At the Sam Howell Invitational at Princeton Friday and Saturday, the men’s and women’s track and field teams faced limited competition against delegations from every Ivy League school except Penn.
The teams faced brutal weather Friday night and for many of the runners, it was their first meet of the outdoor season. The meet was unscored, but the Bulldogs notched several wins and experimented with new events.
“The meet was a chance to continue to get back to the groove of the season,” men’s captain
Marty Evans ’11 said. “We could take off the rust of not having competed in the last few weeks and make iuse of the hard training we’ve done since then.”
On Friday night, the weather report projected sleet. While the night remained dry, the frigid temperatures and huge winds demonstrated the difficulties of outdoor season races in the beginning of spring.
“It was a shock to the system to get in your uniform in 40 degrees,” Nihal Kayali ’13 said.
On the women’s side of the meet, Kayali took first in the 1500m (4:27.82) and the 3000m (9:41.14). With those times, she qualified for the ECAC Championship meet. Her performance in the 3000m was especially impressive, given that she had never run a race longer than a mile before Friday, and her time was the 10th fastest in school history. Though she only ran the race at the request of her coach, Kayali said it is possible she will run it again later in the season.
A highlight of the meet occurred in the distance sector. In their collegiate 5K debuts, Elizabeth Marvin ’13 and Melissa Chapman ’14 placed first and third, respectively (16:44.56 and 16:54.12). Both times were ECAC-qualifying.
“It’s a very good sign for the future of the distance girls,” Kayali said.
Other impressive performances included Sarah Barry ’14 in the 1500m, who placed third in 4:33.68. In addition, Gabriella Kelly ’12 and Allison Rue ’13 finished sixth and seventh in the 400m, while the 4x400m relay team finished third.
For the men’s team, the strongest race came in the 200m. Evans won the event with a time of 21.63 and was immediately followed by Matt Bieszard ’12, who finished in 21.79. Bieszard was coming off an injury saw the event as a chance to see where he was at with his training. His finish, within two hundredths of a second from his time two weeks ago, bodes well for his recovery.
Nathan Richards ’12 qualified for the IC4A Championship meet with his fifth-place finish in the 3000m steeplechase (9:04.76). He beat his previous time in the event of 9:04.97, which was 12th in the Yale record books. The men’s 4x100m relay team took second 42.16, also qualifying for the IC4A championships. In addition, David Smith ’11 placed fourth and sixth in the men’s shotput and discus events, respectively.
Evans said the men’s team aims to improve upon its consistency in the coming weeks. While it succeeded in garnering “scattered performances,” he said the team needs to focus on dependable, strong competition no matter the meet.
“Everyone is very committed not just to win at their races but also during the week and at practice,” Evans said. “The team has remained in focus and committed to what lies ahead, which is being at our best for the next few weeks.”
In two weeks, both teams will compete at Yale in the annual Harvard-Yale meet. This week, the women’s team will travel to Philadelphia to race against Penn and Princeton, while the men’s team will compete at the UConn Invitational.