This weekend at the Indoor Heptagonal Games, the men’s track and field team finished seventh out of eight, an improvement over last year.

The Bulldogs notched 43 points in the championship meet held in Ithaca, N.Y. Princeton won with a team score of 159 points, beating the host and defending champ, Cornell, by 18 points. In 2003, Yale finished in last place with 22 points. While the Elis were still in the bottom half of the rankings, this time around, they were only nine points away from beating Columbia and Brown and finishing fourth.

Eli head coach David Shoehalter said the seventh place finish is deceptively poor.

“The team finish was not quite where we wanted it to be, but it was a much better performance than last year,” Shoehalter said. “We had some very good performances, particularly from the relays at the end.”

Shoehalter added that the two silver medals and second team All-Ivy honors won by Luke Meyer ’05 and Russ Kempf ’07 were well earned.

“Luke had a good run on his part, and Russ was tremendous,” Shoehalter said. “[Kempf] was very composed and calm — it was a very un-freshman-like performance. He will have a target on his back from now on.”

Kempf finished second in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.98 seconds, a season-best for him. Kempf also ran the 400-meter leg of the distance medley relay, which finished fourth.

In the 5000-meter, Meyer clocked in at 14:25.74, losing first place to Steve Sundell of Columbia. Meyer said he was glad to score eight points for the team but was disappointed he did not win as he intended.

“The race was pretty slow for the first two miles and then with 10 laps to go, Sundell picked up the pace,” Meyer said. “I stayed with him until the last four laps but he beat me pretty badly. I wish I could have challenged him more at the end, but I ran as hard as I could.”

Meyer said he was disappointed with the team’s finish but added that the changes and improvements are positives.

The Bulldogs finished second in the 4×800-meter relay with a time of 7:41.92, only a half second behind the Tiger squad. The team of Bob Dwyer ’04, Matt Boshart ’06, Josh Yelsey ’05 and Rob Lobue ’04 was named to the second team All-Ivy.

Lobue, who also ran in the 1000-meter, clocked in at 2:26.55, good for fourth place and four points for the team. He said he was disappointed with his finish.

“I took it out quick and led for the first 900 or 950 meters, but it was a little too quick,” Lobue said. “I seized up a little at the end and got passed.”

Lobue, the Eli captain, added that his team’s performance was somewhat disappointing as well.

“Things just didn’t come out the way we wanted to,” he said. “Some guys didn’t quite step up and really anything can happen in the finals of events.”

There were other significant performances for the Bulldogs. Rob DeLaski ’06 finished third in the 500-meter dash and Casey Moriarty ’05 finished sixth in the 3000-meter run, both earning points for Yale. Though the 4×400-meter relay missed scoring, it ran a qualifying time for IC4A’s next weekend.

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, their field athletes were unable to score due to the dominance of the Tigers and the Big Red in these events.

Though Yale finished next to last in the Ancient Eight, Shoehalter said he remains confident about the rapidly approaching spring outdoor season.

“I am pretty optimistic because nine points can be made up definitely,” he said. “Outdoor should play more in our favor because we have some good guys in events that show up outdoors, like the intermediate hurdles and the discus.”

This weekend, all of the Bulldogs who qualified for IC4A’s will travel to Boston, Mass. to compete in the regional meet. This could be the last meet for the indoor season if no Elis qualify for NCAAs.

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