Rebecca Dickens ’04 and Joslyn Woodard ’06 are two of the fastest women on campus.
Dickens, a veteran middle-distance runner, and Woodard, a rookie sprinter, have posted impressive times for the women’s indoor track team this winter.
Both expect to excel at this weekend’s Heptagonal Championship, the biggest Ivy League meet of the season.
“I know our team has a shot at winning Heps, and I want to do everything I can to contribute as much as possible and not let the team down,” Dickens said.
On March 1 and March 2, the Bulldogs will compete in Hanover, N.H., at the Leverone Field House for the 56th Annual Heptagonal Games Associated Indoor Track and Field Championship.
In 2002, Dickens was an indoor Heps scorer in the 800-meter race with a 2:12.48 time, but she has bested that performance already this season.
At the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet Feb. 15, Dickens posted an impressive 2:09.56 to win the event.
“[Dickens] goes about her business quietly and efficiently, and is one of the most dependable members of our team,” captain Sarah Smith ’03 said.
Since 2000, Dickens’s growth has been unwavering as she has been eking out a name for herself in the congested Ivy League track world.
“Dickens has improved immensely over the last three years, to the point where she has become the fastest 800 runner in the Ivy League,” Smith said.
But Dickens’ growth did not come without hard work in the offseason.
Dickens did extra training with the cross-country team this fall to improve her endurance and overall fitness.
“I am definitely much stronger now,” she said. “I can run two races in one day and still feel fast on the last 100 meters. I feel much more confident about racing; I know that I can keep up with anyone.”
Dickens is also a member of Yale’s outstanding 3200-meter medley-relay team.
At the Terrier Classic in January, Dickens — along with teammates Rebecca Hunter ’04, Anika Krieder ’03 and Laura O’Neill ’03 — clocked 11:30.55 to qualify provisionally for the NCAA championship event.
Meanwhile, her teammate Woodard has also been dynamite for Yale in her first year for the Bulldogs.
“[Woodard] is an amazingly tough competitor, considering she is only a freshman,” Smith said.
It took Woodard just three months into her rookie season to enter the record books for women’s track.
Woodard tied a Yale record, clocking a 25-flat time in the 200-meter race at the Northeastern Invitational in early December.
“[Woodard's] transition to college has been pretty seamless,” Smith said. “Many girls have problems making the switch, but she has handled it like a pro. Joslyn [Woodard] has made an immediate impact on the team.”
Despite coming off the blocks from behind in the 55-meter dash at the Yale Track Classic in January, Woodard set a school record that was all her own: 7.14.
In the 60-meter run, she ran an Ivy League best 7.66, just .04 behind the all-time Heps record.
The multi-event athlete has dominated in the long jump, too.
She currently holds the top seed at the HEPs with a 18-foot, 8.75-inch leap.
Woodard has undeniable natural ability, but the desire to compete in track and field was not always present.
“I started track in high school because a lot friends were in it,” she said. “I have to learn to push myself more though, rather than depend on others to push me.”
With Woodard and Dickens on the roster, the women’s track-and-field team has a good opportunity to bring home the gold this weekend.