O’Neill twins qualify for NCAA championship

The O’Neill tandem just does not quit.

Two weeks after making strong bids at an indoor track and field national title, twin sisters Kate O’Neill ’03 and Laura O’Neill ’03 ushered in the outdoor season by finishing first and second, respectively, in the 10,000-meter run at the Adidas Raleigh Relays Friday.

At the Paul H. Derr Track at North Carolina State University, Laura O’Neill clocked 33:18.86, while Kate O’Neill established a new Yale record of 33:18.51. The previous standard of 33:19.08 was set by Rebecca Rivkin ’90 in 1988. At the Raleigh Relays, N.C. State’s Kristin Price took third, running more than nine seconds behind the Eli duo.

The twins, along with Nadia Sawicki ’04 and Emily Vince ’06, who also ran the 10,000-meter event, were among more than 3,000 athletes representing approximately 110 teams in one of the nation’s premiere track meets. Top teams from the SEC and ACC and standout programs from the Big Ten and Northeast conferences create a very competitive field. Because of the heightened level of competition, only top Bulldog performers qualified. The meet did not calculate composite team scores.

With their fast times, the O’Neills automatically qualified for the 22nd Annual NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship, which will be at California State University-Sacramento, May 11 to 16. The NCAA qualifying time for this year in the 10,000-meter event is 34:09.7.

As they wind down their illustrious track careers at Yale, the sisters, who have dominated the distance-running scene in the Ivy League, show no signs of slowing. They are getting consistently better.

At last year’s outdoor Heptagonal Championships, Laura O’Neill won the 10,000-meter run with a time of 35:05.14, and at nationals she finished third with a time of 34:39.67.

The outdoor track season continues next week with the William and Mary Colonial Invitational.

— Smita Gopisetty

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