It seems the field contingent of Yale men’s track and field will no longer be an afterthought.
Capitalizing on impressive performances from field stars Jihad Beauchman ’06 and John Langhauser ’07, the Bulldogs dominated Columbia and Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H., and helped alleviate omnipresent concerns about the team’s historically weak jumping and throwing. The Elis scored 86 points, well ahead of the Big Green (66) and the hapless Lions, who scored only 29 points.
Langhauser dominated, winning the shot put and weight throw events. His throws of 16.39 meters in the shot put, a personal record, and 15.37 meters in the weight throw both bested the performance of Dartmouth’s Rob Kerris, who finished a distant second in both events.
Beauchman, who alongside Langhauser has helped lead the surging field unit, agreed with several teammates that Langhauser was the athlete of the meet.
“John did a great job this weekend,” he said. “It’s really good to see people who work hard progress so well.”
Beauchman did his fair share, too. He returned after battling back tightness and spasms over the past two weeks and won both the triple and high jumps. Teammate Sam Fox ’09 placed second in the high jump in a rare display of depth from the jumpers.
Such strong showings by Beauchman, Langhauser, Fox, long jumper and sprinter Shomari Taylor ’06, vaulter Matt Lachman ’07 and thrower Jeff Lachman ’09 encouraged some team members to suggest that this may be the best Eli team in years. Beauchman has already claimed school records in the indoor triple jump and high jump and the outdoor high jump. This weekend’s performance was another step in the right direction as he prepares to pursue Calvin Hill’s outdoor triple jump record.
Taylor, who won the 500-meter run and placed third in the long jump, said the Bulldogs have improved in the field, the team’s historical Achilles heel.
“We look a lot better at this time this year than we did at this point last year,” he said. “We had a lot of people win events in places we haven’t in the past.”
But as the season progresses, the resurgent jumpers and throwers may still play second fiddle to the runners, who dominated their Ancient Eight foes Saturday. Victor Cheng ’08 won the 60 in 6.96 seconds and Kevin Alexander ’06 took the 200 in 22.28 seconds, and also placed second in the 400. Mark Falco ’06 and Matt Bordoni ’08 went one-two in the 800. And Pat Dantzer ’06, following a win in the 3K at Coxe Cage on January 14, won the mile run in 4:10.98, his best indoor time by over four seconds.
The sprinters’ performances were especially encouraging given their struggles the previous Saturday, when a handful of big-name programs such as UConn stole the limelight at Coxe Cage. All told, the Elis won four of the nine individual running events and four of five field events, an unlikely balance considering the past struggles inside the track.
Despite the importance of Ivy League competition, Yale coaches showed no restraint leading up to Saturday’s event. Instead of resting, the team was subjected to grueling workouts. When push came to shove, training with the season’s later meets in mind took precedent over preparing specifically for Saturday’s contest.
Dantzer said he had not expected such impressive results on the track given his leaden legs. Then again, the stakes were not as high as usual.
“We wanted to do as well as we could, but we had trained really hard leading up to this meet,” he said. “I was very surprised at the way the meet went because I was very tired and I know a lot of the others were, too. But we went in with the attitude that if you don’t run as well as you’d hoped, you don’t need to read too much into it or get too down.”
Beauchman said the week’s fatigue lowered expectations, but the meet was still a rare and valuable chance to measure up against competitors who will play key roles at Heptagonal Championships on the same track five weeks from now.
“This early in the season we’ve trained so hard,” he said. “We don’t have the same expectations that we’d normally have. But it’s still good to get a good gauge of where you stand in relation to other Ivy League opponents.”