The Never-Ending Duel
While things change all around at the speed of light, Harvard fighting with Yale? That will never end.
And the next tussle begins in the early evening on Friday as the Crimson and the Bulldogs take to the best campus golf course in the nation — the Course at Yale — in the annual cross country challenge.
These two schools were responsible for college competition, meeting up for a rowing race on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire in 1852, nearly a decade before the Civil War. The cross country battles are something of a newcomer in this rivalry, even though the two have been meeting up for nine decades.
The gun to start the 2012 men's race will fire at 5 pm with the women starting 45 minutes later. The men run for the Main Memorial Trophy, named for Malcolm Gardner Main, the captain of the Bulldogs' 1941 team who was killed the following fall in the Battle of the Solomon Islands.
The chase for the Main Trophy is of primary importance to Yale senior Sam Kirtner "because [Harvard is] our fiercest and oldest rival."
Yet it's the women's race that might provide the bigger story. That's because a name from the past is back for Harvard, long after her headlines had faded.
Back in 2004, Briana Jackucewicz came to The Armory for the old National Scholastic Indoor Championships and broke the national high school record in the 5,000-meter run by nearly nine seconds. She was in seventh grade.
She was featured in the New York Times that May and the story included warnings about her training and susceptibility to injury.
Her high school career began with a bang. She represented Colts Neck High at Foot Locker Nationals as a freshman, but the impossible expectations weren't to be realized. For some, winning a state 3,200m title as a senior was far from enough. They'd expected Mary Decker.
She went to Harvard in 2009, but injuries kept her from competing over and over. Hip, ankle, knee, hamstring, foot. You name it, it sidelined her. Limping away would have been easy. After all, she was active in a variety of activities on campus.
But this week she told Dominic Martinez of the Harvard Crimson that she'd returned to high-mileage training, logging as many as 80 miles a week over the summer.
“The key for me was to go back to the training that has always worked for me,” she said. “Coming into college, I sort of departed from that. After trial and error, and error, and error, I realized that’s what works.”
After never wearing the "H" on her chest in competition, she made her college debut last weekend at the Nassaney Invitational in Rhode Island. And she won.
So after all these years, it can finally be said — look out, Yale, Briana's ready to run.