With 15 mph winds and wind chills in the upper 20s, the men’s and women’s outdoor track and field teams may have hummed a line from “California Dreamin’” as they competed at the Southern Connecticut Owl Invitational on Saturday.

Returning to New Haven after a week of spring-break training in California, the Eli men and women traveled across town to battle weather conditions and local competition, placing third and fourth, respectively, overall. Rhode Island earned the top place at the men’s meet, while host Southern Connecticut won the women’s meet.

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Despite the high finish from the Bulldogs, captain Dan O’Brien ’08 said the extensive spring-break training and the New Haven weather prevented many top performers from competing in their regular events.

“Right now, we are just trying to build up our base, so we aren’t as competitive,” he said. “It’s also not very smart to run in 30-degree weather.”

Marty Evans ’11, who placed fourth in the 400-meter dash, said the wintry temperatures and high wind speeds were most detrimental to the competitors in the longer distance events, allowing throwing events to bring in many of the team’s points.

Nathan Noll ’09 earned one of Yale’s two first-place finishes with a 50.32m throw in the discus throw. The throw was a new personal record for Noll, the third-place finisher at last year’s Heps.

Also in the discus throw, Jeffrey Lachman ’09 threw for a distance of 45.36m for third place. The trio of Lachman, David Smith ’11, and Noll took second, third and fifth places, respectively, in the shot put.

In the javelin, an event unique to the outdoor season, Kevin Hickenbottom ’09 earned second place with a throw of 60.50m, and Jackson Womack ’09 placed fifth with his 51.71m throw.

The only other first-place finish for the Bulldogs came from the 4×100-meter relay team of O’Brien, Victor Cheng ’08, Brandon Giles ’09 and Reynolds Holmes ’10 with a time of 41.59.

The Eli men earned several other finishes in the top five, but O’Brien said this particular meet provides little indication of how the Bulldogs will perform during the remainder of the outdoor season.

“This meet is almost a training tool because it is so close to home,” he said. “The next two weeks are really when we start and get into competitive mode. The next two meets will tell a lot more about our team.”

The Bulldog women also earned two first-place finishes at the Owl Invitational on Saturday. Bevin Peters ’09 earned a victory with her 4:45.42 performance in the 1,500-meter run, and Eve King ’11 won the javelin throw with a throw of 31.36m.

But King did not stop there. She carried on her momentum to place third in the high jump and sixth in the 100-meter hurdles, contributing 16 points to Yale’s 84-point total.

With King’s contribution, freshmen accounted for over half of the Bulldog women’s total points with their strong individual performances.

Jennifer Parker ’11 ran in the 400-meter dash for her personal best of 59.39, earning a fourth-place finish. Emily Standish ’11 earned fifth place in both the high and triple jumps, and Stephanie Scaramella ’11 finished second in the shot put and sixth in the discus throw. Rachel Kuschner ’11 placed fourth in the shot put, and Lydia Maurer ’11 finished third in the discus and fourth in the javelin.

King said she thinks the freshmen were able to have such an impact since many team members used the meet to experiment with different events.

“It is really early in the outdoor season, and it wasn’t ideal conditions, so people tried to do new and different events,” she said. “It wasn’t a typical meet.”

Rounding out the Bulldogs’ total were three second-place finishes from Meredith Leenhouts ’08 in the 400-meter dash, Jennifer Lin ’09 in the 400-meter hurdles and the Eli team in the 4×100-meter relay.

Continuing their outdoor season next week, the men’s and women’s teams will both divide team members to attend two separate meets each, focusing on individual event performances, Evans said. Half of each team will travel to Williamsburg, Va. to compete in the Colonial Relays, while the other half will compete in Princeton, N.J. at the Princeton Invitational.