Indoor runners set personal records on brand-new fast track at Boston University individual meet



Boston almost feels like home for the indoor track teams.

This weekend, for the second time this winter, the indoor track squads competed in Boston — this time at the Terrier Classic, where several of Yale’s elite runners set personal records.

The Elis have three remaining Boston meets this season.

A select number of Elis from the men’s and women’s indoor track teams traveled to Boston University for the two-day tournament. The Terrier Classic, held in the BU Tennis and Track Center, is one of the nation’s most prestigious indoor track competitions.

The event is scored on an individual basis, and the field contains professional runners and collegiate athletes from all three divisions.

“At the Terrier Classic, you are just trying to beat the clock and run fast times,” Casey Moriarty ’05 said. “If you beat some people, that’s great, but it’s not the objective.”

Two of the top Eli performances came from twin sisters Kate O’Neill ’03 and Laura O’Neill ’03 on the 3000 meter run.

“The twins are such incredible athletes,” captain Sarah Smith ’03 said. “It’s always amazing to see them go all out in competition.”

Kate O’Neill recorded a time of 9:14.71, breaking a two-decade old Yale record set by Margaret Wynne ’85 in 1983 by over two seconds.

Kate O’Neill’s time automatically qualifies her for a spot in the NCAA Indoor Championship meet in the 3000 meter run. This is the second year in a row she has earned a bid.

Her sister Laura finished with a provisional qualifying time of 9:24.85.

“Laura’s time is a shade under the pace Kate recorded last year,” Smith said. “And since Kate got a bid last year, Laura is pretty much guaranteed a spot.”

In other individual events, Vanessa Mazandi ’05 on the 800 meter run, Molly Lederman ’06 on the pole vault and Dionna Thomas ’06 on triple jump put up notable numbers as well.

Lederman broke the Yale pole vault record with her 12 foot-7.50 inch leap. Lederman also was the old record holder.

“Molly [Lederman] consistently improves every time out,” Smith said. “This is the third time she broke a school record she set herself, and she’s just a freshman.”

The women’s distance medley relay, comprised of Rebecca Hunter ’04, Anika Kreider ’03, Rebecca Dickens ’04 and Laura O’Neill qualified provisionally with a time of 11:30.55.

“It was a good meet,” Smith said. “We had some outstanding performances and everybody got to double-back, which is good training for the Heps.”

On the men’s team, Bobby Dwyer ’04 ran the one mile, clocking 4:11.10 for 11th place in his heat.

Moriarty established a personal record of 8:27.62 in the 3,000 meter run. Moriarty shaved 10 seconds off the time he set last week, and he hopes to clock 8:20 by the end of the season.

“Casey keeps getting better and stronger with each event,” Lucas Meyer ’05 said.

The participants at the Terrier Classic ran on a recently completed fixed-bank oval track, made of rekortan, one of the finest track surface materials. The new track is also slightly banked, allowing runners to maintain rhythm through the turns.

“The track has a little spring to it, giving runners a good push-off,” Moriarty said. “It’s almost like running on springs. It’s definitely one of the fastest tracks I’ve competed on.”

Because of the high number of participants, the athletes are split into seeded and unseeded groups, with the faster competitors in the seeded group.

The Bulldogs said the Terrier Classic was good preparation for the more intense upcoming team meets.

“It was a building block, a stepping stone,” Smith said. “It’s fantastic that we had fast times for this early in the year. We always get good results at the Terrier.”

The Bulldogs return to Boston on Friday for the Husky Invitational at Northeastern University.

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