Before heading home for a three week vacation, the men’s and women’s track teams saw some action at their first indoor meet of the season Saturday.
At Saturday’s Yale Season Opener, the men’s and women’s track and field teams snagged six first place finishes against nine local colleges and universities. As the meet was unscored and the Elis faced no Ivy competition, the teams saw the event as a chance to compete with little at stake before winter break, said two teammates interviewed.
“The expectation was not to run your fastest time but to get out there in a competitive environment,” Chris Ramsey ’13 said. “It’s a good rehearsal for when we get to the meets in the season that really matter for us.”
The men’s team showed particular strength in the middle distance races. In addition to winning both the 4 by 800 meter and the 4 by 400 meter relays, the men took first place in the 1000 meter as Michael Pierce ’13 clocked in at 2:31.90. James Shirvell ’14 won the 800 meter with a time of 1:54.06. Tim Hillas ’13 placed second in the mile at 4:15.14, just seconds behind Stony Brook University’s first place finisher Eric Speakman, and on the field, Michael Levine ’13 took second in the weight throw.
Last season, the Bulldogs lacked specialists in four events: the high jump, the triple jump, the pole vault and the 60 meter hurdles. New members Daniel Kemp ’15 and Kyle Bajtos ’15 competed Saturday in the 60m hurdles and high jump, respectively, and Paul Chandler ’14, who was injured last year, took second in the pole vault.
Having competitors for these events will give the team the potential to score points in areas it forfeited in the past.
“We’re going to be in much better shape than we were in last year,” Ramsey said.
The women, coming off of their strongest cross country season since 2006, dominated the long distance races Saturday. Led by Sarah Barry ’14, the Bulldogs took the top three spots in the 3000 meter, and Tori Flannery ’13, followed immediately by three teammates, was first to cross the finish line in the 5000 meter race. Flannery, who was injured last year, said Saturday was the first time these four runners had all competed in the event.
“This is a good starting point for all of us,” Flannery said. “Now we have times to work off of. It gives us an indication of where we are, our fitness level and what we have to work on.”
Emily Cable ’15, in her collegiate debut, ran the fifth fastest for the 200 meter in the history of Yale indoor women’s track. She placed second in the 200 meter with 25.56 and helped the team take second in the 4 by 400 meter.
Alexa Monti ’12, who took sixth in the 200 meter in 25.87, joined Yale’s all-time list at ninth. Monti also placed third in the 60 meter.
In the pole vault, Emily Urciuoli ’14 (3.45m) and Jenna Poggi ’13 (3.15m) placed second and third, respectively.
This was the year’s first competitive opportunity for much of Yale’s track and field team, who have been training over the summer and throughout the fall.
“There is a lot of excitement on our teams to get things going,” Flannery said.
But not everyone on the team competed in the meet. As the cross country season finished with the NCAA Regional Championships on Nov. 12, several members of the cross country team who also run track sat on the sidelines to rest before entering the new season’s competition, Ramsey said. The cross country contingent acted as a “good cheering squad,” Flannery added.
But even the coming break will not be entirely for resting.
The Bulldogs will go home over winter break and work through training plans outlined by their coaches to stay in shape for the season ahead.
“This time of year is really crucial,” Flannery said. “It is so important that we don’t loose any of our fitness from the fall and that we come back in January in top form, ready to compete right away.”
Upon returning to Yale in January, the Bulldogs will host the Yale Invitational on the 14th at Coxe Cage. On Jan. 21, they will face their first Ivy competition in Hanover against Dartmouth and Columbia.
At last year’s Ivy League Heptagonal Championships, both the men’s and women’s teams finished last.