The women’s track and field team is a few strides — not to mention jumps and throws — closer to making its disappointing winter Heptagonals performance a distant memory.
In Saturday’s meet against Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania in New Jersey, the Bulldogs finished first with 77 points, followed by the Quakers with 71 and the Tigers with 55.
“In general, it was a bit of a rough transition from indoor to outdoor,” pole vaulter Molly Lederman ’06 said. “This [victory] was really good for the morale of our team.”
Lederman is a copy staffer for the Yale Daily News.
Unlike the indoor Heps, where the Elis finished in fifth place behind Princeton and Penn, Yale dominated, winning 11 of 20 events on Princeton’s home turf.
Of 11 first-place finishes, many were scored by Yale’s top returning performers, but there were also a few surprises.
Joslyn Woodard ’06, arguably the Ivy League’s top sprinter, continued to surpass the competition by winning all three of her events. She set a mark of 5.96 meters in the long jump, and then ran the 100-meter dash in 12.14 seconds and the 200-meter dash in 24.87.
Woodard also ran a leg in Yale’s first-place 4×100-meter relay performance. The sprint relay team, which Yale head coach Mark Young ’68 called the best Yale has ever had by far, clocked in at 47.40.
Woodard said the time was not the squad’s best, but after dropping the baton in earlier invitationals just completing the race was an improvement.
“We know there’s no doubt we’re the best 4×100 meter team in the Ivy League,” Woodard said. “The trouble is that we’ve had problems with handoffs.”
Besides Woodard, several other of Yale’s top indoor track athletes continued to dominate in Saturday’s congenial outdoor conditions.
Lederman, who qualified for Regionals at the University of California-Irvine Collegiate Classic three weeks ago, cleared 3.86-meters at Princeton.
Lisa Wygant ’04 leapt 1.65-meters to win the high jump event.
After missing a couple of early meets, Dionna Thomas ’06 gave the team a huge boost in the triple jump. Landing at 11.94-meters, Thomas won the event by more than half a meter.
The Bulldogs scored in three of four distance/mid-distance events, highlighted by a one-two finish in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Anne Martin ’05 cruised into first place in 10:55.74, followed less than 10 seconds later by Claire Hamilton ’07.
In one of the closer events of the day, Jessica Pall ’07 won by a nose in the 400-meter dash. With the Quakers and Bulldogs hanging neck-and-neck in total scoring and only seven events remaining, Pall performed like a veteran. The Eli rookie came in at 57.35 to edge out a Penn senior by .14 seconds.
“Jess [Pall] is a really good runner,” Woodard said. “If someone is slightly in front of her, she’ll give it everything she’s got to win.”
But more surprising was the Bulldogs’ two first-place scores in throwing events.
After failing to score in their first invitational meets this spring, the Yale throwers scored 16 total points in the hammer throw, javelin, shot put and discus.
“We know we have a strong sprinting core and we know we have good distance runners — but it’s amazing how much our throwing has improved,” Woodard said.
Sarah Mendillo ’07 won the javelin with a throw of 40.19-meters, while Erica Davis ’07 won the discus with a 41.16-meter throw.
Davis joined the team two weeks ago after finishing her first season with the women’s basketball team as an All-Ivy honorable mention and Ivy All-Rookie honoree.
“We were really excited because two freshmen did very well,” Lederman said. “It’s exciting to see such young members of the team do so well, and it’s very encouraging for championships.”
The Bulldogs travel to Cambridge next Saturday for a dual meet against Harvard.