Despite a slew of impressive individual performances, the men’s track team could not overcome Ivy League powerhouse Cornell this past weekend.
While the Elis fell to the Big Red 87-53 Saturday in Ithaca, N.Y., the Yale freshmen continued their streak of stellar contributions, with four different freshmen finishing in the top three for an event. Sprinter Kevin Alexander ’06 also had an exceptional weekend, taking first in the 200- and 400-meter races.
Cornell is traditionally tough competition. One factor which has contributed to Cornell’s perpetual success is its team depth. The Big Red has a huge roster and, consequently, the capacity to enter numerous athletes in every event without the risk of overextending its talent.
“Cornell was definitely some tough competition for us,” sprinter Chris Tingue ’08 said. “Cornell has a very good track program in general. They have really good strength in numbers, and they’re used to being on top.”
Despite Cornell’s dominance, the Bulldogs still have reason to believe that this year will have different results than the disappointments of previous campaigns. Earlier in the season, the Bulldogs downed Ivy League opponents Columbia and Dartmouth, and the Elis have had impressive showings in early invitational meets.
“In general, the meet did not go as well as we had hoped,” Eli captain Casey Moriarty ’05 said. “Cornell is probably the best team in the Ivy League, but this is the best team we have had since I’ve been here. We thought the score would be much closer.”
Much of Yale’s success came in the short sprint events, with outstanding results from the freshmen. Hurdler Dan O’Brien ’08 placed second in the 60-meter hurdles. Brandon Giles ’08 and Victor Cheng ’08 placed first and second, respectively, in the 60-meter dash. Giles’ time of 6.96 was good enough to tie the meet record in the event.
“For freshmen, their performances this season have been amazing and a huge boost for the team,” Moriarty said.
Alexander controlled the longer sprinting events, picking up first places in the 200-meter and 400-meter races. Alexander also competed in the 4 x 400 meter relay, where the Elis fell to Cornell by three seconds.
“Kevin Alexander won the 400 — he got pushed in that race, and he still won it,” Giles said. “He won the 200 also, which was impressive.”
Another area of Eli dominance was in the 3,000-meter run. Lucas Meyer ’05 placed first, defeating Cornell’s second-place runner by over twenty seconds. Brian Hanak ’07 took third place in the event to help rack up some points for the Bulldogs.
Jihad Beauchman ’06 led the field athletes with tremendous success in the jumping events. He placed first in the high jump, clearing 6′ 7″ and second in the triple jump, with a mark of 48′ 2″.
Yale partially attributed the loss to the fact that the team has been training particularly hard for upcoming meets. In anticipation of the upcoming H-Y-P meet and Alumni Weekend, the Bulldogs did not take time off to rest or recover from intense practices before facing Cornell, so many runners’ times were lower than expected.
“One factor was that we trained hard last week in preparation for the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet and HEPS,” Moriarty said. “As much as we hated to lose [to Cornell], the fact that we trained through the Cornell meet will help make us successful in the most important meets of the season.”
The Elis are looking forward to meeting Harvard and Princeton this weekend at home, for the dedication of Yale’s new track facilities. The Bulldogs will also take the time to rest and recover before this weekend, in hopes of lowering times and picking up wins against league opponents.
“We couldn’t really get it together this weekend, but we’re looking forward to the meet against Harvard and Princeton,” O’Brien said. “It’s probably one of the most important meets for us — Princeton’s a good team, Harvard’s our rival, a lot of alumni are coming back, and we’re dedicating the track.”