Frances Schmiede ’17 and James Randon ’17 added two more achievements to an already historic season this weekend, breaking their respective 1,500-meter Yale records on the same day at the Virginia Challenge on Saturday.
Randon ran his race in a time of 3:40.15, beating the previous male record set by James Shirvell ’14, 3:41.09, and placing third overall in an 86-runner field. Likewise, Schmiede shattered the previous record of 4:20.77, set by Kate Grace ’11, with her time of 4:17.70. Schmiede finished in sixth place overall out of 79 runners.
“I knew I was in good shape because of times I had run indoors this season, but it’s difficult to know the day of if you’re going to be able to do it,” Randon said. “I was super excited when it happened.”
Even after their record-breaking times, both runners intend to use this momentum going forward into the postseason meets. While she was excited about setting the Yale record, Schmiede said that going into the race she was more focused on qualifying for the NCAA East Preliminaries next month, which she likely did with her time.
Until then, the two runners have four more weekends, including the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships in two weeks, to improve on their times.
“James and Frances had impressive days, and the good news is that it looked as if there was a good deal more in the tank for both of them,” head coach David Shoehalter said. “They are both excited and confident as we move toward the championship portion of our season.”
Other highlights of the meet, held at the University of Virginia, included a fifth-place finish by Marc-André Alexandre ’17 in the 400-meter run with a time of 47.17, as well as a sixth-place showing and a time of 14.38 by Paedyn Gomes ’18 in the 110-meter hurdles. Additionally, the 4×400 relay team of Alexandre, Connor Hill ’19, Alex McIntyre ’19 and Alexander McDonald ’16 ran the seventh-fastest time in Yale history at 3:11.46, which placed the squad in sixth place ahead of Ivy League foes Brown and Dartmouth, Yale’s only two conference opponents to race in that event.
On the women’s side, Shannon McDonnell ’16 excelled in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:07.09, good for fifth place. Behind Schmiede in the 1500-meter run, Emily Waligurski ’17 set a new personal best with a time of 4:22.11. Amid other personal bests for distance runners, the Eli sprinters saw less success, including a last-place finish in the 4×100 relay behind Ancient Eight teams from Cornell and Harvard.
Unlike the Bulldogs’ home meet against Harvard last weekend, this invitational was unscored. Shoehalter said the athletes enter their events with the same mindset — “to compete and get better” — whether a meet is scored or unscored. Still, Schmiede noted that the difference in meet style does change the runners’ focus from the team to the individual.
“I think there is a big difference because you can actually go out and go as hard as you can and not worry about other people in the race,” Schmiede said. “At a scored meet it sometimes can be tactical, so it can be hard with a lot of pressure on you to keep your eye on where other people are in the race. It’s nice to go to a race like Virginia, where you can just see where your training is and go as hard as you can.”
While the majority of the team was at the Virginia Challenge, four throwers competed at Princeton’s Larry Ellis Outdoor Invitational on Friday. Katherine Simon ’17 set a new personal record in hammer throw with a distance of 48.87 meters, and Evelyn Roberts ’19 was just behind her with a throw of 48.3 meters.
The men competing at Princeton were shot putter Luke Persichetti ’17 and discus thrower Marcus Downs ’19. Downs placed 12th with a throw of 44.95 meters, and Persichetti was not able to record a distance due to fouls.
Because the Bulldogs are nearing the end of their season, they are gearing up for the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships. Frances and Randon agreed that the team, which finished last in both men’s and women’s last year, has a chance to improve on that result this season.
“Overall, we are a lot stronger than we were in past years,” Randon said. “Especially, we tend to do better in outdoor season, so I think compared to past years, we are a definitely stronger and a more well-rounded team. That being said, we’ll need to fill in holes when people get injured.”
In the meantime, the Elis will compete in the Penn Relays and the Yale Springtime Invitational this weekend. The Ivy League Heptagonal Championships will be held at Princeton from May 7–8.