The Yale track and field teams traveled to Cornell this weekend to compete in the highly anticipated Ivy League Heptagonal Championships for the indoor season. Saturday consisted of mostly preliminary qualifying rounds with a few scored events, while Sunday saw most of the final heats. The men came away with a seventh-place finish, while the women took eighth.
The Yale men’s 38 points were enough to top Columbia, but Princeton and Cornell ran away on the scorecard and took the top two spots, scoring 165 and 142 points respectively. On the women’s side, Yale tallied 16 points, while Harvard, Cornell and Dartmouth claimed the top three spots, with each team eclipsing the 100-point mark. There were some bright spots, however, including the men’s relay teams’ second-place finishes, the Yale record set by women’s captain Sydney Cureton ’16 and the Bulldogs’ sole victory courtesy of Shannon McDonnell ’16 in the 800-meter run.
“I went into the meet knowing that I had a chance to win, but anything can happen during the course of a race,” McDonnell said. “Tactically it was a good race for me; the field went out pretty fast but I stuck to a pace that I was comfortable with and then was able to move up gradually.”
McDonnell placed second in the preliminary competition, but took the crown on Sunday with a time of 2:10.23, which was several seconds faster than her preliminary time and 0.53 seconds ahead of second place.
Other top performances for the women included Cureton and her record-breaking time in the preliminary round of the 60-meter dash. Her time of 7.57 seconds was a new personal best, and while it was only good for fourth in the preliminary event, it bested the previous Yale indoor record held by Joslyn Woodard ’06, who ran a 7.59. Cureton ultimately took seventh overall during the main event on Sunday, clocking in just a couple ticks slower at 7.59 seconds.
Star miler Frances Schmiede ’17 took second in the preliminary heat, but ultimately fell two spots in the scored race. Although she came in fourth place in the event, her time of 4:53.70 was less than three-tenths of a second off the lead. Schmiede and McDonnell, along with Meredith Rizzo ’17 and Katerra Logan ’17, competed in the distance medley relay and placed fifth to earn the Bulldogs a point.
For the men, the highlight of the weekend came in the relay races on Sunday. The distance medley relay team, comprised of Andre Ivankovic ’17, Torren Peebles ’17, Matt Chisholm ’18 and James Randon ’17, missed first place by just a tenth of a second with a time of 10:00.67. The 4×400-meter relay team performed equally as well, as Marc-André Alexandre ’17, Connor Hill ’19, Alex McIntyre ’19 and Gregory Campbell Jr. ’19 achieved a time of 3:16.34, which was also good for second place, 1.33 seconds behind the first-place squad from Cornell.
“All the guys in the 4×400 were hungry,” Alexandre said. “We wanted to win and we had nothing to lose. We knew we had a very good team.”
Other scorers for the men on Saturday included Randon once again, who in addition to his stake in the relay team, finished third in the 3,000-meter run.
Clocking in at 8:09.63 and coming within a mere 1.31 seconds of the leader, Randon’s performance was good for third place and the accompanying six points.
“James Randon stepped it up in a big way,” head coach David Shoehalter said. “His individual effort in the 3,000-meter along with his anchor of the [distance medley relay] made for a great weekend.”
Aside from the relay teams, Sunday saw Paedyn Gomes ’18 hold his own in the 60-meter hurdles. He placed fourth with a time of 8.10 seconds. Luke Persichetti ’17 hurled the shot put a distance of 16.64 meters, which was good both for sixth place and sixth best in Yale indoor history. Both he and Gomes set new personal bests in the process.
Men’s captain Brendan Sullivan ’16 and Austin Laut ’19 each placed in the pole vault, the only event of the weekend for either the men or women in which two Yale individuals scored. Sullivan’s vault of 5.07 meters was good for third in the event, while Laut finished right behind his captain in fourth with a 5.00-meter vault.
Alexandre, who was coming off an injury and thus unable to run the 400-meter, an event in which he holds the freshman record, singled out Laut for his performance.
“[Laut] had a good weekend,” Alexandre said. “We have many guys dealing with injuries right now and we felt their absence. We still have a lot to work on, but our team is very talented.”
For the men, this year’s seventh-place result broke a six-year streak of last-place finishes at Heps. Prior to that stretch, Yale finished fourth at the 2009 competition.
For the women, this year’s Heps saw them take a step back from last year’s sixth-place result.
“Traditionally, Heps is the highlight of our season,” McDonnell said. “The team is obviously disappointed with the outcome of the meet because we all know that we are better than the score we put up.”
While this was the last meet of the indoor season for many on both teams, the Bulldogs who qualified now look ahead to the IC4A/ECAC Championships, taking place next weekend in Boston.