This past Saturday, as most Yalies were making plans to return from spring break, the men’s and women’s track teams packed their bags and traveled to Williamsburg, Va., to compete in the Tribe Invitational at William and Mary College. The Bulldogs came off a week of hard training over break to out-run, out-jump and out-throw five other collegiate teams in their season opener.
“The great week of training, change of location and great weather made it a great meet for everyone,” triple-jumper Yifan Chen ’12 said.
Chen took first in the triple jump with a personal best of 13.55 meters. Teammates Mike Levine ’13 and David Smith ’10 placed first and fifth, respectively, in the discus throw, with Levine’s throw of 52.29 meters earning him a Yale freshman record. Levine also competed for the first time in the outdoor-only hammer throw, finishing second with a mark of 51.60 meters. Rounding out the field events, Eric DePalo ’10 took first in the pole vault with a vault of 4.50 meters and Reynold Holmes ’10 took third in the long jump with 6.91 meters.
The Elis made a strong showing in the sprints, with Matt Bieszard ’12 winning the 100-meter dash in 11.01 seconds while Holmes took second with 11.15. DePalo and Nathan Molina ’11 followed in fourth (11.25) and fifth (11.27), respectively.
Marty Evans ’11 won both the 200-meter and 400-meter dashes. Evans qualified for the IC4As in the 200 with a time of 21.73 and ran a personal record of 48.54 seconds in the 400 — four hundredths of a second off the IC4A-qualifying standard. Bieszard was second in the 200-meter with 21.96 and Chris Stanley ’11 took fifth with 22.51.
Ted Galligan ’10 was the only competitor in the 400-meter hurdle event, finishing in 55.43 seconds.
Matt Bogdan ’11 and Nathan Richards ’12 also ran without competition in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, both finishing with PRs and IC4A-qualifying times, Bogdan in 9:11.86 and Richards in 9:13.63.
“We had been training at an extremely high level all week, so running fast on Saturday was a pleasant surprise,” Bogdan said. “I paced us through the first two and a half laps and then Nathan took the next few, and we closed well.”
Kevin Brown ’10 placed fourth in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:55.5 7. Conor Dooney ’12 took second in the 1,500-meter run with a time of 3:57.50, closely followed by Max Brown ’11 in third with a PR of 3:58.23.
The Elis had a dominating performance in the relays, taking first in both the 4×100-meter and 4×400-meter. The team of Holmes, Evans, Stanley and Bieszard ran a fast time of 41.99 in the 4×100-meter to qualify for the IC4As, even though their only competition was the Yale B team of David Soiles ’10, DePalo, Molina and Josh Fuller ’13 after the team from Maryland disqualified. Soiles, Evans, Stanley and Bieszard came back to win the 4×400-meter relay with a time of 3:18.26 against a much deeper field.
The women’s team had a number of decisive wins as well.
Adele Jackson-Gibson ’13 won the 100-meter dash in 12.35 seconds in her first outdoor collegiate competition, with teammates Marieme Mbaye ’12, Alexa Monti ’12 and Emily Shulan ’12 taking third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
The 4×400-meter team of Claudia Duncan ’10, Faith Briggs ’10, Kate Grace ’11 and Allison Rue ’13 finished seven seconds ahead of the field to take first in 3:52.27. In the 4×100-meter relay the team of Mbaye, Jackson-Gibson, Alexa Monti ’12 and Grace took second with 48.58, less than a second from qualifying for the IC4As.
“We had everyone from high jumpers to milers running the final relay on Saturday,” Grace said. “It was a great way to end a tough week of training — as a team, forcing the last drop of strength from our legs — and it is a great way to charge into the new season.”
Annelies Gamble ’13 placed first in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:15.89 — finishing nearly three seconds ahead of the field in her first race of the year.
“This wasn’t my first time running the 800-meter, but it was the first time this year competing outdoors,” Gamble said. “My goal was to race well and hopefully win, I wasn’t as concerned with my time.”
There were a number of personal records on the women’s side as well. In the 1,500-meter run, Elizabeth Marvin ’13 ran a PR of 4:41.42 to finish second while Duncan did the same in both the 200-meter dash and 400-meter dash with PRs of 25.28 and 56.41. Grace, who specializes in the 800-meter run, finished third in the 400-meter with a PR of 57.68 seconds and fourth (25.56) in the 200-meter dash.
Emily Standish ’11, the only competitor for the Bulldogs in the 100-meter hurdles, finished six in 17.06. She also placed fourth in the high jump (1.55 meters). Anne Lovelace ’12 was similarly the only Bulldog to run the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing in 11:53.73 after stopping to put her shoe back on when the other runner stepped on it in the middle of the race.
Stephanie Pearl ’10 was sixth in the 3,000-meter run (10:33.20), followed by Liya Assefa ’11 in eighth (10:38.11) and Jennifer Downing ’12 in ninth (10:40.25). Bailey Carroll ’10 finished fourth in the pole vault (3.25 meters).
“Overall, it was a tremendous first meet and sets us up very well for the rest of the season, but it’s also important that no one peaks this early and that everyone will continue to improve throughout the season rather than explode now and more or less get stuck here” Chen said.
The next competition for the Elis is in two weeks on April 2 and 3 when they travel to Princeton, N.J., for the Princeton Invitational.