After a year plagued by anemia and a tumor on her heart, Vanessa Mazandi ’05 regained her place in the top ranks of the middle distance runners on the women’s track team.

On Saturday Mazandi and her teammates joined a number of runners from schools around the region to compete at Coxe Cage at the 22nd Yale Intercollegiate Track Classic.

In their first competition of the indoor season, the Eli women ran well, especially in the middle distance events. Mazandi easily won the 800-meter run in a time of 2:16.93, more than five seconds ahead of second place finisher Keisha McKinzie of Essex County College.

“[Mazandi] had a very good freshman year [but] struggled all last year,” head coach Mark Young ’68 said. “Saturday was the first real test … that was huge.”

Mazandi says although she coped with health problems, she is once again in “perfect health.”

She was quick to praise the efforts of the rest of the Yale squad.

“It was sort of nice to see my teammates perform well at this point in the season,” Mazandi said.

Ashley Campbell ’07 won the mile in a race in which three Bulldogs placed in the top five. Campbell’s time of 5:18.30 was just over a second better than fourth-place Nadia Sawicki ’04 and four seconds better than fifth-place Alex Sawicki ’04. Anne Martin ’05 led a Yale contingent that took second through fifth places in the 3000-meter run.

Bulldog sprinters Katrina Castille ’07 and Aisha Cort ’05 placed third and fourth respectively in the 55-meter dash while Katie Dlesk ’07 and Jessica Pall ’07 took fourth and fifth respectively in the 400.

“I think everyone was excited to go out there and compete after a full semester of training,” pole vaulter Molly Lederman ’06 said.

The distance crew won the distance medley relay and placed second in the 4×800 meter relay.

The Bulldogs also excelled in the field events. Lederman and Ashley Nolet ’07 took first and second respectively in the pole vault and qualified for the ECAC Championship Mar. 6-7. Lederman, who was second-team all-Ivy last year in both indoor and outdoor track, cleared a height of 3.80 meters and Nolet, whose personal record is 3.85 meters, vaulted 3.45 meters.

Captain Lisa Wygant ’04 grabbed third in the high jump while star sprinter Joslyn Woodard ’06 — 2003 All-Ivy in the 60, the 400, and the long jump for the indoor season — skipped the running events but placed second in the long jump. Dionna Thomas ’06 , fourth in the triple jump at the indoor Heptagonal Championship last year, placed third in Saturday’s competition.

“The Yale Invitational provided everyone with a greater sense of where they are at this point in the season — what they need to work on and where to direct their focus and training in the coming weeks,” Lederman said.

After nearly a month of vacation and only two days of practice before the meet, Young was pleased.

“That’s a really good place to start,” Young said.

Not all at the meet was good however.

“On a down note, Katrina Svoboda [’05] was doing very well and suffered a hamstring injury in the pentathlon,” Young said.

Mazandi said Svoboda is a key member of the track team and added that Stephanie Blake ’05 also suffered an injury, slightly hurting her Achilles tendon during the 400 meter dash.

The Bulldogs, who placed second to Cornell at last year’s Heps, hope to knock off the defending champions this time around.

“This team is going to win Heps,” Mazandi said.