TRACK & FIELD: Bulldogs build momentum on home turf

Photo by Maria Zepeda.

After impressive individual showings two weeks ago in Boston followed by a week of recovery, the Bulldogs were back on the track on Friday and Saturday as the host of the 10th annual Giegengack Invitational, held in Coxe Cage. The meet is named in honor of USA Track and Field Hall of Famer Bob Giegengack, who in 29 years of coaching helped the Bulldogs achieve 183 victories and four IC4As victories, as well as four indoor and 13 outdoor Heptagonal championships

Although the meet was un-scored, both the men and women’s squads had remarkable performances. For Friday and Saturday combined, the men and women each collected first place finishes in seven different events and multiple atheletes qualified for the IC4As Championships and ECAC Championships.

“I think we had a pretty solid weekend,” Kevin Dooney ’16 said in a message. “The team seems to be rounding into shape nicely … [and it is] … looking forward to competing at the highest [level] with [its] biggest rivals at the next two meets.”

Dooney qualified for the IC4As in both the mile and 3,000-meter races.

Long-jumper Dana Lindberg ’14 started the weekend off strong for Yale, taking first place with a remarkable 7.05-meter jump and earning a spot in the IC4As. Another exceptional performance on the field came from Brendan Sullivan ’16, who continued his winning streak in the pole vault with a height of 4.8 meters, achieved in just two jump attempts.

Freshman phenomenon Marc-Andre Alexandre ’17 captured another first-place finish for Yale on Friday, coving 200 meters in 22.16 seconds. Alexandre’s legs were still fresh the next day, as he also placed first in the 400-meter dash in 48.09 seconds and along with Lindberg, Dylan Hurley ’15 and William Rowe ’15, won the 4 x 400-meter relay in a team effort of 3:18.57.

Although the Bulldogs had only competed in the 5,000-meter once before this season, the squad was led by Duncan Tomlin ’16, who took first place in 14:57.40.

The 3,000-meter race — the second longest event of the meet — was an exceptional showing for the Bulldogs. James Randon ’17 and Kevin Dooney ’16 finished less than a second apart, Randon in first with 8:21.26 and Dooney in second with 8:21.33. Both runners qualified for the IC4As.

This weekend was not the first time Dooney and Randon have run close together, as both are also top performers on the cross country team.

“For me training hasn’t changed a huge amount from cross country to track,” explained Dooney, who ran in the 20th SPAR European Cross-Country Championships held in Belgrade, Serbia this past December. “I’m aiming to run the 10K on the track outdoors, which is the same distance as our longer cross-country races.”

The women also had some exceptional performances at Giegengack, beginning the meet on Friday with solid results.

Emily Stark ’15 ran well in the distance medley relay and the mile run, and was impressed with the Bulldogs’ performance.

“This weekend, we won seven events in an invitational meet; we had six more individuals and relays qualify for ECAC championships. We also had many personal and season’s best performances, and most importantly we had fun doing it,” Stark said in a message.

Anna Demaree ’16 covered the 5,000-meter run in 17:42.17, her first time competing in the event this season. On the field, Karleh Wilson ’16 took first place in the weight throw and also qualified for the ECACs with 16.17 meters covered. The final first-place finish for the Bulldogs on Friday came in a tie among Megan Toon ’16, Lillian Foote ’17 and captain Amanda Snajder ’14 in the high jump, each clearing a height of 1.55 meters.

Another stellar performance on Friday came from the team of Grace Brittan ’16, Meredith Rizzo ’17, Delaney FitzPatrick ’17 and Stark in the distance medley relay, recording the fifth best time for that event in Yale’s history with a second-place finish in 11:35.06.

The Elis carried strength and momentum into Saturday, securing four more first-place performances. Mackenzie Mathews ’16 took first in the 60-meter hurdles in 8.94 seconds, tying her personal best as well as maintaining her third best time in Yale’s history for that event.

Shannon McDonnell ’16 took first in the 500-meter dash with 1:16.91, and Stark covered the mile in 4:58.56, recording a personal best as well as qualifying for the ECACs.

Emily Urciuoli ’14 secured Yale’s last first-place finish for the day in the pole vault, covering a height of 3.60 meters and also qualifying for the ECACs. Other notable performances came from Kira Garry ’15, who qualified for the ECACs with a second-place finish in the 1,000-meter race in 2:55.82, and Emily Cable ’15, who took second with an ECAC qualifying time of 56.97 in the 400-meter dash, despite having already qualified for the event in a previous meet.

Stark said the squad has been training hard since December, and that momentum is building.

“Having teammates with whom you work out everyday at practice in the same race as you can have tactical as well as psychological advantages,” she said. “You can tag-team a race, making a plan that will play to both of your strengths and weaknesses. Having another Yalie with whom you train gives you confidence on the line and helps to assuage race day jitters.”

Both Bulldog squads have much to look forward to and prepare for.

Next weekend, Yale will be back in Coxe Cage competing in a tri-meet against Harvard and Princeton.

“We get to compete hard against our Ivy League rivals,” Stark said. “It’ll be exciting to see how much our improvement as a squad measures up against some of the top competition in the league before we head into the Heptagonal Championships.”

For the Elis who qualify for the ECAC and IC4As Championship meets in March, the athletes will travel up to Boston to compete against some of the best runners on the East Coast before the outdoor season begins.

This Saturday, Feb. 15, the Elis will face Ivy rivals Princeton and Harvard in Coxe Cage.

Comments