While many Yalies spent spring break on picturesque ocean fronts and exotic islands, the men’s track team was sweating it out in Long Beach, Calif., training for the first meet of the outdoor portion of the 2005 campaign. The hard work paid off, as the team began its quest for an Ivy League title on a positive note Saturday, placing fifth (123 points) in a competitive 10-team field at the Long Beach Classic.

Cornell, the only other Ivy team to participate in the meet, placed first with 173 points.

“The team performed really well given that we did a lot of training the week before,” said Jihad Beauchman ’06, who won the high jump and placed second in the triple jump in Long Beach. “A lot of people were sore and beaten up from all the hard work, so I thought we did really well given that fact.”

Beauchman (2.10 m) topped Kent Centers of University of California, Santa Barbara (2.00 m) for the high jump, while being edged by Rayon Taylor of Cornell (15.16 m to 14.56 m) in the triple jump.

Yale also got wins from Dan O’Brien ’08 in the 110-meter hurdles and from the 4 x 100 relay team of Brandon Giles ’08, Victor Cheng ’08, Kevin Alexander ’06 and Russ Kempf ’07. O’Brien (15.32) scored an individual victory over the Big Red with a .20-second advantage over Aaron Merrill. The 4 x 100 team also topped Cornell, finishing in 41.87 to the Big Red’s 42.33.

Individually, Kempf and Cheng performed well, placing second and third, respectively, in the 100-meter. For Kempf, who missed the entire indoor season due to injury, it was just good to be running again.

“After missing the whole indoor season, I’m just looking to get back out and stay healthy,” Kempf said. “[11.12] was a slow time. I’m just trying to get back out right now.”

Thinking more long term, however, Kempf has lofty goals for the team.

“We should do a lot better than last year,” he said. “There’s more events that favor our team, such as the 4 x 100. I would say we are the favorites in that. We’re a lot better in the sprints than we have been in a long time at Yale.”

Giles, Kempf’s teammate on the vaunted 4 x 100 team, shared Kempf’s high expectations for Yale, which placed fourth at the indoor Heptagonals at Harvard in February.

“I think our sprint relay team and our relays are going to be very good,” Giles said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to place higher at Heps. We have a lot of depth in the short sprints and we could send three people to the finals at Heps in the 100-meter, 200-meter and 400-meter. And I’m expecting big things from the relay team.”

Beauchman, whose personal goal for the season is to break the outdoor record in the triple jump — the only Yale high jump or triple jump record he does not already own — said that a top-three finish for the Elis at Heps is well within reach.

“Its an achievable goal and if we perform as we should, it shouldn’t be a problem,” he said.

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