The men’s and women’s track teams each collected four first-place finishes this weekend against teams that included Sacred Heart, St. Joseph’s and Ivy League rival Penn, as they hosted the eighth annual Giegengack Invitational at Coxe Cage.
On Friday, the highlight for the men’s team was a podium-sweeping performance in the 5000-meter run. Isa Qasim ’15 took first in the event, with Matthew Thwaites ’13 and Kevin Lunn ’13 following just behind him in second and third. All three Eli runners set personal best times as they distanced themselves from the rest of the field.
“It’s great to see the hard work that the team has been putting in start to pay off,” Qasim said. “I am pleased with how I ran, and I am looking forward to going faster next week at Harvard. Everyone on the team ran well. It was awesome to see everyone looking so strong.”
Friday also found weight thrower Mike Levine ’13 bounce back from a disappointing ninth place performance last week at the Terrier Invitational in Boston and finish first with a throw of 16.87 meters. Levine said that while he could have thrown even farther, he was pleased with his performance and the win. He added that the team still needs to work hard to be successful next week against Harvard and Princeton. In addition to Levine’s success, captain Matthew Bieszard ’12 earned second place in the 200-meter dash, as did Dana Linberg ’14 in the long jump.
The second day of the invitational proved equally successful for the Bulldogs. Both Paul Chandler ’14 and Michael Pierce ’13 had first place finishes — Chandler in the pole vault and Pierce in the mile run.
“Most of us were asked to run two or three events this weekend to prepare us for the two day/trial-and-final structure of the [Ivy League Heptagonal Championships], and the results were definitely encouraging,” Pierce said. “The team as a whole handled the increased load really well.”
Chandler and Pierce’s results were followed up by favorable finishes in many other events. Bieszard added another silver medal to his collection after his performance in the 500-meter dash, and William Rowe ’15 was close behind in fifth. Daniel Jones ’14 set a personal record in the 60-meter dash and matched Bieszard with another second place result.
The women’s performance at the invitational largely mirrored the men’s in its outcome. Its first day was marked by impressive performances across the board. Emily Cable ’15 set a personal record as she took second place in the 200-meter dash — a race in which the Elis took seven of the top 27 times. The Bulldogs also saw success in the 500-meter run, with Jennifer Downing ’12 finishing third, followed by Jennifer Donnelly ’13 in fourth and Hannah Alpert ’15 in sixth place.
While day one had only one top-three result for the Elis, the following day of the invitational featured four more Bulldog podium finishes.
Dissapointed by a ninth place finish on the first day of competition, Alexa Monti ’12 turned things around and finished first in the 60-meter dash, edging out a Manhattan College competitor by just a hundredth of a second.
“This weekend was a great team effort,” Monti said. “Everyone competed hard. We have some solid momentum rolling into next weekend, and hopefully we can capitalize on it after a week of quality training.”
Emily Urciuoli ’14 marked a personal best in the pole vault, capturing first place with 3.75 meters. She now is second in pole vaulting on the Bulldogs’ all-time list for indoor track. Urciuoli said that the competition was especially exciting for her as the invitational marked the start of the competitive part of the season, and it was a good indicator that the team has the training and the talent to succeed over the next few weeks.
After earning a personal best and attaining a silver medal performance at the Terrier Invitational last weekend, Nihal Kayali ’13 took second once again in the mile run. Sarah Barry ’14 and Allison Rue ’14 matched Kayali and took seconds in the 1000-meter run and the 500-meter dash, respectively.
Annelies Gamble ’13, who took third behind Rue in the 500-meter dash, said that while she wished she had run faster in the 500 meters, it was the first time running the event in a long time, and she thinks she was able to improve her turnover enough to show promise in the 800-meter dash later in the season.
In the 3000-meter run, the Elis took fourth through sixth place.
“Personally, I was happy with my race,” said Clare Kane ’14, who took fourth. “I’ve been coming off an injury that sidelined me for a year, and Saturday’s race was the first race where I started to feel like my old self again.”
The men’s and women’s teams will compete against archrivals Harvard and Princeton this weekend in Cambridge, Mass.