While hosting the seventh annual Giegengack Invitational last weekend, the men’s and women’s cross country teams gained confidence in preparation for next week’s Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet. The Bulldogs had strong performances all-around, especially dominating the distance races, and took a combined 12 IC4A or ECAC-qualifying times.
Though the meet was unscored, Matthew Thwaites ’13 said it was the most competitive meet of the season.
“For a lot of people, it was a good chance to run fast times, get good marks, and throw far on a setting where the team score didn’t matter,” Christopher Ramsey ’13 said.
In one of the most impressive races of the weekend, James Shirvell ’14 completed the 1,000-meter run in 2:25.98, winning the race and breaking Yale’s indoor record. Following Shirvell was Julian Sheinbaum ’12 in eighth (2:28.93), who ran the race for the first time Saturday.
In longer distances, the Bulldogs displayed tremendous strength. Nathan Richards ’12 won the 3,000 (8:20.22) and Samuel Lynch ’12 came in second in the 5,000, besting his previous personal record by 43 seconds (14:35.61).
In addition, Matthew Bieszard ’12 placed second in the 200 with a time of 22.18. Captain Marty Evans ’11, who was notably absent from the individual races, was a key contributor to the two relays: the 4×400, in which the Bulldogs placed fourth, and the distance medley, in which they took second place.
“It was a good meet with good competition, providing people with good chances to get a good performance and to be ready for the championship part of our season,” Ramsey said.
Bieszard, Shirvell, Sheinbaum, Richards and Lynch all qualified for IC4A championships in March.
In the meet, the Bulldogs faced competition from Brown and Penn. While the results for most races were neck-and-neck, the Bulldogs learned they still have some work to do in the mile: the Quakers and Bears finished six runners before Yale’s first racer came in.
“It’s really important to fight through everything, whether it’s the last mile of a 5K or the last 50 meters of the 500,” Thwaites said. “You can pick up a lot of points that way. That’s how a meet can be won.”
The women’s team trimmed time from traditionally strong events, such as the 800, and proved their prowess in middle- and long-distance races.
“As a team, we wanted to get some good times in because we have some very big races coming up,” Elizabeth Marvin ’13 said.
Continuing her record-breaking run in the 800, Kate Grace ’11 knocked another two seconds off her time, winning the event in 2:06.94, a season-best time. Teammate Nihal Kayali ’13 finished in fourth (2:11.86), the eighth-fastest time by a Yale athlete. In the past two meets, Kayali has set records in other events and stands in fourth place in Yale history for the one mile and 1,000 meter runs.
“I know that ultimately the mile is what I want to be working on, but we didn’t know if I’d be fit enough [after her injured cross country season],” Kayali said. “We wanted to ease into it.”
Marvin won the 3,000 by three seconds, completing the race in 9:50.34. Melissa Chapman ’14 finished just after, taking third in 9:57.13. Another freshman, Sarah Barry ’14, came within a third of a second of first place, finishing the 1,000 in 2:53.99.
The 4×400 relay team placed third, but perhaps more impressively, the distance medley came in first. The team, composed of Grace, Gabriella Kelly ’12, Barry and Kayali, finished 14 seconds ahead of the next group — Yale’s second relay team.
In addition, Emily Standish ’11 placed second in the high jump (1.60 m), and Allison Rue ’13, Annalies Gamble ’13 and Kelly repeated their 3, 4, 5 finish in the 500 (1:16.55, 1:17.36, 1:17.86).
“This is where it’s crucial that everyone performs to the best of their ability,” Kayali said. “There is no room for error in the next two weeks.”
Grace, Kayali, Marvin, Chapman, Barry and both relay teams qualified for ECAC championships.
Yale competed against around 15 other neighboring schools, including Brown. The Bulldogs bested the Bears in five of the eight track events, though Brown showed its dominance in field events, notching wins in the long jump and pole vault.
The Elis raced at Coxe Cage, their home stadium, which the Bulldogs said gave the meet an air of familiarity and an opportunity for friends to come and watch.
“There’s a certain comfort to racing at home — it’s one less factor to worry about,” Kayali said.
Both teams will next compete in the Harvard-Yale-Princeton tri-meet at Coxe Cage next Saturday. Harvard and Princeton are both very strong teams, but the Bulldogs, buoyed by a boost of confidence from this meet, said they are ready to show them some good competition.
“We want to show that we’re ready to give Harvard and Princeton a run for their money this weekend,” Marvin said.