant improvements this year, I am not satisfied by my performances, and I hope to keep building off the many things I learned this year from coaches and teammates.”
Across the pond, two more Harvard rising sophomores earned spots on their national teams. Lisa Tertsch of Darmstadt, Germany, grabbed the German nod with her 10:22.76 time in the 3000-meter steeplechase earlier this year at the Stanford Cardinal Classic. In the same race for the men, Will Battershill qualified for the U.K. team. At the European U20 Championships held in Grosseto, Italy, Battershill placed third overall in the qualifying round. Though he did not start the final round, his bronze medal qualifying time of 9:07.97 would have been the eighth-fastest time.