Women’s track and field split up this weekend — one group ran through the rain in Philadelphia while the other traveled to sunny North Carolina. But the result was the same for the two groups — first-place finishes at both the Duke Invitational on Friday and Saturday, and the Penn Invitational on Sunday.
In the first day of competition at Duke on Friday, Anne Martin ’05 won the 3000-meter steeplechase event with a time of 10:49.21. Two days later, Claire Hamilton ’07 won the same event with a time of 11:34.12 to highlight Yale’s performance at Penn.
After only her second time running in this event, Hamilton trained throughout the past weeks to prepare.
“I’ve been practicing hurdling and water jumping a lot so I was excited to compete and see what I could do,” she said.
In addition to Martin’s victory on Friday at Duke, Lisa Wright ’04 placed fifth in the high jump with a height of 1.7 meters and Rebecca Hunter ’04 placed second in the development heat of the 1500-meter relay with a time of 4:43.56.
Martin’s time at Duke qualified her for the NCAA regional meet, slated to be held in Gainesville, Fla. on May 28-29.
The next day in Durham, Molly Lederman ’06 tied for second in the pole vault with a distance of 3.75 meters. Joslyn Woodward ’06 finished sixth in the long jump with a distance of 5.82 meters and placed 15th in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.04. In addition, Yale’s relay teams posted sixth in the 4 x 800 meter and ninth in the 4 x 400 meter.
Lederman said she had trouble with her take-off initially, but eventually fixed the kink. She said she will “try to pay more attention” to her take-off this weekend at Princeton.
At Penn on Sunday, Kate Lawson ’06 finished strong with a 1:09.66 seventh-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles, while Margo Angelopoulos ’06 earned a ninth-place finish in the shot put with a distance of 10.86 meters and a tenth-place finish in the hammer throw with a 37.86.
Yale head coach Mark Young ’68 said Yale’s performance at Penn was dampened by the rain, but he was pleased with the strong finish at Duke, where the southern climate was more conducive to competition.
“This weekend was a mixed bag,” Young said. “Whatever anyone was able to achieve was put off by the weather at Penn.”
Speaking about Martin’s finish, Young said he was optimistic about her running this season and her improvement over the last season.
“[Martin] is way ahead of where she was a year ago,” Young said.
Besides Martin, two other Elis — Lederman and Cara Kiernan ’07 — will be appearing at the NCAA regionals this May. Both Bulldogs qualified for the regional competition based on their performances in Irvine, Calif. over spring break.
Yale can hope for better finishes in its more traditional meet this coming Saturday against Penn and Princeton. Unlike invitationals, which emphasize personal bests, standard meets use team scoring. Each event is allotted a certain number of points according to place, and the team with the highest score wins the meet. But the team still has room for improvement. Young said that the relay teams can decrease their times by “getting the baton around” more cleanly.
Part of the hurdle for the Elis this season has been injuries, which have caused the relay teams to shift configurations and throw off their rhythm. Since the team is already missing several athletes due to hairline fractures, its biggest challenge this season may be staying healthy.
“We’ve been bitten by the injury bug,” Young said.