The men’s and women’s track teams bolted off to a solid start last weekend.

The Bulldogs racked up numerous top-three finishes against several regional universities at the Yale Season Opener at Coxe Cage on Saturday afternoon. The Elis said that the weekend — which showcased individual performances rather than team competition — showed a promising beginning to their upcoming season.

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Captain John Langhauser ’07 led the men’s team with his dominating win in the shot-put, throwing an impressive distance of 17.08 meters. Langhauser destroyed his competition, beating the second-place finisher by a large margin of 1.71 meters.

“The meet went pretty well for our team,” middle distance runner Chris Smitson ’08 said. “For the team as a whole, the strengths were that it appeared we had a good amount of training and preparation. We were solid all around.”

Another first-place finisher in his event, freshman Reynolds Holmes ’10 won the long jump with a distance of 6.88 meters. Yale’s Victor Cheng ’08 also placed in the top ten in the long jump with a 6.43-meter showing.

The only other first-place finish for the men’s team on Saturday was the 4×800-meter relay team of Sean McCusker ’10, Justin Thaler ’09, Smitson and Matt Bordoni ’08 with a time of 8:09.64 minutes. The foursome finished almost a full five seconds before the second-place Quinnipiac team.

The men’s track team had top-ten finishes in all but four events, demonstrating the team’s talent across the board. The Bulldogs also had an abundance of top-three finishes. The Elis had a successful showing, but they still feel motivated to train harder for their more challenging upcoming meets.

“The change in training throughout the season will help us,” Smitson said. “At this point, we are aiming towards the later and more important competitions in our season.”

The women’s track team started off the season with even more success. Four first-place finishes put the Bulldogs on the right track for a highly successful season. Katrina Castille ’07 won the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.45 seconds, while teammates Katherine Dlesk ’07, Meredith Leenhouts ’08 and Ashley Nolet ’07 finished first in the 400-meter dash (58.94), the mile run (5:13.12) and the pole vault (3.30 meters), respectively.

The plentiful amount of top finishers was especially impressive considering that the team trained through the meet.

“Everyone was sore but nobody complained,” Jocelyn Traina ’10 said. “Everyone was really positive and we made it through. It was a really tough meet because it was early in the season.”

Like the men’s team, the women had a number of athletes place in the top three. Ingrid Sproll ’08 finished second in the mile run, right behind her teammate Leenhouts, with a time of 5:15.15. Another pair of Elis, Jessica Pall ’07 and Maureen Lloyd ’08, took second and third place in the 500-meter race.

Team members said the women encouraged each other in their individual events and boosted the overall team results.

“Everyone showed up to cheer,” Traina said. “It was really fun. It was also good to see some competition because we have been training all fall and haven’t had any way to get benchmarks of our progress, so it was good to see where we were.”

The results indicate that the training has greatly benefited the team thus far, and that in the face of greater competition, the Elis should see similar success and numerous top finishes.

The freshmen on the men’s and women’s teams this season have already made big contributions in individual events and relays. Holmes, McCusker, Ted Galligan ’10, Eric DePalo ’10, Traina, Bailey Carroll ’10, Kris Baxivanos ’10 and Stephany Reaves ’10 all represented the class of 2010 well in their first collegiate meet with solid finishes in their respective events. This showing is very impressive, especially considering the transition the athletes had to make from high school to college competition.

“I run more in a day here than I ran in a week in high school, so that has been a big adjustment,” Traina said. “We lift a lot more than I ever used to, also.”

The meet allowed the athletes to evaluate the success of their training so far and to isolate areas that need improvement. The competition will be greater in upcoming meets, so the Bulldogs will need to get back to the track to continue their hard work in training.

The men’s and women’s track teams will run again next year in the Yale Invitational on January 12th and 13th at Coxe Cage.