Both the men’s and women’s track and field teams struggled at last year’s Ivy League Outdoor Heptagonal Championships. The men amassed 36 points and finished seventh, while the women scored 22 points and placed last. Yet after disappointing 2011–’12 seasons for both squads, the Elis will look to use those results as experience and improve this year.

The Bulldogs began the season on the right foot this weekend, performing well at the Yale season opener at Coxe Cage. Although the meet was not scored, the men’s team captured four of the day’s events, while the women’s team tallied five wins, bringing the Eli total to nine victories that day.

“Track is a rare sport where it doesn’t matter what you do Dec. 8, it’s what you do at Heps,” said Michael Levine ’13, who won the men’s weight throw. “You can have a horrible season, win Heps, it’s a great season. You can be great throughout the year, not do at Heps, then it’s a bad season. That being said, a lot of guys got out there, and they ran well.”

Levine added that he thinks the team is in a good place heading into the season.

Men’s team captain Timothy Hillas ’13 described last season as a rebuilding year for the squad, explaining that the Elis were a young team with a limited number of athletes who could score points.

“I think we’re really very well-poised this year to do some pretty interesting, great things,” Hillas said. “This past weekend was better than anything I could have expected.”

In addition to the victory by Levine in the weight throw, Michael Pierce ’13 won the mile, James Shirvell captured the 1000-meter and the men’s 4×400-meter team took first in the relay.

Hillas tabbed Levine, members of the 4×400 squad, distance runner Matt Nussbaum ’15 and jumper Paul Chandler ’14 as returning athletes to keep an eye on this year, while noting pole vaulter Brendan Sullivan ’16 as a freshman who has performed well so far in the nascent season.

Despite the difficult campaign last year, the women’s team also posted heartening results on Sunday. Yale women emerged victorious in both throwing events, as Antonia Renker ’13 won the weight throw and Karleh Wilson ’16 took the shot put. The distance runners also won two events, as Annelies Gamble won the mile and Shannon McDonnell ’16 won the 1000-meter run.

“We’re definitely excited because at least at the first meet of the season, I just didn’t see people looking very intimidated at all,” women’s team captain Allison Rue ’13 said. “I think people were really confident in a very healthy way, and they were just competing very well.”

Rue added that she believes the team will see a payoff at Heptagonal Championships if it continues to work hard.

The men’s and women’s track and field teams continue their seasons at Coxe Cage for the Yale Invitational on Jan. 12.