The Yale men’s and women’s track and field teams opened their outdoor seasons this weekend, competing at the Sam Howell Invitational at Princeton on Friday before playing hosts for the third annual Mark T. Young Invitational on Saturday.
Though both meets were unscored, each marked a solid start for both teams as they embark on their spring campaigns a year after both squads finished eighth in the Ivy League.
“This weekend was slightly different than a typical meet because many of the distance events were held at Princeton on Friday, while our sprinters and throwers mostly competed on Saturday,” middle-distance runner Emma Lower ’19 said.
At the Sam Howell Invitational, 13 men competed for Yale in the 800-, 1,500- and 5,000-meter races, while 15 women competed in the 800-, 1,500- and 5,000-meter races, as well as the 3,000 meter steeplechase, for the Bulldogs.
Building off a fall season replete with personal and school records, five of the 13 men who competed on Friday set personal bests. Two — Spike Sievert ’17 and Scott Meehan ’18 — did so in the 5,000-meter run, with the former beating his personal best by nine seconds and the latter shattering his earlier record by 18 seconds. They finished 31st and 52nd in the 68-man pool, respectively.
In the 1,500-meter event, Trevor Reinhart ’19 led all Elis with a 3:55.41 time in his race debut. Reinhart finished 14th, just ahead of Andre Ivankovic ’17 and his 16th-place result. Teammates John Mahoney ’16 and Thomas Gmür ’18 finished 0.1 seconds apart in 25th and 27th place, respectively, and Matt Chisholm ’18 placed 42nd.
James Randon ’17, who broke the four-minute barrier in the mile at the IC4A Championships last month, carried that momentum into the weekend, completing the 800-meter run in 1:50.37, good enough for a second-place finish and a new personal best. Alexander McDonald ’16 placed 17th, less than a second ahead of 25th-place Schan Lartigue ’18, with Michael Yuan ’18 and Tim Cox ’17 rounding out the Yale crop of runners with 42nd- and 47th-place finishes, respectively. Yuan’s time also marked a new personal best.
The women did even better in Friday’s 800-meter race. Frances Schmiede ’17, who broke the school’s mile record on two occasions in the winter season, finished second with a 2:11.10, only 0.39 seconds off her personal best. Emily Waligurski ’17 set a new personal best with a 2:12.11, placing fourth in the same event. Meredith Rizzo ’17 and Gabrielle Rinne ’19 also finished among the top 10 runners, earning seventh- and ninth-place results, while Kate Raphael ’18 and Grace Brittan ’16 rounded out the Eli competitors with 22nd- and 24th-place finishes.
Though the nine other women did not finish within the top 10 in the other three events, all three entrants in the 1,500-meter run — Melissa Fairchild ’18, Ellie Atkinson ’19 and Elizabeth McDonald ’16 — finished in the upper half of the 49-runner pool.
Of the five Bulldogs who competed in the 5,000-meter race, Clare Carroll ’18 — competing for the first time in over a year — crossed the finish line first, ending up in 11th place. In that same race, Chandler Olson ’17 set a new personal best by over a minute, finishing in 17:32.91 to notch 15th place.
Rachel Jones ’17, Yale’s sole entrant in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, set a new personal best with an 11:22.69 time.
The following day, the sprinters and throwers competed against local schools at an invitational honoring former Yale cross country and track and field coach Mark Young ’68, who retired after the 2010 cross country season.
On the men’s side, the freshman class made an emphatic debut, with five members of the class of 2019 notching team-best finishes.
Three of those team-best finishes were also top-three overall: Austin Laut ’19 won the pole vault, Connor Hill ’19 tied for second in the 110-meter hurdles and Cody Clements ’19 finished third in the high jump.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Shih ’19 and Marcus Downs ’19 placed fourth in the long jump and discus, respectively.
Other Eli throwers performed well, with Jacob Hoops ’18 finishing among the top 10 in both discus and shot put, and Luke Persichetti ’17 coming in eighth in the hammer throw.
“I think it put the throwers in a nice point to launch for the rest of the season,” Downs said of Saturday’s meet.
The lone Yale distance runner to compete on Saturday, Max Payson ’16 set a new personal record with a fifth-place, 4:03.35 finish in the 1,500-meter run.
The women did best in the short-distance races, notching four top-10 finishes in the 400-meter dash. Shannon McDonnell ’16 came in second, with Lower right behind her in her 400-meter collegiate debut.
In the 1,500-meter run, Andrea Masterson ’19 and Kelli Reagan ’18 finished fourth and sixth, just nine-hundredths of a second apart.
Additionally, the hurdlers performed well in their debuts, with Bridget Tobias ’19 coming in second in the 400-meter hurdles and Lindsey Combs ’19 and Alexandra Lee ’19 finishing fifth and seventh, respectively, in the 100-meter hurdles.
Meanwhile, Evelyn Roberts ’19 and Kate Simon ’17 set new personal records in the hammer throw, finishing second and fourth, respectively. Roberts’ mark of 48.44 meters — seventh-best in Yale history — is more impressive considering it marked her Yale debut in the event.
The strength of the freshmen performances on both the men’s and women’s sides bodes well for teams seeking their first Ivy League outdoor championships since the 1968 and 1987 seasons, respectively.
“I’m excited for Harvard–Yale this Saturday, and [Ivy League Heptagonals] in several weeks, because running against the other Ivies is always fun and it puts a lot of pride on the line,” Lower said. “That tends to be when people bring their best competitive efforts and get exciting results.”
Both Yale teams welcome Harvard to the Dewitt Cuyler Athletic Complex this weekend.