Although there is no “I” in team, in a sport like track, the athletes quickly find out that there might be a few “I’s” in their “individual” events.
The Bulldogs’ team scores at this weekend’s Ivy League Heptagonal Championships were not at all representative of the outstanding performances by several members of the men and women’s track squads.
After two days of racing in the Armory in New York, the men’s team finished in sixth place with 47 points, with Princeton taking first place with 154 points. The women’s team placed seventh, scoring 40 points, and Cornell won overall with 159 points.
“Heps are a lot more intense,” said Sam Fox ’09, who finished fourth in the high jump. “Everyone brings their best stuff, and it is a lot more fun because it is really loud and there are a lot of fans.”
Heps are organized differently than most other non-invitational meets, featuring preliminary races in which the athletes must qualify to compete in the final races. This, along with the large number of competitors, challenged each Eli to perform to his highest potential.
“Though we don’t have much to show for it in terms of final races, people did pretty well,” said Jen Lin ’09, who finished fourth in the pentathlon. “A lot of people did their season’s best but just missed qualifying for finals.”
Scoring 18 points for the women’s team out of a total of 40, Lindsay Donaldson ’08 had an impressive showing in distance events. She placed first in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 9:33.39 and also finished second in the 5,000-meter run (16:33.36). Both times met the NCAA Championship provisional qualifying requirements.
Another highlight of the weekend was the 4×800-meter relay team’s second-place finish with a time of 8:54.09. Kathryn Schleckser ’09, Kelli Buck ’09, Stephany Reaves ’10 and Meredith Leenhouts ’08 all contributed to a performance that teammates said was a very exciting race to watch.
With all of the Ivy League schools present at Heps, the Bulldogs had the opportunity to face league rivals, such as Brown and Cornell, that they never competed against in the regular season.
“It’s a lot different because you get to see all of your competitors face to face instead of just seeing their times,” distance runner Bevin Peters ’09 said. “You don’t know who is going to lead the race, and you get surprised by how different athletes perform.”
On the men’s team, captain John Langhauser ’07 upheld his season-long performance with a second-place finish in the shot put (17.66m) and a fifth-place finish in the weight throw (16.59m).
The Bulldogs qualified three runners for the finals in the 60-meter dash. After finishing with the exact same time in the preliminaries, Brandon Giles ’09 and Victor Cheng ’08 came in third (6.91s) and fourth (6.93s) places, respectively. Teammate Russ Kempf ’07 finished in seventh.
“We did pretty well as individuals, with three sprinters in the finals of one event,” said Eric DePalo ’10, who placed sixth in the pole vault. “I don’t think they did as well as they wanted to, but they still ran really fast.”
Other top finishers included Dan O’Brien ’08, who placed third in the 60-meter hurdles; the 4×400-meter relay team, which finished third; and the 4×800 relay team, which placed fourth.
Final team scores aside, numerous Bulldogs individually earned the right to compete in the postseason, starting this upcoming weekend with the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships.