The Definitive Ranking of Harvard’s Houses by Athletics
Every year, each one of the Harvard’s houses vie for every freshman’s love and affection through various bouts of smack-talk and over-the-top housing day videos. But what happens when that smack-talk has to stand up to the results on the field, court, or pool?
Some houses easily rise to the occasion and best their counterparts in varsity or intramural sporting excursions. Other houses boast amazing gym and wellness facilities that promote athletic excellence amongst all members of the house.
This year, the Harvard Independent sports staff decided to analyze every aspect of house athleticism from athletic facilities, to the proliferation of impressive varsity athleticism, and IM rankings. After much debate the final rankings can be seen below.
Pretty much every athlete lives in Eliot. If you have any interest at all in athletics, we recommend that you head over to Eliot’s d-hall right now and drink the PowerAde, because there is definitely something in it.
Maybe having the glorious “gate swipe” and being so close to the athletic complex on the other side of the river proves too much of a temptation to Harvard students, who decide to take the journey and get in touch with their inner workout god.
Some of the key contributors to Eliot’s athletic glory include dual athlete Matt Brown ’15 who plays both football and basketball, Obum ‘Boom’ Obukwelu ’15 an esteemed member of the gold pants (read: football), distance runner Kellen Blumberg ’14, and sabre fencer Elena Helgiu ’14.
Whatever it is, Eliot is filled to the brim with individuals possessing a Go Crimson headshot. In addition to varsity athletes, Eliot also boasts proximity to the Malkin Athletic Center, strong intramural sport spirit, and a high quality gym.
Dunster has a reputation for being welcoming to bros and fem-bros: its proximity to the River and later dinner hours welcome athletes seeking post-practice nutrition. Tight end Cameron Brate ’14, basketball’s Steve Moundou-Missi ’15, and almost half of the men’s volleyball team call Dunster home.
The labyrinthine abyss of Dunster’s basement reveals a number of athletic facilities for both casual gym-goers and aspiring linebackers. A weight room, a cardio room, basketball courts, and an erg room give Dunster some of the most diverse athletic facilities of any house. Dunster’s abundance of squash courts draw the jauntily white-clad from across campus. Moose IMs have proved highly successful, capturing both football and basketball A championships this year, placing them in contention for the Straus Cup.
Mather welcomes the athletic with open, concrete arms. One reason Mather’s dining hall is so difficult to navigate is the omnipresent obtrusion of space caused by the wide shoulders of bros. Home to a good number of football players — including starting kicker David Mothander ’14 who recently participated in Harvard’s Pro Day— rowers, lacrosse players, and ruggers, Mather could be the new Kirkland (if not for the perennial mecca of Harvard athletes, Eliot).
For those non-athletes who feel the need to bulk up amidst the pros, Mather’s got your back. With one of the nicer gyms of the River houses and proximity to the Charles for morning and afternoon (and late night) River Runs, even the scrawniest can become jacked in no time. Mather has a strong IM spirit, even if they’re not the top performers, and members of the House are guaranteed to show up sporting Mather pride.
Navigating Mather’s Escherian stairwells and tunnels can leave anyone out of breath, so getting in shape before moving in might be a good call.
For those wondering about Lev’s athleticism, they need to look no further than the Leverett shield: those are some buff bunnies. Wrestlers, golfers, and basketball players have made Lev home for the last few years, but it doesn’t mean they’re the only rabbits running.
During Lev’s renovations, the Lev gym was moved from McKinlock to G Tower, boasting treadmills, ellipticals, and a plethora of weights. Add to that the Andy Warhol-esque depictions of Leverett IM crew and you’ve got a top-notch facility for those who want to work out but are too lazy to walk to the MAC. Lev’s Wellness Tutors are a strong presence in the house, offering weekly yoga classes and reaching out to the House to make sure their offerings are in line with student interest.
Basketball is especially important to Leverett, as the House can call Jeremy Lin ’10 and Secretary of Education (and former Harvard Men’s Basketball Captain) Arne Duncan ’87 its own. Housemaster Ann Georgi is known throughout Leverett as Coach for her staunch dedication to the success of Lev’s IM teams, particularly basketball. In the last few years, members solid cohorts of both men’s and women’s basketball have called Lev home, including sophomore standout and member of the Ivy League, NCAA-tournament bound men’s basketball team Siyani Chambers is among the Leverites. Perhaps the renovation should install a few courts in the basement!
Pfoho, Pfo-sho! Pforzheimer House definitely deserves its rank as the most athletic Quad House. Not only does Pfoho have an amazing dance studio, but Pfoho also has an extensive weight room that is separate from the gym.
Even though Pfoho has never won a Straus Cup and they are currently ranked number 11 in the standing, Pfoho has some amazing student-athletes to make them 5th on our list. Paul Stanton, Jr. ’16, a running back, already has an amazing record in his second season with the Crimson. Stanton is second in the Ivy League for most number of touchdowns at 17 and honored at the Fall Academic All-Ivy League team. Pfoho should also brag on Harvard men’s soccer goalie Evan Mendez ’16 for having a shutout game against Columbia in addition to earning first team All-Ivy League honors.
Hopefully Pfoho will be able to rally and move up in the IM rankings.
Lowell is an athletic powerhouse. Inside of A-entry is a rock-climbing wall. You did read that right. For only twenty dollars per semester, you can climb in Lowell any weeknight from five to eleven. If that’s not enough, the basement of Lowell also houses a squash court.
