This weekend the Yale track team challenged local colleges in their season opener. The unscored meet, held at home in Coxe Cage, featured events against Southern Connecticut State University, Trinity, the University of New Haven, Marist, Manhattan College and Quinnipiac.

Yale men landed victories in seven of 19 events including both relay races. The combination of their victories and the five men who qualified for IC4A Championships in March after their races this weekend put the Elis on solid ground for the beginning of the season.

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“Results definitely reflected how hard the entire team has been training, especially among the sprint group, which has been working hard all fall without any races to point towards,” Jared Bell ’09 said.

Captain Brandon Giles ’09 snatched the third-place position in the 60- and 200-meter dashes. Marty Evans ’11 and Matt Biezard ’12 came in first and second places in the second heat of the 400-meter dash.

David Soiles ’10 showed another impressive performance on the men’s side, overtaking the lead runner in the 500-meter-dash and finishing with a time of 1:04.04.

“After this past weekend’s meet, I’m really excited for the direction that the team is going in this year,” Bell said. “We are definitely off to a great start, considering performances in this meet are usually taken with a grain of salt if they are poor and serve as huge encouragement if they are good.”

The women gained only two first-place victories in 19 races this weekend. This start to the six-month season was not as successful as the Elis had hoped it would be, but the women are maintaining an optimistic attitude about the season to come.

“Fall training has been really hard, and it’s good that a lot of the freshmen got their first college meet under their belt,” captain Jen Lin ’09 said. “I was impressed with how well everyone did, and we have a whole month to improve on the results we yielded this weekend.”

Kate Grace ’11 snagged a first place position in the 400-meter-dash finishing in 58.98, setting a Bulldog high for the rest of the day. Claudia Duncan ’10, Eve King ’11 and Bailey Carroll ’10 were also dominant in their respective races for the day.

“I had everyone write down goals and it was good to see that everyone wants to come together more as a team,” Lin said. “We have a lot of potential and although I don’t think it has necessarily been shown yet, it is definitely going to come out over the next month.”

Both male and female Bulldogs are looking forward to the Yale Invitational in Coxe Cage on Jan. 10, where they hope to win more first-place positions on the home track.

“The main focus of practices in the upcoming weeks leading up to break will be purely to get fitter and stronger and not lose that focus that we have had all fall,” Bell said. “Over winter break the goal is to come back to school fitter than when we left and for people who are currently injured to take care of themselves so that they are ready to get back to work before classes start up again.”