In its final tune-up before the Heptagonal Championships on Feb. 24-25, the Yale men’s track team took second at the H-Y-Ps Saturday at Princeton’s Jadwin Gym. The home team won the day with a score of 89. The Elis scored a 43, while Harvard rounded out the field with 38. The Bulldogs have this weekend off to prepare for Heps.
The Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet reaffirmed several positive things about the Bulldog squad that most followers of Ivy League track already knew. But what it did not do is prove that Yale can dominate formidable league opponents in a tri-meet.
Captain Jason Rife ’01 and his 4×400 relay team are heavily favored heading into the Heps. He won the 400-meter dash once again Saturday with a solid time of 49.45 seconds.
The 4×400-meter relay team has been a consistent winner all season, despite constant tinkering with the lineup because of injuries. The Bulldogs have been able to win this event with several different combinations of runners, a luxury that associate head coach David Shoehalter plans to exploit at Heps.
“Whoever is on the 4×400 team at Heps will be whoever is left standing when that time comes,” Shoehalter said.
This week, the winning formula was Rife, Don Carson ’02, Tom Hocker ’02 and Tom Stout ’02. Regular in the lineup Zach Boisi ’01 sat out this time because of a sore back. Yale outpaced the second-place Princeton squad by more than two seconds with a time of 3:18.35.
Rob Doyle ’01 did what was asked of him again this weekend, winning the 3,000-meter run with a time of 8:25.43. This comes just two weeks after he gained a provisional berth in the NCAA Championships by breaking an 18-year-old school record in the 3,000-meter — a record he thinks he can break again when given another chance to run that race on a fast track.
In the field events, sophomore Anthony Thomas continued to be a mainstay for the Elis in the winners’ circle. He reasserted his dominance in the long jump with a first-place leap of 7.12 meters. Thomas also competed in the triple jump for the first time this year, placing fourth — gaining a point for his team and posting a personal best.
“Yale doesn’t have any triple jumpers, so the coaches and I thought I would give it a try,” Thomas said. “In the tri-meets, we need points anywhere we can get them.”
Again and again, the Bulldogs have been outmanned in tri-meets. They failed to win a tri-meet all indoor season. While the Tigers won 12 events overall to the Bulldogs’ four, it was their flood of second-, third- and fourth-place finishers that made the margin of victory so vast. The Crimson squad also appeared to outnumber the Elis, yet the Cantabs were unable to put points on the board.
“I was expecting Harvard to be more competitive,” Thomas said.
In two weeks, Cambridge will be the site of the Heps, a championship the Bulldogs have not won since the 1960s. Going into this year’s competition, Yale and Princeton are tied in their number of Heps titles, and Rife foresees an exciting weekend.
“I can’t find the points right now for us to be able to beat Princeton [at Heps],” Rife said. “But it’s going to be particularly close this year — Princeton, Penn, Dartmouth and Navy are all right up there with us in the top tier of competitors.”
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