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The Dartmouth
April 14, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Letter to the Editor: An Update on the State of Men’s Cross Country and Track and Field

The men’s cross country and track and field programs need a leadership overhaul.

Re: Letter to the Editor: On the State of Men’s Cross Country and Track and Field

Let’s recap the recently ended 2023-24 men’s indoor track season. Number of distance runners on roster: 21 (compared to 27 in 2022-23). Number of rostered distance runners (running above 800m) competing in the Ivy Indoor Championship: eight (as opposed to 12 last season). Number of rostered distance runners not competing in any indoor meet: seven. Number of distance runners competing in only one indoor meet: two.

The Trojans probably had more soldiers standing after they faced the sword of Achilles than the Dartmouth men’s distance runners had at the end of this past season. It has gotten so bad for men’s track that Dartmouth could not field a men’s 4x400 relay at the Ivy Indoor Championship on Feb. 24.

In just three years, track and field and cross country director Porscha Dobson Harnden has gutted the men’s track program. It will take years to recover, if it ever does. Harnden has proven that she does not have the requisite leadership skills to be the program’s director.

In addition, Dartmouth Athletics director Mike Harrity has failed to communicate with the men’s distance runners and their parents. Harrity’s prior experience at the University of Notre Dame does not fit with the skill set needed to oversee a small college program like Dartmouth’s. 

My request remains the same as in my last letter: President Sian Leah Beilock must fire Harnden and Harrity. Taking a closer look at this issue and replacing Harnden and Harrity is crucial to the future of men’s cross country and track and field. This would be easy to do if Beilock had the courage to do the right thing.

Thomas Carley is a member of the Class of 1980 and a former member of Dartmouth’s track and field and cross country team. Letters to the Editor represent the views of their author(s), which are not necessarily those of The Dartmouth.