Despite strong individual performances, the men’s and women’s track teams suffered losses at the hands of arch-rivals Harvard and Princeton on Saturday in Cambridge, Mass.
In the women’s meet the final score stood at 61 for Harvard, 58 for Princeton, and 40 for Yale.
The women entered the meet at an immediate disadvantage, lacking participants in the pole vault and the throwing events. Strong field performances by Harvard and Princeton thus forced the Bulldogs to rely solely on the track events to garner any points.
“We’re just short on the field,” head coach Mark Young said. “With no girls in the pole vault or throwing events, we were down a lot already.”
Despite winning only two points in the field, compared to 42 for Harvard and 22 for Princeton, the Bulldogs were the dominant performers on the track, where they picked up 38 points.
In the mile, the Elis crushed the field and took all four of the top spots. Each of the four runners completed the circuit in less than five minutes, a feat never before achieved by an Eli squad, and in so doing qualified for the Eastern Coast Athletic Conference Championships. The ECAC qualifying time for the mile is 5:01.
Kate O’Neill ’03 took medalist honors as she crossed the line in 4:53.29, followed within the next five seconds by Rebecca Hunter ’04, Laura O’Neill ’03 and Madeleine Meek ’04.
In the 3000 meters, the O’Neill sisters again ran excellent races as Laura O’Neill crossed the finish line in 9:51.43, less than half a second in front of Kate O’Neill, and more than seven seconds in front of their nearest competitors.
“I was very excited with both my races,” Kate O’Neill said. “I doubled in the mile and the 3000, which I will be doing at the Heptagonal meet in two weeks. Now that I have already done it once, I feel much more confident about doing it in the championship meet.”
The Bulldogs also attained ECAC qualifying times in the 800-meter race, 4×400 relay and 4×800 relay.
Rebecca Dickens ’04 ran a personal record time of 2:12.82 to place second in the 800 meters. In the sprints, Sikira Backus ’02 took first.
In the relays, both women Bulldog relay teams outpaced their early-season times. The 4×800 squad ran away with first place as they defeated the Crimson and Tiger squads by seven seconds in a time of 9:14.74. The 4×400 team finished third but recorded its best time of the year with a 3:54.53 finish.
On the men’s side, Harvard soundly defeated the Bulldogs by a score of 92.50 to 43.50.
“Going into the meet, myself and the coaches were extremely confident that this weekend would be a closely fought battle,” said captain Donald Carson ’02, who was sidelined due to a hamstring injury. “Needless to say, the meet results fell way below our expectations. Nothing’s more painful than losing to Harvard, especially when losing big.”
The final score did not tell the whole story for Yale, though, as eight of the men’s distance runners ran personal best times and three Elis were victorious in their respective field events.
In contrast to the women, the men’s squad garnered the majority of their points in the field events, 22.50 in total.
In a return to form, Anthony Thomas ’03 won the long jump on his last attempt of the day with a leap of 7.04 meters.
“I have been having a pretty rough season in this event,” Thomas said. “Saturday was the first day I really got back into the swing of things, but I’m still far from where I need to be.”
Carson said that Thomas’ victory is a positive sign for the upcoming Heptagonal Championships Feb. 23-24.
“It was clearly his best jump of the year,” Carson said. “It bodes well for his chances of repeating as Heps champ in the next two weeks.”
Allen Czerwinski ’03 and Adam Petrillo ’02 were also victorious in the field, winning the weight throw and pole vault, respectively. Czerwinski’s winning toss of 15.91 meters in the weight throw, an event the Bulldogs swept, was one of the most dominant performances of the day as he won by nearly a meter and a half over the rest of the field.
On the track, despite having a host of personal bests in the distance races, the Elis picked up few points. The Bulldogs did manage three second place finishes from Robert Dwyer ’04, Robert Lobue ’04 and Thomas Hocker ’02 in the mile, 1000-meter race and 500-meter race, respectively.
“It was tough against Harvard, especially in the distance, because they have a much more experienced squad,” assistant coach Dan Ireland said. “They are older and stronger than our distance squad, which consists of mostly freshmen and sophomores.”
The men’s and women’s teams now have two weeks to prepare for the upcoming Heptagonal Championships at Cornell.
Despite the tough loss, Carson said that he is confident in the Bulldogs’ ability to bounce back.
“I believe our team will rebound efficiently and surprise everyone come Heps in two weeks,” Carson said. “We’ve shown all sides of our competitive effort, but I am certain that the lows are behind us and that this team has what it takes to make an impressive impact at Heps.”