While many Yalies were busy partying or papering, the members of the men’s track and field team were busy from April 22-25 at their two last meets before championship season commences.
Last Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the Elis competed at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Penn. Besides college events, the meet also featured several Olympic development competitions.
Then on Sunday, the Bulldogs hosted the unscored Yale Invitational. Both meets saw Elis fielding successful performances against solid competition from teams ranging from Army to Stanford to Ohio State.
Yale captain Rob Lobue ’04 said it is always great to go and compete against some of the best athletes in the country.
“We normally only see competition from the Ivies, so it is a lot of fun to race against some guys from bigger schools who are better athletes,” Lobue said.
At the Penn Relays, emphasis was placed on relay squads even though there were individual Bulldogs competing, especially in distance and field events, who attained notable performances.
The relay team that placed highest at the challenging meet was the 4×1 mile squad of Josh Yelsey ’05, Casey Moriarty ’05, Patrick Dantzer ’06 and Luke Meyer ’05. On Saturday, these four distance runners clocked in at a combined 16:52.38 in the Championship of America event. Their performance was good for 10th place.
The distance medley team was an additional success that Yale had in Philadelphia. The team ended up finishing 12th in the Championship of America distance medley relay (DMR) with a 9:52.37. The Eli DMR squad consisted of Bobby Dwyer ’04, Kevin Alexander ’06, Rob Lobue ’04 and Yelsey.
Yelsey said the competition for both of these relays was intense but the Bulldogs did not embarrass themselves.
“I was pretty nervous but I competed pretty hard,” Yelsey said. “We went for the competitive environment and it was a rush competing against some of these guys who run sub-four minute miles.”
At Penn, the highest placing individual athlete for the Bulldogs was jumper Jihad Beauchman ’06. Beauchman finished fourth in the Eastern triple jump on Saturday with his mark of 47 feet 6.25 inches. Beauchman also leapt with success on Friday when he earned a 12th place finish by hitting 6 feet 6.75 inches in the high jump.
Eoghan O’Dwyer ’04 had success on the field as well. O’Dwyer’s distance of 175 feet 1 inch in the hammer throw earned him 16th place.
Thursday, the first day of competition, was a day for the Eli individual distance racers. Meyer, who is ranked first in the Ivy League for the steeplechase, ran the 3000-meters and crossed the obstacles in 8:55.27, a new personal best for him. His time put him in seventh place overall. Meyer said he was happy about the personal record but that he could have run a smarter race.
“There was a pack that separated and I should’ve gone with them,” Meyer said. “There was good potential to run faster. I will know for next time.”
Dantzer also ran a strong race in the 5,000-meter. He crossed the finish line in 17th place with a 14:41.67.
At home on Sunday, Elis managed to achieve four victories across the gamut of events.
Alexander won the 400-meter dash with a 48.92. In the 400-meter hurdles, Shomari Taylor ’06 clocked in at 54.57 for another gold. The Eli 4×100-meter relay finished in the lead with a time of 42.54. Lastly, Jordan Chapman ’05 cleared a height of 4.70 meters to win the pole vault. The mark is his season best and places him in a tie for fourth in the Ancient Eight.
There were also two strong silver performances turned in by Russ Kempf ’07 and Brian Hanak ’07 at the Yale Invite. Kempf was second in the 200-meter dash with his 22.74. Hanak finished with a 9:27.04 in the steeplechase, which was also good for second.
With a range of successes at both meets this weekend, the Bulldogs showed how deep and strong they are as they begin gearing up for the Heptagonal Championships at Brown May 8-9 and for the IC4A’s at Yale May 14-16. Meyer said he is excited about the crucial upcoming meets.
“The team in general is looking really good,” Meyer said. “We need to go in with a positive attitude and lots of confidence, which we should do.”
Besides Ivy and IC4A titles, the Elis will be working toward qualifying for NCAA Regionals scheduled for May 28-29 in Gainesville, Fla. This weekend, some athletes like Yelsey, Lobue, Moriarty and O’Dwyer will be heading down to Princeton for the Broadmeade Invitational for some last shots before Heps at hitting NCAA Regional qualifying times. Lobue said he is confident that he will make the time for the 800-meter run.
“I have only run [the 800 meter] twice this season outdoors, but my time indoors would have qualified me for [NCAA Regionals],” Lobue said. “I’d like to get [the qualifying time] out of the way.”
Meyer is the only Bulldog so far to have qualified for the regional meet.
With next weekend serving as a break from competition for most of the team, the Elis will be able to start tapering and to make sure they are healthy for the meets that matter most.
“Most of us are fine tuning at this point,” Yelsey said. “If everyone does their job, we will be in the thick of things and we can make a statement.”
Lobue said he agreed with Yelsey, adding that the team wants to be in the top half of the Ivy League.
“Heps are our main focus,” Lobue said. “Hopefully they will come out a little better with score than they did last season. Most of us are poised to set personal bests and we want as many guys as all-Ivies. We are in great shape to do that.”
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