The men’s and women’s track and field teams had plenty of reasons to be nervous at this weekend’s meet at Boston University. Not only was the contest their first major invitational of the season, but the squads also shared the track with one of the most notable American track athletes today — Galen Rupp, who finished second in the 10,000-meter at the London Olympics, competed in the mile.
The Bulldogs, however, showed few signs of nerves at the Terrier Invitational on Friday and Saturday. While the meet was unscored, Elis placed well in several events at the weekend’s premier track and field showcase in the Northeast.
“It was pretty awe-inspiring,” men’s team captain Tim Hillas ’13 said of competing in the same meet as Rupp. “I think we did fantastic.”
Rupp’s presence, coupled with what Hillas described as some of the best competition in the Northeast, made for a scintillating environment. Hillas said that it was exciting to see so many track fans in attendance, many of whom stood during Rupp’s run.
The Elis did not get lost in the excitement. The men’s team posted a day that featured times that broke personal records and approached Yale all-time marks.
One of the most notable Eli performances came in the mile. John McGowan ’15 placed 13th with a time of 4:04.70, only a quarter of a second off of the school record. Barely outdone, Hillas finished right behind his teammate in 14th, himself less than a second off of the school record.
Pole vaulter Paul Chandler ’14 continued his stirring winter campaign, again besting his personal record with a height of 4.70 meters. Chandler finished tied for fourth in the event. Last week, the junior tied a personal best with a vault of 4.65.
“It’s not just the one meet, but all the work you put in before that,” Chandler said.
Hillas said that the team achieved one of its goals in an unscored meet, which is to try to improve on personal bests.
Not to be outdone, the women’s team also achieved multiple top-five finishes in a weekend against top competition.
Women’s team captain Allison Rue ’13 said that the meet featured a wide range of competitiveness, from standout athletes to more pedestrian competitors. Rue added that this variety, as well as the seeding of events, provided all of the athletes on the Eli squad with appropriate competitors.
“Some of [Yale’s athletes], even though it was a huge meet, placed really well,” Rue said.
The Eli women’s two top-five finishes certainly fit that description. In the 500-meter dash, Shannon McDonnell ’16 clocked a time of 1:14.58 en route to a fifth-place finish in the event. McDonnell won her heat in the event, and the next fastest Ivy runner finished more than three seconds behind her.
The Bulldogs’ pole vault success did not just come from Chandler. Emily Urciuoli ’14 recorded a fourth-place finish on Friday with a result of 3.50 meters.
The men’s and women’s track and field teams will continue their seasons on Friday and Saturday at home at Coxe Cage in the Giegengack Invitational.