Down the street, track heats up

The men’s and women’s track teams spent last weekend focusing on individual performances in order to tune up for the outdoor season.

Down the road at Southern Connecticut State University, the women’s team came in third and the men’s team took sixth place in a meet that was largely meant to prepare the Elis for upcoming league competition.

“We weren’t focusing on the team score as much as getting every individual ready to compete later in the season,” captain Katie Dlesk ’07 said. “We really wanted to get another race under our belt as we ease into our outdoor season.”

The Bulldogs were missing one of their best distance runners, Lindsay Donaldson ’08, who was in California at the Stanford Invitational competing against some of the nation’s best distance runners in the 5,000-meter event. She rebounded from a fall during the race to meet the qualifying time for both ECACs and NCAA Regionals.

The weekend was filled with impressive individual performances. On the women’s side, Dlesk and Jennifer Lin ’09 took second and third, respectively, in the 400-meter hurdles, and Jess Pall ’07 finished second in the 400-meter dash. On the men’s side, captain John Langhauser ’07 won the shot put, Kevin Hickenbottom ’09 won the javelin throw, and Ted Galligan ’10 took second in the 400-meter hurdles.

A few runners took the weekend off to conserve energy for upcoming races, while others tried out new events. A few of the distance racers ran the 1,500-meter instead of the 10,000-meter — which are almost polar opposite events — to test their speed.

“It was a mental workout to get us out back on the track and in our uniforms,” distance runner Claire Leatherwood ’09 said.

Dlesk said the team’s main priority at the moment is building a strong endurance and cardiovascular physical base, not running their fastest times. Last weekend was only the second outside meet this season and was an important experience for the transition.

Building on the male throwers’ success, the Eli women dominated the field events last Saturday with Erica Davis ’07 winning the shot put and coming in second in the hammer throw. She is someone to watch this season and is always a reliable performer, Dlesk said.

“Erica Davis is stellar,” Dlesk said, “She is coming from her basketball season and she does all the throws. This weekend was especially important for her to get back into the swing of things.”

Galligan said the team is training for upcoming important meets, such as the Ivy League championships in May and the Harvard-Yale meet in a few weeks. The meets last weekend and this coming weekend are supposed to indicate competitors’ progress in training as they work towards their peak performances.

Half of the men’s and women’s teams will travel to the Princeton Invitational next weekend, with the other half going to the Colonial Relays in Williamsburg, Va. Leatherwood said the Princeton contingent will be mostly female distance runners while the sprinters go to Virginia for the relay events. She said she expects individuals to perform well, but because the team is split up, she does not expect the overall outcome to be indicative of Yale’s strength.

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