TRACK AND FIELD: Track preps to hurdle ivy foes

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Photo by Maria Zepeda.

The Bulldogs warmed up their 2014 season with 11 top-10 finishes in the unscored 32nd annual Yale Invitational meet. This weekend, they will begin scored competition.

At noon on Saturday, Jan. 18, the Bulldogs will take on the Dartmouth Big Green and the Columbia Lions in a small, three-team, Ivy meet in Hanover, N.H. This will mark the first scored meet for the Elis in the lengthy track and field season. Although early season competition against local teams has provided the Elis with preparation, the level of competition from rival Ancient Eight competitors will raise the stakes.

“It’s one thing to compete against schools from the area, whose athletes’ faces and names we don’t recognize, but the competition becomes something else entirely when you know who your opponents are and recognize the tradition in the rivalries,” Amanda Snajder ’14 said. “Our team responds well to that kind of competitive pressure so we’re sure to see some great performances from our group.”

Although Columbia has yet to compete this season, Dartmouth has run two unscored races and took first place in their first scored contest of the 2014 season.

The Bulldogs will own a slight advantage in the short sprints. Yale’s Marc-Andre Alexander ’17 ran a 6.94 60-meter dash in last week’s meet, while Dartmouth’s top performer and fellow Canadian, sophomore John Abraham, ran a 7.04 in the Big Green’s fist scored meet of the season.

“I’m really excited about the meet,” sprinter Andrew Goble ’15 said. “Running against teams like Dartmouth and Columbia in a historic meet is an exciting chance for us to prove who we are this season. We’ve been running well in the invitational meets, and now it’s time to see how that translates in these big-time scoring meets.”

In the middle distance — Yale’s evident strength this season — the Elis have a more decided advantage. The Bulldogs had three runners run sub 51-second 400-meter dashes at the Yale Invitational, while the Big Green managed to place just one runner, Phil Gomez, in the sub-51-second range. This even performance by the Elis lends an advantage to the Bulldogs in the 4×400 with the team of Alexander, Daniel Jones ’14, Dylan Hurley ’15 and William Rowe ’15 taking 3:19.88 to complete the event. Dartmouth’s ‘A’ team, on the other hand, finished the 4×400 in 3:22.85 last week.

In the men’s 3000-meter, Dartmouth holds the edge on paper, filling the podium last week with times of 8:15.15, 8:23.21 and 8:34.58. By contrast, Yale’s Isa Qasim ’15 ran the 3000-meter in 8:37.00. In the women’s 800-meter, Snajder leads the pack for the Elis with a time of 2:31.87, however, the Big Green’s top 800-meter performer finished the two laps in just 2:10.06 in December.

“Columbia is very strong in the mid distance and distance events, as their team is almost entirely made up of those event groups,” captain James Shirvell ’14 said. “Dartmouth has good individuals throughout the event groups.”

In field events, the Big Green will have a slight edge over the Bulldogs. In the Women’s triple jump, long jump and high jump, Dartmouth has outperformed Yale. In the women’s shot put, Dartmouth had four women throw beyond 11.62 meters in the 2013 Jay Carisella Track & Field Invitational, while Yale’s Kate Simon ’17 was the only Yale shot putter to throw at least that distance.

Saturday’s meet will be Dartmouth’s fourth contest of the season, Yale’s third and Columbia’s first, and will take place in Hanover, N.H., at 12:00 p.m.

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