A week before the historic Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet in Cambridge, the Bulldogs got one last chance to test themselves at the Coxe Cage in the annual Giegengack Invitational Meet this past weekend.
Yale hosted athletes from 10 schools in the northeast area, and although the meet was unscored, both the men’s and women’s teams landed several first place finishes and personal bests across the meet.
“It was a really good step for our group, especially going into the most important part of our season,” women’s captain Kira Garry ’15 said. “Our coach always talks about this last home meet as the turning point of our season into the championship season. It was exciting that we had a lot of wins.”
Garry added that the competition at the Giegengack — which included athletes from Lehigh, Sacred Heart and Columbia — was better than Yale sees in most of its home indoor meets. The Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet, however, will provide an even bigger challenge next weekend.
Perhaps the women’s largest display of dominance this past weekend was the 800-meter race, in which the meet’s top five times were made up of Yale runners. Emily Waligurski ’16 and Grace Brittan ’15 led the pack with times of 2:15.03 and 2:15.67 respectively, just shy of personal bests.
Numerous sprinters on the women’s squad excelled on the weekend, as Emily Cable ’15 set a personal record in the 200-meter dash with a 24.75 second performance, and Sydney Cureton ’16 narrowly outpaced her competition with a 7.62 second showing in the 60-meter dash — not only a personal best, but also one of the top three times in Yale history.
“[Cureton] has been injured, so to see the personal record was exciting,” Garry said. “We had a lot of personal bests.”
The women’s distance unit of Dana Klein ’18, Shannon McDonnell ’16, Brittan and Waligurski then dominated the distance medley, despite several runners sitting out to rest for future meets.
Klein later set a personal record with a second place finish in the 1,000-meter race, while fellow newcomer Kelli Reagan ’18 did the same with a 5:03.66 time and third place showing in the one mile.
The Eli men also had a successful weekend, especially in the 3,000-meter event, as five Bulldogs combined for five personal bests and five top six finishes. Leading those five was James Randon ’17, who won the event in 8:10.53 and bested his previous PR by a full 10 seconds.
“After having a great race in the mile up in Boston last week [in the Terrier Invitational], I came into this race with a lot of confidence, but I honestly didn’t think I would be able to lower my personal best by 10 seconds,” Randon said. “This season has been a big breakthrough for me, so I’m incredibly happy and thankful thus far.”
Randon’s teammate Cameron Stanish ’18 came in just behind Randon at 8:16.36, giving himself the fastest personal best out of all Ivy League freshmen in both the 3,000- and 5,000-meter indoor events this season.
Several other freshmen on the men’s team continued the theme of strong young talent, as Adam Houston ’18 and Ryan Brady ’18 grabbed the top two spots in the 5,000-meter race, and Paedyn Gomes ’18 set a personal record of 8.23 seconds with a win in the 60-meter hurdles.
Though Yale did not participate in several jumping events in the meet, the Elis saw a pair of elite performances in the pole vault, which women’s vaulter Catherine Shih ’18 and men’s vaulter Brendan Sullivan ’16 won with heights of 3.45 and 4.80 meters respectively. To start the meet, throwers Luke Lersichetti ’17 and Karleh Wilson ’16 each posted a second place performance in the weight throw.
The Elis now move onto the most important part of their indoor season, which includes the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet as well as three consecutive championship weekends. Garry said her team has shown increased depth throughout the winter season, especially during its meet against Columbia and Dartmouth, and that she is expecting a strong performance.
“Harvard-Yale-Princeton is really tough, because those are teams that are just much bigger and have greater depth across the events,” Garry said. “I think that we’ll be more competitive at this meet than we have been.”
The meet will take place next Saturday in Cambridge, Mass.