For the Yale men’s and women’s track teams this past weekend, the Heptagonal Championships were a display of the talent the Elis possess.
The first day of competition in Cambridge, Mass., was filled with preliminary races and an unfortunate injury for the Bulldogs. After the first day of competition the Elis were in sixth place with a total of four points, all of which came from the performance of Reynolds Holmes ’10 and his fourth-place finish in the long jump. However, the Elis lost Holmes to a possible torn hamstring after his performance in the long jump, and he could not compete in the second day of races.
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“When you have unforeseen events happen on the first day, you are going to lose points,” said Remi Ray ’10. “The first day things seemed a bit out of control, and it was frustrating.”
Hampered by injuries and already missing captain Brandon Giles ’09 due to injury, the men’s track team headed into day two looking to move up in the competition. Sam Fox ’09 gave the Elis a boost of confidence early in the day with a third-place finish in the men’s high jump. The seniors continued to carry the team through the day with a third-place finish by Jeff Lachman ’09 in the shot put.
Jared Bell ’09 also delivered a great performance coming from behind in the mile run by running the final half-mile in less than two minutes to finish second with a time of 4:16.12. Jake Gallagher ’09 finished right behind Bell in third with a time of 4:16.22.
“I was thinking about the culmination of four years in that once race sitting there behind in fourth,” said Bell of his come-from-behind second-place finish. “I had to give everything I had this year; fortunately my legs were able to.”
Bell also anchored Yale’s second-place finish in the 4×800 meter relay race. Ray placed third in the 500-meter dash with a time of 1:03.98 with David Soiles ’10 finished fourth with a time of 1:04.16.
The Elis finished fourth after two days of competition.
The women’s track team, plagued by injuries and illness, struggled at the Heptagonal Championships, eventually placing at the tail end of the competition; however, they displayed flashes of the talent and success that the team will have when back at full health.
Kate Grace ’11 put on another great performance during the weekend, winning the 800-meter run. Not only did Grace win the race handily, but she also set a new Yale record in the event with a time of 2:07.83.
The women’s track quartet of Kate Grace ’11, Stephany Reaves ’10, Jennifer Lin ’09 and Kelli Buck ’09 were able to come from behind to win the 4×800 yard relay race with a time of 8:57.60.
Despite the team’s two major successes, the Elis also suffered a number of close losses. Four athletes barely missed placing for the finals in their preliminaries over the course of the weekend. Alexa Monti ’12 missed the finals in the 60-meter dash by one-10th of a second.
“I personally feel that a lot of the tough losses are a result of sickness and injuries,” said Marieme Mbaye ’12. “A lot of our distance athletes couldn’t run, and when they come back they will contribute greatly.”
The women’s team now has their sights set on proving they are contenders in the league with the start of the outdoor season on March 21.
“The team’s score was not reflective of the team’s efforts,” women’s captain Jen Lin ’09 said. “A lot of sprinters have had injuries and are just coming back and are going to have a better outdoor season.”
Members of both the men’s and women’s teams will be training this week to compete in the IC4A/ECAC championships this weekend at Boston University.