If an honorary game ball were handed out after each track meet, the recipient for the Giegengack Invitational this past weekend would indisputably be captain John Langhauser ’07.

In the last competition held at Coxe Cage for the indoor season, Langhauser broke the school record in the shot put in his final throw of the day with an impressive toss of 17.88 meters. After coming close in the meet two weeks prior, he finally surpassed Jim Fuchs’s 57-year-old school record by 31 centimeters.

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Langhauser said he wanted to make his last appearance at Coxe Cage a memorable one, and he definitely succeeded.

“I was overjoyed,” Langhauser said. “I couldn’t help but jump into the air like an idiot. It was amazing, and I really appreciated having my parents, teammates and friends on hand to see it.”

With this throw, he achieved a provisional NCAA qualifying mark. The senior captain also placed fourth in the weight throw (16.10 meters). Langhauser’s success in the field inspired the rest of the men’s track team to push themselves toward success in their own events, teammates said.

“He has put in so much work over the past few years, and his dedication and hard work have really been paying off,” distance runner Brian Gertzen ’07 said. “I think he still has a lot to show the Ivy League as he continues to dominate that event as well as do well in the weight throw.”

The men’s and women’s track teams hosted the Giegengack Invitational, an annual meet held in early February, in order to bring together numerous top competitors and challenge each athlete in his respective event. Over 10 colleges and universities participated in the meet along with a few athletes who were collegiately unassociated. Numerous Elis on each team seized the opportunity to improve upon individual times and distances and reach qualifying requirements for postseason.

The distance events had several outstanding performances, including Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes in America (IC4A) championship qualifying times for Jake Gallagher ’09, Tadhg O’Callaghan ’08 and Murat Kayali ’09 in the mile run. The three runners finished fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively. Finishing with an IC4A qualifying time of 9:54.82, the distance medley relay team grabbed one of the few first place wins for the Bulldogs. In the 1,000-meter run, Gertzen ran for an IC4A qualifying time of 2:27.30 and finished third.

With the Heptagonal Championships looming in the back of their minds, the Bulldogs used this meet to get geared up for the Ivy-wide competition to be held in New York on Feb. 17-18.

“Coach Shoehalter had designed this weekend’s meet for the specific purpose of giving us a chance to prepare for Heps by running a meet with good competition and spanning the meet over a two day period,” long jumper Reynolds Holmes ’10 said.

Other top performers from this weekend include Sam Fox ’09, who won the high jump (1.96m); Holmes, who placed second in the long jump (7.06m, qualifying for IC4As); Eric DePalo ’10, who was third in the pole vault (4.80m); Dan O’Brien ’08, who was third in the 60-meters hurdles (8.23); and Russell Kempf ’07, who placed fifth in the 200-meter dash (22.12s, qualifying for IC4As).

With the next meet this Saturday against Ivy League rivals Princeton and Harvard, the Elis look to transition back from individual goals to a more team-oriented strategy. Princeton always fields a solid team and should bring a lot of tough competition, teammates said.

“If things go well for us, we have a good chance of coming out of this meet on top, which would be a huge boost as we begin to prepare for the Ivy League Championship meet in a few weeks,” Gertzen said.

With time ticking down to postseason competition, the women’s track team also got down to business this past weekend and posted numerous Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) championship qualifying times. The Elis were unable to nab a single first place finish, but several athletes placed in the top five in their events.

“The team did well this week with several girls and relays qualifying for ECACs,” pole-vaulter Ashley Nolet ’07 said. “Everyone’s been working really hard this season, so it was great to see some of the hard work pay off.”

Nolet placed second in the pole vault with a height of 3.60 meters. Teammate Lindsay Donaldson ’08 also placed second in the mile run with a time of 4:49.23.

Demonstrating the Bulldogs’ impressive depth on the track, the distance medley relay team finished third and the 4×400-meter relay team placed fourth. Both teams posted ECAC qualifying times. Captain Katie Dlesk ’07, who runs in both events, said the relays are falling into place this year.

Other Elis to finish with ECAC qualifying times include Allyson Rinderle ’10 (5th, 9:50.54) and Katie Dewitt ’07 (7th, 9:58.45) in the 3,000-meter run, Claudia Duncan ’10 (4th, 1:15.82) in the 500-meter dash and Meredith Leenhouts ’08 (5th, 2:14.08) in the 800-meter dash.

Though team members were pleased to clinch bids in ECAC events, individual Yalies have only a few meets left to qualify for the NCAA Championships, held in March at the University of Arkansas. A trip to Fayetteville is the ultimate goal, but the women’s track team first must focus on the upcoming Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet in New Jersey this Saturday.

“As far as next week, the goal is to win on a team level,” Dlesk said. “Team score was not as important this past weekend, but it is the main goal at H-Y-Ps, so everyone on the team has to be prepared to eke out as many points as they possibly can, whether it means getting past girls in races or competing in more events than usual.”