The men’s indoor track team struggled this weekend at the indoor Heptagonal Championship, the Ivy League indoor track championship.
Scoring in just 6 of 19 events for a total of 22 points, Yale finished ninth of nine teams — Navy competed along with the Ancient Eight. The Bulldogs earned no points in field events or individual sprints at the championship hosted by Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H.
The long and middle distance squads’ performances, which included a second place finish in the two mile relay, were the only bright points of the meet, accounting for 21 of Yale’s points. Cornell won the championship with 130.5 points. Harvard finished eighth with 34 points.
Assistant coach David Shoehalter attributed the team’s defeat to youth, especially in the field events. He said some of the younger athletes may have lacked “big-meet experience.”
Shoehalter said he prefers to focus on the triumph of the distance runners and credits their success to their coach Daniel Ireland.
“We’re getting strong in events that traditionally we’ve had some trouble in,” Shoehalter said.
Ireland said Yale’s distance squad was smaller than any other school’s distance squad at the meet and consisted of no seniors. Yet Yale’s distance pack improved upon its performance last year, when it only scored in a relay. Ireland said many runners ran their best times ever.
Dartmouth’s distance group was favored to win the meet, Ireland said. But the Big Green distance squad only scored nine points.
“The whole [distance] team ran the way we thought we could,” Ireland said.
Robert Dwyer ’04 took fifth in the final of the one mile race, setting a personal best of 4:10 in the qualifier and then running 4:09 in the final heat. Lucas Meyer ’05 and Robert LoBue ’04 were the only other Elis to place individually, finishing third in the 5000 meters and fourth in the 800 meters, respectively.
Dwyer said he accomplished both of his personal preseason goals: to break 4:10 in the mile and score at Heptagonals.
“Personally, it was quite enjoyable,” Dwyer said. “The distance group did quite well.”
The success of the distance runners bodes well for next year’s cross country season. Prevailing at Heptagonals, Dwyer said, is an especially good indicator of a team’s strength because the Ivy League is “respectable” in distance events.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we could finish in the top four [in cross country],” Dwyer said.
With few Bulldogs qualifying for final heats the first day, the team knew it would not place well. Dwyer said the team’s decision not to give up the second day showed character.
Dwyer said many Yale athletes did not perform to the best of their abilities and will be waiting to show what they can do at outdoor Heptagonals in May, which Yale will host.
“We had some bad luck this weekend, and that happens,” Dwyer said.