TRACK & FIELD | Yale shakes off rust

The Yale men’s team captured two first-place finishes on Saturday at the Yale classic to open the new year.
The Yale men’s team captured two first-place finishes on Saturday at the Yale classic to open the new year. Photo by Sara Miller.

After returning to campus when dorms opened on Wednesday, the members of the men’s and women’s track and field teams had only a few days to prepare as a squad for this Saturday’s 31st Yale Intercollegiate Track Classic, held at Coxe Cage. While some of the winter varsity programs hold practices over the recess, the track and field teams do not and athletes are expected to hold training sessions and workouts on their own.

Still, members of both the men’s and women’s teams posted impressive results during this weekend’s meet, the first since the break. Though officials did not tally team scores after results were announced, the meet featured several standout performances from Bulldog athletes against competitors from across the Northeast, including UConn, Sacred Heart and Brown. The men’s team amassed two first-place finishes, two second-place finishes and two third-place finishes, while the women’s team earned two first-places finishes, three second-place finishes and a third-place finish. The teams each competed in 15 events.

“We really don’t consider score for something like this,” men’s team captain Tim Hillas ’13 said. “We kind of call it a ‘rust-buster’ just because everyone’s coming off break … but we did have some great performances.”

Eli thrower Michael Levine ’13 started off the day with one such showing in the weight throw. Levine, who was the only Yale athlete named to the men’s track and field All-Ivy first team last year, threw 17.96 meters, his best effort since his freshman year. Demetri Goutos ’13 was the only other male Bulldog athlete to win his event on Saturday, placing first in the 3000-meter run with a time of 8:40.26. Teammate Kevin Dooney ’16 finished close behind and third overall with 8:44.66.

One of Dooney’s fellow freshmen, Max Payson ’16, also put forth a remarkable showing on Saturday, Hillas said. While Payson placed no higher than fifth in the two events he ran, he posted back-to-back personal records at the 800-meter distance. He set a PR as the lead leg in the distance medley relay, then bested his effort with a time of 1:58.25 in the open 800-meter run — which took place roughly 30 minutes after the relay.

“One thing I am happy about is the competitive efforts,” Hillas said. “We just gotta continue being competitive during the races.”

While the men’s team impressed with a number of key performances, the women’s team also featured several notable displays.

“As far as I can tell, it looks like they’ve done their workouts,” women’s team captain Allison Rue ’13 said.

The women’s team equaled the men’s team’s tally of two victories with first-place finishes in the mile and the distance medley relay. Caitlin Hudson ’13 narrowly edged Williams’ Brianne Mirecki in the mile, winning the race in a time of 5:03.76. Yale seniors performed well in the event, as Jennifer Donnelly ’13 and Tori Flannery ’13 finished fifth and sixth, respectively.

The Eli women’s distance medley relay squad also captured a victory in one of the more dominating displays of the afternoon. The team finished the race in 12:29.02, more than eight seconds faster than second-place Central Connecticut.

The men’s and women’s track and field teams will continue their seasons next Sunday against Columbia and Dartmouth at home at Coxe Cage.

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