The Penn Relays begin on Thursday, and the Heptagonal Championships are only two weeks away, but all other events will seem secondary tomorrow when Harvard visits Yale.
Two weeks after teaming with the Crimson to beat Oxford and Cambridge in a biennial transatlantic meet, Yale’s men’s and women’s track teams will square off with the Cantabs.
The men’s team will be looking to build on a resounding 97.5-61.5 defeat of Harvard in Cambridge April 17, 2004, while the women will look to avenge a narrow 82-80 loss.
Distance runner Lindsay Donaldson ’08 said the team took advantage of the abundant sunshine this week and should be in top form tomorrow.
“Practice has been going really well,” Donaldson said. “We’ve had such a great week of weather. Everyone’s feeling really good and confident that we’ll have a strong weekend.”
Donaldson garnered a first-place finish in the 1,500-meter last week at Penn with a time of 4:29.24.
On the men’s side, it was sprinter Brandon Giles ’08 who was Yale’s top performer. The brash Giles won both the 100- and 200-meter at the Brown Invitational and is as confident as ever heading into the weekend.
“This week on the sprint side it should be pretty dominant,” Giles said. “They’ve been known to house a couple surprises, but they haven’t been so great this year. We’re feeling pretty confident going into the sprints. Especially for the sprinters, it’s like a long workout. I’ll probably only be racing other people from Yale.”
Giles and fellow freshman flash Victor Cheng dominated at Brown — Cheng placed second in both the 100- and 200-meter — and, at this stage in the long track season, hardly feel like rookies.
“Since we’ve been doing this for so long, you’re not really nervous before meets,” Giles said. “It just feels natural.”
Winning seems to be the only thing that feels natural for Joslyn Woodard ’06. Arguably the most decorated sprinter and jumper in Yale women’s history, the Bulldog star dominated last weekend for the Eli women, grabbing top honors in the 100- and 200-meter as well as the long jump. She won her three events against Harvard last year and will be looking to improve her numbers tomorrow.
Ola Awolesi ’08, who placed three spots behind Woodard in the long jump last Saturday, is still getting used to the Yale Blue-Crimson rivalry.
“It’s exciting because it’s Harvard,” she said. “In terms of competition, it’s not so big, but the atmosphere’s always different when it’s Harvard.”
Yale hopes that atmosphere breeds continued success tomorrow, though the men have few doubts about the outcome.
“It’s Harvard-Yale so it’s pretty important that we win,” Shomari Taylor ’06, last week’s winner in the 400-meter hurdles, said. “But they haven’t been that good, so it’s kind of like a tune-up. We just really wanna get some good performances in heading into championship season.”