Notching first-place victories in 10 of the 19 events, the Yale men’s track and field team snapped a five-year losing streak to Harvard on Saturday in the Bulldogs’ annual dual meet with their rival.
The Yale men scored in 17 events en route to a narrow 83–80 win that may have been wider had Yale not dropped out of the 4×400-meter relay after already securing the meet win. Meanwhile, the Yale women’s team fell to Harvard by a more lopsided score of 95–58, notching two contested and four uncontested first-place finishes over the course of 19 events.
“We hadn’t had an outdoor meet where our whole team competed until Harvard–Yale, so it was awesome getting to see everyone compete and do so well,” men’s hurdler Torren Peebles ’17 said. “It’s a huge step towards our bigger picture goals for the season, and it gives us some great momentum heading into the huge meets we have coming up.”
Paedyn Gomes ’18 and Marc-Andre Alexandre ’17 claimed four of the Yale men’s 10 victories. Gomes nabbed a wind-aided personal best of 14.24 in the 110-meter hurdles, and in 400-meter hurdles, an event in which he had never previously competed in his career, Gomes also took first with a time of 56.67. Meanwhile, Alexandre also achieved a wind-aided personal best with a 21.62 in the 200-meter dash, and a time of 48.57 won him the 400-meter dash by a wide margin of 0.58 seconds.
Both Gomes and Alexandre also competed on the 4×100-meter relay team, which started the meet strong with a season-best 41.96 and defeated Harvard by 0.87 seconds. Eli distance runners added another two first-place finishes, with Duncan Tomlin ’16 leading the 3,000-meter steeplechase and James Randon ’17 winning the 1,500-meter run. In the 800-meter run Alexander McDonald ’16 placed third, while in the 3,000-meter run, Trevor Reinhart ’19 took second.
“[The meet] was a good way to test us to see if we could close it out and have everyone perform at their best when we needed them to,” Gomes said. “We have had a good team energy and unity that’s been going on.”
In the field events, Yale athletes scored in every event in which they competed, including the top two places in both high jump and pole vault. Michael Koller ’18 and Cody Clements ’19 jumped 1.97 meters and 1.92 meters, respectively, while captain Brendan Sullivan ’16 and Austin Laut ’19 vaulted 5.10 and 5.00 meters.
In hammer throw, Luke Persichetti ’17 claimed first with a personal best 50.85 meters, while Marcus Downs ’19 claimed a second-place personal best in discus, throwing 46.77 meters. In shot put, Jacob Hoops ’18 finished second with a distance of 14.78 meters, while Persichetti took third.
“This year we’ve had a lot less injuries than we used to have,” Laut said. “I think we are doing just the right amount of training on the track versus in the gym, just to better our bodies and make us stronger. Our team camaraderie and teamwork is increasing.”
The women’s team racked up four of its victories for the day in track events, including the only two contested Eli victories on the day.
The highlight was the 3,000-meter run, in which all three top-place finishes went to Bulldog runners. With a time of 9:48.49, Elizabeth McDonald ’16 paced a nine-runner field that included three athletes from Harvard.
Captain Sydney Cureton ’16 also beat out two Harvard competitors for first in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.81 seconds, 35 hundredths ahead of the second-place finisher.
The Bulldogs ended the 4×100-meter relay with a 49.81 finish time, claiming the first-place points despite not having competition from Harvard. Also without competition from Harvard, Rachel Jones ’17 took first-place marks in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Kate Simon ’17 won the hammer throw and Rachel Wofford ’17 garnered first-place points in the triple jump.
In the 800-meter run, Frances Schmiede ’17 notched a second-place finish — and the fifth-best score in Yale history — with a personal best of 2:08.61.
“I think that this weekend was a great starting point for our team,” Simon said. “Going up against Harvard at this point in the season is really helpful for us because we can see where we stand. It was a great competitive effort, making sure we were beating the girls running next to us. Harvard is a very competitive team, and even though we didn’t win, coming close to them and giving them a run for their money was really good.”
Yale enters championship season on May 7 and 8 with the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships, followed by the ECAC and IC4A Championships on May 13 through 15. NCAA East Preliminaries occur in late May, and NCAA Championships take place at Oregon in early June.
Next up for the Bulldogs is the Virginia Challenge, hosted by the University of Virginia next weekend.
“We are very excited,” Sullivan said. “I think the one thing a lot of people have to keep in mind is that this is just a stepping stone to performing well at outdoor Heptagonals … Even though we are very excited, we are still looking towards the future and not getting complacent early on.”