Winning isn’t everything. But if you can’t win, you can at least set a few records.
Setting Yale and personal records was a reccurring theme at the men’s and women’s track and field teams’ non-scoring meet at the Boston University Terrier Invitational this weekend, where both Bulldogs squads displayed all-around strong performances.
The men’s events kicked off with Victor Cheng ’08 in the 55-meter dash, earning fourth place with his personal best of 6.41. Later in the day, his performance in the 200-meter dash led to another personal best of 22.08 and a seventh-place finish. Cheng’s times in both events rank him No. 5 for the Bulldogs’ all-time indoor performance list.
Earning the Eli’s only first-place finish of the day, Eric DePalo ’10 won the pole vault with a height of 5.00 m, beating his own personal best of 4.80 m for the No. 4 spot on Yale’s all-time indoor rankings.
Jake Gallagher ’09 and Murat Kayali ’09, racing in their first track meet since their hiatus for training after the cross country season, also made it into the Yale record books for their performances in Boston. Gallagher, who won the 5,000-meter run at the same meet last year, raced the 3,000-meter run for 14th place and No. 15 in Yale’s all-time rankings. Kayali earned a sixth-place finish and a No. 8 Bulldog ranking for his performance in the 5,000-meter run, shaving off 46 seconds for his personal best.
“I think everyone ran really well, considering how early it is in the season,” Gallagher said. “It is a good start, and it is a nice bonus to have a good performance etched in the all-time books.”
However, other factors may have played a role in the improved Eli performances, as the banked track at Boston University is reportedly one of the fastest tracks in the country.
“It is considered such a fast track because the turns are wider and they have six lanes, compared to our four,” said Marty Evans ’11, who raced with the ‘A’ team that placed eighth overall in the 4×400-meter relay.
Also factoring into the results was the array of contenders at this weekend’s meet.
As a pay per-athlete and per-event invitational, the Bulldogs’ competition was whoever stepped up to the line.
“We competed against Seton Hall, one of the premier sprinting teams, but we were also competing against high schoolers and 80-year-olds,” Evans said. “As an unscoring meet, it was more about individual performances than team scoring. You were trying to achieve personal goals.”
The Eli women also competed against a variety of teams, with some of their competition having formerly donned the Bulldog blue themselves.
Ashley Nolet ’07 and Molly Lederman ’06 competed with the Air Time Athletics Track Club to finish in first and third places, respectively, in the pole vault, an event they championed at Heps during their Yale tenure.
“There are always a lot of teams at this meet, including regional teams that are great competition,” captain Elizabeth Calle ’08 said. “So, there is always someone to compete with you at whatever level you are. We use it as a benchmark for the rest of the season.”
The Bulldog women had several strong performances and personal bests that they can build on throughout the season as well.
Olakitan Awolesi ’08, coming off a double victory in the long jump and triple jump last weekend, finished in second place in the triple jump for her best individual finish.
Improving her personal best to 58.32, Mary Kuder ’08 battled 58 other competitors for a fourth-place finish in the 400-meter dash. Also improving on her best time for this season was Lindsay Donaldson ’08, who ran 4:52.62 in the mile run to finish in third place.
The 4×400-meter relay, run by the team of Kuder, Claudia Duncan ’10, Erika Mansson ’11 and Jennifer Parker ’11, also finished in third.
Both the men’s and women’s teams will compete this upcoming weekend on their home turf with hopes of setting more records at the Giegengack Invitational.