Runners end indoor season in Beantown

The number of Bulldogs may have been small, but the athletes who qualified have a lot to brag about, including a record-breaking time, a potential NCAA Championship qualifier and several top 10 finishes.

The men’s track team scored 16 points and placed 15th overall out of the 74 schools represented at his weekend’s 86th Annual Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes in America (IC4A) Indoor Track and Field Championships at Boston University. Cornell won the meet with 50 points.

With an abundance of competition, the Bulldogs struggled to meet challenging qualifying requirements Saturday to place them in Sunday’s final races.

“This meet always gives us an opportunity to go against new competition that we do not see during the regular season,” said Brian Gertzen ’07, who finished seventh in the mile run. “We get to see schools from up and down the East Coast ranging from Duke all the way up to Maine.”

The Bulldogs aimed to do well in the relay events and came out with solid results. They were one of only a handful of teams to finish in the top eight in both the 4×800-meter relay and the distance medley relay for the last three years, team members said.

The 4×800 relay team of Gertzen, Christopher Smitson ’08, Tadhg O’Callaghan ’08 and Matt Shaffer ’10 placed seventh overall with a time of 7:46.68. The men’s team had the potential to finish in the top three, teammates said, but their handoffs were not sufficiently smooth.

The distance medley team of Connor Kilpatric ’08, Ted Galligan ’10, Matt Bordoni ’08 and Jake Gallagher ’09 finished in fifth place at 9:58.23.

Always a top finisher for the Bulldogs, captain John Langhauser ’07 placed second in the shot put with a throw of 17.64 meters. He has had a very successful indoor season, highlighted by breaking the school record in the shot put at the Giegengack Invitational on Feb. 3.

Finishing in 21st of 73 competing teams, the women’s indoor track team scored 14 points at the Eastern College Athletic Conference Track and Field Championships at Northeastern University’s Reggie Lewis Center this weekend.

A lot of attention fell upon distance runner Lindsay Donaldson ’08, who is the Bulldogs’ only runner with the potential to compete at the NCAA Championships next week. For the second year in a row, Donaldson won the 3,000-meter run with a time of 9:22.01. She will find out today whether or not she will make the trip to Fayetteville, Ark. to compete against the best runners in the country.

Though the Elis brought a relatively small group to the meet, each runner that participated put forth her best effort.

“We definitely qualified less people,” captain Katie Dlesk ’07 said, “but the people that were there made some impressions. We were there and doing our best.”

Demonstrating her personal best, Claudia Duncan ’10 placed sixth in the 500-meter dash (1:14.32), beating the school record she had set the day before by .8 seconds. The previous Yale best of 1:15.97 had stood since 2000.

The Bulldogs also found success in the 4×400-meter relay. The team consisting of Jessica Pall ’07, Dlesk, Faith Briggs ’10 and Duncan placed eighth (3:49.00).

“I think we had a solid effort,” distance runner Stephany Reaves ’10 said. “It was the last meet for the indoor season, so now we are just looking forward to outdoor.”

Since Donaldson is the only potential competitor in the NCAA Championships, the rest of the men and women’s track teams have now concluded their indoor season and are enthusiastic about moving back outside to train in the crisp New Haven air. But first, it’s off to the West Coast for training over Spring Break.

“It’s been a long two weekends in a row of two-day meets and many races,” Gertzen said. “It takes a lot out of us both mentally and physically, so we look forward to some down time in the next few days before we head out to California to get things back up again for the spring season.

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