In terms of intramurals, Lowell is acceptable. The House has won a Straus Cup within the last ten years; however, they currently sit in ninth place in the current standings. Then again, if you had that climbing wall and squash courts in your house, would you compete in intramurals? One more reason why Lowell may not compete as well in intramurals is the large number of successful varsity athletes in the house.
To give you a quick idea, Lowell is home to Yoshi Andersen who won a gold medal for US Junior Water Polo at World Championships, James Fox, (captain of the wrestling team), and Mike Mosca the top male diver at this year’s Ivy League Championships. With all of these factors, Lowell will be ideal for someone who is willing to exercise in the great facilities without the competition of intramurals.
Quad-lings may have a distance running advantage due to epic sprinting after missing the Quad Express shuttle on a Monday morning, but Currier residents have the added bonus of amazing in-house athletic facilities. Currier boasts a dance studio and an expansive gym. In addition, Currierites can be on their game mentally and physically thanks to an active Wellness Committee.
Currier is also the home of the amazing varsity athletic prowess found in men’s basketball team captain Brandyn Curry ’14. Hopefully Curry’s athleticism will inspire the rest of Currier to up their game in the Straus Cup standings; currier is currently in 13th place. Good thing Currier is the closest Quad house to the QRAC!
With a respectable number of athletes and a healthy amount of non-athletes, Winthrop has achieved the delicate balance of personalities promised by the random housing lottery. Winthrop is the proud home of squash champions Walker Evans ’16 and Brandon McLaughlin ’14. Sophomore Natalia Hendrickson ’16 also contributed to the newly-varsity women’s rugby team Ivy League Championship win.
For individuals inclined to get fit, a gym in the basement of j-entry offers a variety pack of equipment, including treadmills, stationary bikes, an elliptical, weights, and rowing machines. The only catch, according to the house website? You have to re-rack your free weights.
Winthrop also boasts amazing IM sport spirit. Putting the “win” in Winthrop, the IM sports teams took home the Straus Cup 5 years in a row ending in 2012. Will Winthrop regain glory this season?
Quincy, Athlete to Normie Ratio: to 464
Quincy, oh Quincy. Let me say one thing about Quincy. The Straus Cup has existed since 1935, and Quincy has been around since 1959. Yet, Quincy has not won once. Now, it’s not like Quincy is trying this year to break the streak because Quincy is currently ranked last in the Straus Cup. If you are looking for intramurals, don’t look to Quincy.
Now, if you’re thinking that because Quincy has some new digs it must have some nice athletic facilities, you would be mistaken. Sophomore Gaby Ruiz-Colon said that if Quincy had updated its gym she might use it more. But, alas, she walks to the MAC just to use a Stairmaster. Quincy’s gym is located in the basement with no view of the outside world. Happy exercising!!
Quincy’s lone redeeming quality as a House is the fact that it houses two of the best athletes on Harvard’s campus. Ali Farag ’14, the two-time national squash champion, and Ben Zepfel ’16, an All-American in water polo, are both proud penguins. However, on the whole, Quincy is not the sports mecca of Harvard housing, and that puts it nicely.
Debunking the proximity = fitness theory is Kirkland House. A stone’s throw away from the MAC, Kirkland boasts surprisingly few athletes. Perhaps seeing desperate undergrads making the trek to the MAC makes Kirkland residents decide to stay indoors and focus on their studies.
On the other hand, maybe the legacy of the algorithm on the window of Kirkland (if you don’t get the reference, you really have to getting around to watching the Social Network) has inspired Kirkland residents to try to begin online start-ups in the hopes of becoming billionaires.
Kirkland does have some notable athletes within their brick walls including point-guard Christine Clark ’14 and ice hockey player Gina McDonald ’14.
Even though Kirkland is low on our list this year, Kirkland has still one the Straus Cup the most number of times; their wins equal a whopping 21. Hopefully they can continue the momentum from last year’s win and move up on next year’s list.
Despite having won the Straus Cup 7 years in a row and being the most improved team during the 2012-2013 intramural season, Cabot currently sits in 8th place on the standings. Even though Cabot residents seem to be ‘happy’ (as detailed by their adorable housing day video), Cabot should be unhappy with its fall from IM grace.
Cabot can boast about its recently expanded gym and dance studio. With Cabot’s House Master Khurana Rakesh being recently named the new dean of Harvard College, hopefully this bout of good news will revive house spirit and get Cabot residents more up and active on the IM front.
Adams House may be a house of gold, but it is not golden when it comes to athletics. First, Adams’ gym is nothing special. It’s old and prison-like if you can even find it. You have to go through the labyrinth of Adams’ tunnels to reach the gym. The only plus to the Adams gym is that it splits the cardio equipment from the weightlifting, so you do not have to feel awkward if all you want to do is run while others are getting jacked.
Adams also takes its intramurals pretty seriously. As soon as you enter the main entrance, you will see an IM board on the way to the dining hall. Adams has recently won a Straus Cup and currently sits in fourth place in the standings. The only drawback to Adams’s intramurals is that of all the river houses, it is farthest from the elusive athletic fields across the river.
Finally, if you are looking to find future hall of fame athletes in Adams, you’ve come to the wrong house. Despite housing Josh Boyd ’13-14, the 140th captain of the football team, there are few exciting athletes in Adams. So, if you are hoping to find the next Jeremy Lin or Matt Birk at Harvard, don’t come here. But, hey, at least Adams has respectable intramurals; they are currently 4th in the Straus Cup standings.
Honorable Mention: Dudley House
Harvard 13th House is killing the game on the IM front, currently leading the standings with a whopping, 963 points!
The Harvard Independent Sports Staff (sports@ harvardindependent.com) loves sports and doesn’t care who knows.