At the H-Y-P meet this weekend, the women’s track team received all the incentive it needs for a rematch in two weeks.
Just one point separated Yale from Harvard while Princeton was far behind.
The Crimson scored 61 points to the Bulldogs’ 60 in Cambridge, Mass., and the Tigers trailed with 38. The Elis boasted a first-place finisher in eight of 15 scored events.
The Bulldogs’ disappointing one-point loss has not affected the women’s track team’s outlook on the upcoming Heptagonal Championship March 1 to March 2.
In the one-mile run, Kate O’Neill ’03 crossed the finish line first, two seconds ahead of teammate Rebecca Hunter ’04. Last year, O’Neill finished first in the 5000-meter race and first both indoors and outdoors in the 3000-meter at the Heptagonal championships.
Lindsey Finch ’03 said although the Bulldogs lost the match, she could see certain factors pointing to successful competition in upcoming matches. Yale will rematch both schools in the Heptagonal Championship event.
“We had some great individual performances,” Finch said. “We’re still really confident going into the Heptagonals in two weeks.”
Facing Harvard in the large championship meet will be different from this weekend’s matchup, Finch said.
“We expect to win a lot of the events that will put us in a better position,” Finch said.
Head coach Mark Young said because of the different scoring of championship meets than dual and triangular meets, the Elis can expect to fare much better at the Heptagonal event. In championship meets, the first six places score points, rather than just the first four spots in smaller competitions. And the Bulldogs will benefit from the 5000 meter run at Heptagonals, a race not run Saturday.
“The Heps will really be interesting, because there are teams like Dartmouth and Columbia that have really good distance runners that are a little short in other areas,” Young said. “Harvard has good throwers, and one very good long jump and triple jump person.”
Young said the Bulldogs will rely on areas of competition where other schools are weak.
“A lot of the events will be really close, and it’ll just depend on whether our strength at the front end will be enough,” Young said.
Finch said the team needs to stay focused and confident, disregarding the loss in preparation for the meet.
In fact, the loss to Harvard may aid the Elis in championship competition, Young said. During his four varsity years as a Yale track star, the track team won the Heptagonal championship four times. But Young’s collegiate teams never won a Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet.
“Maybe losing narrowly in an event like that helps to make people a little more determined,” Young said.
The Elis ran for several personal records Saturday. Hunter’s second-place mile finish beat her previous best time by seven seconds, and Laura O’Neill ’03 posted a five-second personal best with her fourth-place finish in the mile, as well.