Under threatening skies Saturday, the Eli track and field teams took on rival Harvard at Dewitt-Cuyler Track. While both the men’s and women’s team lost in the overall score, several individual achievements from the Bulldogs highlighted one of their most competitive outings of the season.
The women’s team finished with 64 points, 34 points behind the Crimson, while the Eli men fell 87-72.
“Although I can hardly call a defeat to Harvard a success on our part, I believe our performance as a whole exceeded our expectations given our poor performances the prior weekend,” said captain Donnie Carson ’02, who was part of the winning men’s 4×400 team.
The Yale women once again encountered their season-long problem of a lack of field events, with no Yale competitor in four of the eight events. Sixty-six of Harvard’s 98 overall points came from the field events, whereas Yale managed only five points. Four of those points came from Lisa LeCointe ’03, who took second and third place in the long jump and triple jump, respectively.
On the track, the Lady Bulldogs fared much better, placing first in eight out of 11 running events, and scoring points in 10.
The women’s 4×100 relay set the tone for the running portion of the meet, with an easy one-second victory over the Crimson team. Continuing this winning trend was Sikira Backus ’02 who took first in both the 100 and 200 meters with her best times of the season at 12.15 and 24.85, respectively.
“Sakira is a real determined runner,” said Candace Arthur ’05, who came in second behind Backus in both events. “Even though she’s injured, every time she steps on the track, she runs to win.”
In addition to her two second place finishes, Arthur ran a strong leg on the Elis’ 4×400 meter winning relay team that capped off the meet, giving the Bulldogs 59 of their 64 total points from running events.
The women’s distance team turned in three first place finishes including Anne Martin’s ’05 in the 3000 meter steeplechase with a time of 11:17.45, and Kate O’Neill’s ’03 commanding 17 second victory in the 3000 meter. Hurdlers Katrina Svobda ’05 and Becky Rauth ’03 captured first and second in the 400 meter hurdles.
Captain Jess Thomas ’02 said she was extremely happy with how the women have pulled together as a team in the last two weeks.
“It was a solid improvement over the beginning of the season, and we really continued the competitive edge we displayed at Penn,” Thomas said. “We just need to keep the momentum going at the Ivy Championships.”
The men’s squad finished only 15 points behind Harvard — one of the top teams in the Ivies this year — with the Bulldogs bringing to the table a much more balanced attack.
Yale scored points in seven out of eight field events, led by Nate Lawrie ’04, who captured one first, two seconds and one third place finishes in the throwing events.
“We knew going into the meet we would need big performances from lots of people,” Lawrie said. “A number of athletes stepped up to the challenge, and I was just happy to be able to contribute.”
Other notable rising stars included Jordan Chapman ’05, who soared to two first place finishes in the high jump and pole vault, and Lucas Meyer ’05, who cruised to a Yale freshman record time in only his second 3000 meter steeplechase ever. Meyer’s time of 9:00.91 is the second fastest in the league this season, and qualified him for IC4As.
Thomas Hocker ’02, who swept the 110 and 400 meter hurdles, said a lack of bodies was a major obstacle for the Bulldogs.
“We were only 15 points away from them in the final standings, and many of their points came from the fact that they just had more people in each event,” Hocker said. “It’s hard to win when they have more people to pick up the trash points.”
Head coach Dave Shoehalter said this meet was the Bulldogs’ best competitive effort of the year, and has great hopes for the men’s 4×400 team in the upcoming Penn Relays.
“The 4×400 has been running times at the top of the Ivies, and hopefully we’ll be able to advance to the finals on Saturday,” Shoehalter said. “It’d be great for them to be able to run in front of 50,000 fans. It’s not something you get to do very often in track.”