On Thursday, a select group of athletes from the men and women’s track teams headed to Philadelphia for the 166th annual Penn Relays, where they shared the track with competitors ranging from high schoolers to professionals, including Olympians Allyson Felix and Usain Bolt.
Several Bulldogs took top spots in their divisions at the historic meet, which drew more than 22,000 entrants and 100,000 spectators over the three days of competition.
“It’s definitely an exciting meet,” Chris Labosky ’10 said. “There isn’t really a track meet, except for maybe the Olympics, that draws as many spectators. There’s a lot of pressure when that many eyes are watching you, it’s also cool to be around that many athletes that are so good.”
Anne Lovelace ’12 didn’t let the crowds get to her, winning the College Women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase by more than two seconds. Her time of 10.38.21 is a new personal record for Lovelace and is the second-fastest time in the event by a Yale runner (the school record of 10:29.40 was set in 2004). Although Lovelace already qualified for the NCAA Regionals, this time also would have qualified her.
Alexandra Cadicamo ’10 placed fifth in the 3,000-meter Championship with a time of 9:44.27, finishing just behind a Cornell runner. Her time was a new personal best and top ten in Yale history.
“I got pushed around a lot and ended up stuck in the back of the race fighting my way forward for almost three laps,” Cadicamo said. “Once I got up to the front where there was significantly less pushing and shoving going on though it was fun and coming in fifth there was exciting. It’s always good to get a good competitive effort in like that in preparation for Heps.”
In the men’s steeplechase on Thursday night, Matt Bogdan ’11 placed 14th in 9:17.08 and Nathan Richards ’12, who hit his knee on a barrier during the race, finished 17th in 9:27.31.
“Nathan and I have been able to just go to the front and run away with it in other meets,” Bogdan said. “There were 25 people in the race on Thursday so we had to work in a crowd which is something we haven’t had to do all year. It was not a great time but you could call it a learning experience.”
Jeff Perrella ’11 and Max Walden ’11 ran in the Olympic Development Men’s 5,000-meter race to finish 20th (14:33.94) and 36th (14:59.73), respectively.
The Elis found some success in the field events as well. Mike Levine ’13 finished third in the Championship division of the discus, out-throwing his previous best by nine feet for a personal record of 54.41 meters. The throw was the furthest by an Ivy Leaguer this season.
David Smith ’10 placed 21st in the Eastern division shot put with a throw of 14.61 meters and Eric DePalo ’10 finished fifth in the Eastern division pole vault with 4.80 meters. Rounding out the individual events, Reynold Holmes ’10 placed 20th in the Eastern division long jump with a jump of 6.78 meters and Adele Jackson-Gibson ’13 was 26th with a distance of 5.28 meters.
The Bulldog’s relay teams had a number of impressive performances against tough competition. The distance medley team of Labosky, Remi Ray ’10, Chris Ramsey ’13, and anchor Conor Dooney ’12 ran the race for the first time in the outdoor season, placing fifth in the College Men’s division, beating fellow Ivy League competitors Penn and Dartmouth with a time of 9:50.44.
“Three of our legs ran extremely well,” Labosky said. “We were on pace to break the school record, right around 9:43. If [Ramsey] had been on that day we might have had a shot to win the race.”
The 4×100 meter relay team of Holmes, Marty Evans ’11, Chris Stanley ’11, and Matt Bieszard ’12 placed sixth in their heat and 37th overall out of a deep field of 87 teams in the College Men’s division to finish five spots away from qualifying for the College final on Saturday with a time of 42.22.
In the 4×400-meter relay, Evans, Stanley, Bieszard, and David Soiles ’10 beat Brown and Dartmouth to place fourth in the Heptagonal race — an Ivy-only race — with a time of 3:18.74.
The women’s 4×100 relay team of Jackson-Gibson, Claudia Duncan ’10, Faith Briggs ’10, and Kate Grace ’11 finished 61st out of 95 schools with a time of 48.31.
“The 4×100 is always hard because they herd you like cattle, make you take off warm-up sweats really early, and give you little time to set up before the gun goes off,” Briggs said. “But the adrenaline is wild.”
The team of Grace, Allison Rue ’13, Briggs, and Duncan returned to run the 4×400-meter relay later in the day, held against only Ivy League schools. Their time of 3:47.01, helped by an impressive 54.2 split from Duncan, put them in fifth of seven teams (Harvard did not compete) and in Yale’s top-ten of all-time list for the event.
Finishing up the competition on Saturday, the women’s 4×800-meter relay team of Annalies Gamble ’13, Grace, Nihal Kayali ’13, and Stephany Reaves ’10 placed seventh in a field of 25 teams with a time of 9:02.17. The men’s team of Ramsey, Dooney, Andrew Esposito ‘12, and Ray placed 33rd with a time of 7:56.13.
On Sunday, the Bulldogs returned to Yale for the Springtime Invitational held on their home track amidst rainy conditions. This unscored meet was the last for some athletes while for others it was a chance to see where they stand and prepare for the Heptagonal Championships, which take place May 8-9 in Princeton, N.J.
“It’s all about two weeks from now,” Bogdan said, referring to the upcoming meet.
The Elis who have qualified will be sticking around after finals to prepare for the ECAC Championships on May 14 in Princeton and the NCAA Regional Championships in Greensboro, N.C. from May 28-29.