TRACK & FIELD: Elis set records at invitational

On Friday and Saturday, the men’s and women’s track and field teams traveled up to Boston to compete in the 2014 John Thomas Terrier Classic Meet. Held annually by Boston University, the unscored Terrier Invitational attracts a large field of competitive athletes, many of whom the Bulldogs will expect to face in the Northeast Regional and Ivy League Heptagonal meets. With a renowned fast track and top-tier competition in front of them, the Elis were looking to make improvements from last week’s tri-meet — and that is exactly what they did.

The women, who competed on Friday, garnered an impressive number of season and personal bests.

“[This was a] terrific performance for the team. A lot of individuals ran personal records, [and] a lot of people were competitive,” said Kira Garry ’15, who had a stellar performance in the 3,000-meter race.

She said the team entered the meet prepared for BU’s fast track and ready to face professional runners in a number of races, noting that the high intensity environment would motivate the Elis to perform at their best.

Megan Toon ’16 and Lillian Foote ’17 both tied their high jump season bests, Toon clearing 10.6 meters and Foote leaping 1.55 meters. In the 800-meter race, Shannon McDonnell ’16 led the Bulldogs and captured a season record in 2 minutes, 11.62 seconds, to achieve sixth place, and was followed by captain Amanda Snajder ’14, who set her fastest time for this year in 2:29.89.

Other season bests set on Friday included Emily Cable ’15 in the 400-meter dash in 56.42, just narrowly missing her personal record set last season. Kristen Proe ’14 also recorded an impressive finish in the 400-meter with a time of 1:00.37, while in the 500-meter race Grace Brittan ’16 and Frances Schmiede ’17 posted their best times for the season with 1:19.84 and 1:20.30, respectively. In the 3,000-meter race, Elizabeth McDonald ’16 secured a season best in 9:54.91 and Anna Demaree ’15 followed in 10:13.20.

The women’s squad also racked up some impressive personal best times. Delaney Fitzpatrick ’17 ran the 800-meter in 2:14.08, along with Elle Brunsdale ’15 in 2:15.78, Rachel Jones ’17 in 2:23.74 and Alyssa LaGuardia ’15 in 2:24.53. In the mile race, Emily Waligurski ’17 led the Bulldogs with a personal best time of 5:00.21, and was closely followed by Chandler Olsen ’17 who also topped her best time in 5:06.67.

An especially remarkable performance came in the 3,000-meter race from Kira Garry, who not only outperformed her previous time by 15 seconds, placing 11th out of 89 runners, but also set the sixth-best time for that event in Yale’s history.

Recently coming off of the cross-country season, Garry explained how the focus of the middle- and long-distance runners’ track workouts has been primarily on speed rather than building up mileage, which is emphasized during the cross-country season. She did note, however, that this year the training mileage has been a little higher, and believes that factor has contributed to the runners’ performance. “Mentally, one of the adjustments is that this is a team sport, [even though] you still have your individual performance to focus on,” Garry explained.

The men’s squad, which ran on Saturday, also had a number of significant record-setting performances.

In his 400-meter dash debut, Marc-Andre Alexandre ’17 secured third place in 47.45, just two-hundredths of a second over Yale’s 400-meter record. Alexandre, along with Dylan Hurley ’15, Dana Lindberg ’14 and William Rowe ’15, worked together in the 4×400-meter relay to finish fifth overall in 3:15.30, the 12th-fastest time for that event in Yale’s history.

In the pole vault, Brendan Sullivan ’16 continued his outstanding performance streak of the season, taking first place out of 35 competitors with a personal record height of 16 feet, 4.75 inches, the fifth-best jump in Yale’s pole vaulting history.

Another personal best set on Saturday came from Duncan Tomlin ’16 in the 5,000-meter race with a time of 14:48.96. Tomlin, along with teammates and fellow 5,000-meter runners Alex Connor ’16 and Isa Qasim ’15, were consistent top seven runners throughout this past fall’s cross-country season.

In the 1,000-meter race, Michael Grace ’15 continued to lead the Bulldog pack, besting his previous personal record by two seconds in 2:28.87.

Captain James Shirvell’s ’14 performance in the mile race was perhaps the most impressive for Yale at the Terrier Invitational on Saturday. Shirvell, who qualified for and competed in the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships last year, placed third out of 176 runners this Saturday in a time of 4:00.54, breaking not only his previous personal-best time by nine seconds, but also Yale’s mile record by four seconds.

“We don’t really take too much time off,” Shirvell said of his training for the mile race. “Building strength and speed … [makes] it all come together.”

Shirvell did not hesitate to mention his contentment with Yale’s performance at the meet. He added that he believes the team will continue to improve throughout the season, building upon each performance.

The Bulldogs are scheduled to compete again Friday and Saturday, Feb. 7 and 8, in the Giegengack Invitational Meet held in Yale’s Coxe Cage.

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