The men’s and women’s track and field teams took on heavy competition from over 65 other schools, including all eight Ivies, and many unattached runners and running clubs at the Larry Ellis Invitational. Despite the masses participating in the unscored meet at Princeton, the Bulldogs still managed to set personal records, score top finishes and inscribe their names on the Yale outdoor record books.
“It was the last meet to get really fast times,” Matt Thwaites ’13 said. “Princeton is traditionally a really fast track, and we had great competition.”
Kate Grace ’11 led the women’s team with a win in the 800m (2:05.48), knocking over four seconds off her previous season best, from last week’s Harvard-Yale meet. Grace beat 73 other racers and currently holds the 11th fastest time in the nation.
“My coaches said they hadn’t seen me run so well in a long time,” Grace said.
Four other Elis followed Grace in the 800m: Annelies Gamble ’13 (2:11.27), Gabriella Kelly ’12 (2:12.62), Sarah Barry ’14 (2:12.85) and Nihal Kayali ’13 (2:13.90). Kelly, Gamble and Grace, who are eighth, sixth, and first, respectively in the Yale record books, each won their own individual heat. Barry’s time placed her 10th all-time in Yale outdoor history.
In the 400m, Grace, who holds the second-fastest time in Yale history, took sixth in 56.49 while Kelly placed 10th with 57.00. Kelly moved up the Yale records list from 10th to fifth place.
Bulldog sprinter Emily Shulan ’12 took 25th in the 200m and 21st in the 100m. In their first 1500m of the season, Elizabeth Marvin ’13 and Melissa Chapman ’14, who Grace dubbed the “distance dynamos,” ran the 1500m in 4:31.34 and 4:32.84, respectively. The two normally run the 3k.
Emily Urciuoli ’14 and Emily Standish ’11 were the only two Bulldogs to represent Yale in the field events. Urciuoli took 10th in the pole vault, while Standish took 13th in the high jump.
“It’s nice we were able to show people we’ve been improving,” Grace said.
On the men’s side, Nathan Richards ’12 placed fourth in the 3000m steeplechase with a time of 8:54.15. Matt Bogdan ’11 finished behind him in sixth with a time of 8:58.09. The Bulldog duo beat all of the nine Ivy League participants, save Adrien Dannemiller ’11 from Cornell, who took second in 8:46.66.
“We were trying to run some fast times and qualify, eventually, for NCAA regionals,” Richards said. “I think I can drop down my time a little bit and hopefully race more for position at Heps.”
Off the track, Michael Levine ’13 qualified for the IC4A championships with his 50.13m throw in the discus, good for fourth place. Teammate David Smith ’11 took 11th in the same event.
Men’s captain Marty Evans ’11 placed ninth in the 400m (49.06) and seventh in the 200m (21.71).
In the longer races, Johnny Van Deventer ’11 finished the 1500m in 3:49.05, landing him 15th place overall, a spot at the IC4A Championships, and 13th in the Yale record books. Ryan Laemel ’14 and Thwaites broke 15 minutes in the 5K, finishing in 14:45.85 and 14:59.34, respectively.
“Almost all of the distance guys came out with [personal records],” Thwaites said.
In addition to fierce competition, the Bulldogs battled gray weather on Saturday and general irregularities in timing due to a computer malfunction. For the men’s 1500m race, the timing system broke down, meaning that several good performances and personal records were not registered. In addition, several events were pushed back without much warning.
“It was especially hard with the sprinters,” Grace said. “You’re in the blocks, ready to explode, and then you’re told to wait for 30 minutes.”
Members of the men’s and women’s teams return to competition at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia April 28-30, where, according to Thwaites, many Bulldogs will compete in just one event to compete in one last race before Heps.
Yale will host the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships at the Dewitt-Cuyler Track in New Haven on May 7 and 8.
“It’s all about preparing for Heps,” Thwaites said. “We’re sharpening up, starting to feel really good, and getting ready to race.”