Take a look at the Harvard men’s water polo team’s lineup and something clearly stands out–other than a few players from Eastern Europe or New England, the Crimson’s roster is remarkably dominated by Californians. “There’s something about the team, the fact that most of us have the shared experience of not being from east coast places,” goalie Nikhil Balaraman said. “We can commiserate in the snow and all that terrible stuff that none of us had seen before.” Balaraman is a senior originally from the San Diego area, who despite the drastic change in weather, has established himself as an important part of the water polo team here at Harvard.
Football is one of those sports where talent often runs in the family. Archie, Peyton, and Eli Manning, Howie and Chris Long, Kellen and Kellen Winslow—the list of NFL families is lengthy. Harvard football is no exception to this trend, as the Crimson can say it has a player whose family heirloom is a football. Hailing from Oxnard, California, freshman defensive back Brian Owusu is the second oldest in a family of five standout athletes.
When Lance Armstrong won his record-breaking seventh Tour de France championship in 2005, Chris Hong was playing the violin, not giving a moment’s thought to cycling. Now, four years later in Hong’s senior year at Harvard, his stringed instruments have been pushed to the wayside for handlebars and a saddle, and cycling has become his new, and favorite, tune.
Nearly 20 years ago, the trimaran Great American capsized off the Cape of Good Hope. No one knew that 20 years after his rescue, the sole skipper of the Great American would not only succeed on an equally extensive and fatiguing expedition, but would set two milestones along the way. In March 2009, Harvard alum Rich Wilson ’78, MBA ’82 became the first American and the oldest person to ever complete the Vendee Globe sailing race, a four-month expedition in which sailors travel around the world, starting and finishing in France.
Giving up on a dream is never an easy thing to do. Just ask Andrew Berry ’09, Harvard’s three-time All-Ivy cornerback and 2008 preseason All-American. A star on and off the field, Berry also ranked among his graduating class’ top five percent in GPA and was Director of the Cambridge Youth Enrichment Program during his time at Harvard. Though he dreamed of playing professional football, Berry was not selected by a pro team in the highly-competitive NFL draft last April. He received a tryout offer from the Washington Redskins, but almost immediately after he arrived at their minicamp, he was sent home with a herniated disk in his back. Berry knew then that his dream of playing pro ball was over.