TRACK | Elis last at Heps

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Photo by David Demres.

Despite a slew of ECAC and IC4A-qualifying performances, the men’s and women’s track and field teams fell far short of an Ivy League title, placing last in the annual Heptagonal Championships in New York last weekend. Princeton won the meet with 128 points on the women’s side and 215 on the men’s side, to Yale’s 24 and 25, respectively.

“It was a disappointing meet overall,” men’s captain Marty Evans ’11 said. “But there were some shining stars and very inspiring performances that we’re going to rally around to catapult us into the outdoor season.”

For the women, Kate Grace ’11 once again displayed her running chops, winning the 800m at the Heptagonal Championships for the third consecutive year. She ran the race in 2:05.37, the fastest she has ever run the event at the championship meet. Her previous best time at the meet was 2:07.77.

Just an hour after finishing the 800m, Grace joined Nihal Kayali ’13, Sarah Barry ’14 and Annelies Gamble ’13 on the 4x800m relay team. They finished in third with a time of 8:44.54 and were the fastest Yale team to run the relay in 25 years. Grace ran her leg in 2:03, which bodes well for the upcoming ECAC and NCAA championships.

“There were really good chances for individuals to do very well,” Grace said. “We were banking on individual performances. In a sense, we achieved a lot.”

Kayali, who has competed strongly in several races this season, including the 1000m and 800m runs, placed third in the mile with a time of 4:55.07. Elizabeth Marvin ’13 also picked up points for the Bulldogs with a 9:38.18 finish in the 3000m. Also breaking into the top 10 were Gabriella Kelly ’12 in the 400m, Gamble in the 800m and Melissa Chapman ’14 in the 3000m.

“There were many underclassmen scoring and making it to finals,” Grace said. “It’s a good sign for next year and future competitions.”

For the men’s team, Evans took third in the 400m with a time of 48.06, setting a personal record in the event. Evans also competed in the 4x400m relay along with Nathan Molina’ 11, Chris Stanley ’11 and Matt Bieszard ’12. The team finished in fifth place with a time of 3:17.12, just .04 seconds behind Columbia.

“Placing highly, scoring points, and having fun were the only things I was thinking about,” Evans said. “There’s nothing quite like the fun of doing well.”

Evans said that the performances of James Shrivell ’14 and John Van Deventer ’11 were particularly “courageous and inspiring.” In the 1000m, Shirvell came from the back of the pack to ultimately place second with a time of 2:23.85. Shirvell also became the fifth all time fastest racer to run the event at the league championships.

Van Deventer, who has been dealing with injuries since his freshman year, anchored the men’s distance medley relay, running the mile. According to Evans, Van Deventer began the race at a “risky” pace, but closed a sizeable gap and brought the team to a second place finish with an impressive 4:02.

“[Van Deventer] left it all on the track and had a truly phenomenal performance,” Evans said. “It’s a testament to the heart we all aim to compete with.”

The Bulldogs will compete in ECAC and IC4A Championships in Boston next weekend. The Elis will then spend spring break in Virginia to transition to the outdoor season. Grace and Evans both said that historically, Yale has been much stronger outdoors.

“We have to work on competing with no fear or no doubt in mind, no matter what performances our competitors have had in the past,” Evans said.

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