The California sun may lull the minds of some people into complacency, but it helped the men’s track and field team gear up for the outdoor season.
Training for much of their spring break at the University of California, Irvine, the Bulldogs opened their outdoor season last Saturday with the UCI Collegiate Classic, finishing fourth with 83.5 points. Although Yale put up some solid performances across the board, host UCI won the meet with a score of 204.5, followed closely by Air Force’s 202. On March 6-7, the Bulldogs wrapped up their indoor season with a successful meet at IC4A’s, where they finished twelfth with 20 points. The only Ivy League team to best them was Cornell.
In preparation for their first meet of the outdoor season, the Elis trained twice a day. According to sprinter Russ Kempf ’07, these practices were challenging, as well as valuable for the outdoor season as a whole.
“It was tough to come back to hard workouts after tapering at the end of indoor,” Kempf said. “We increased the volume and intensity of the workouts a lot.”
At the UCI Collegiate Classic, the Elis had two top three performances in field events — one from jumper Jihad Beauchman ’06 and one from thrower John Langhauser ’07. Beauchman cleared 2.00 meters in the high jump, earning him a second place finish. Langhauser launched the discus 44.85 meters to finish third. This was the first discus competition for Langhauser this year as the event is limited to the outdoor track and field season.
After working out intensely for many days, a number of Bulldogs finished fourth, matching their team’s overall finish. In the hammer throw, Eoghan O’Dwyer ’04 finished with a mark of 50.94 meters. In the 3000-meter steeplechase, another event that is only held outdoors, Brian Hanak ’07 ran a time of 9:45.53. Josh Yelsey ’05 and Bob Dwyer ’04, two Eli veterans, put up strong races. Yelsey ran a 3:49.54 for the 1500-meter while Dwyer clocked in at 1:55.81 for the 800-meter. Kempf, the lone sprinter to finish in the top four, clocked in at 21.81 for the 200-meter dash. He broke his personal best record by almost a quarter of a second.
“I felt good with my race especially because your legs are supposed to feel terrible after training so much,” Kempf said. “I am definitely happy with my time.”
Two Eli relay squads added to the fourth place carnival. The 4×100-meter relay ran a 42.89, while the 4×400-meter squad ran a 3:17.61. The Bulldogs had a number of strong fifth place finishes as well, including Shomari Taylor ’06 in the 400-meter hurdles, Jordan Chapman ’05 in the pole vault and Kevin Alexander ’06 in the 400-meter dash.
Captain Robert Lobue ’04 said the meet was a good change of pace because of the opportunity to compete against Air Force and UCI, two seldom seen opponents.
“The meet went pretty well,” Lobue said. “A lot of guys competed in events they aren’t usually in and they did well.”
Although Lobue said he was not pleased with his individual performance in the 1500-meter run at UCI, he did say he was happy about his race IC4A’s, where he finished fourth in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:51.45. Two other Elis also competed well and ran in the finals. Luke Meyer ’05 came in third in the 5000-meter with a time of 14:13.73, and Yelsey ended up seventh in the mile run, posting a time of 4:13.01.
Lobue said he was also pleased with the Bulldog relays at IC4A’s because individuals stepped up for the competition. The 4×800-meter squad ran a fifth place race while the distance medley relay team came in sixth.
Though the outdoor season has begun, Lobue said that the outlook is the same as it has been all year.
“We were a little disappointed with how indoors ended, but we know we are better than we were last year,” he said. “We have high expectations and everyone is pretty excited to compete.”
This weekend, some of the distance runners will travel to North Carolina for the Raleigh Relays. The next important team meet is in two weeks, though, when many of the Elis travel to the Duke Invitational.