The Yale men’s and women’s track and field teams faced a challenging test at the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet this Sunday in Coxe Cage, as the Bulldog men finished in third and women finished tied for second on a day littered with impressive individual performances.
The Yale men came into the meet on the heels of second-place outing at Yale-Dartmouth-Columbia last weekend. Though the Bulldogs were unable to repeat their performance as a whole — their 28.5-point tally trailed Harvard’s 41 and Princeton’s 110.5 — several of the team’s athletes had notable days. On the women’s side, the Elis improved upon their 39-point score from YDC to finish with 48 points, tied with Harvard and trailing just Princeton’s total of 73. As with the men, several individual performances stole the show, including a school and league record-breaking run by distance runner Frances Schmiede ’17.
The Bulldogs will take the lessons from this meet to the Giegengack Invitational this weekend and then to the Ivy League Indoor Heptagonal Indoor Track & Field Championships later in February.
“Coming up to Heps we as a team are focused on doing the little things,” sprinter Vincent Vaughns ’20 said. “We have been training since the summer and now the difference is going to come down to finite things such as race pacing, reaction time and ultimately wanting it more than the other teams. We have a few big meets left to get into final race form and we plan to capitalize on those opportunities.”
For the women, the distance team provided the bulk of the Bulldogs’ scoring. The mile run featured a 1–2 finish for Yale, with Ellie Atkinson ’19 finishing first with a 4:51.60 time and Gemma Shepherd ’20 coming in right behind her. In the 800-meter run, Meredith Rizzo ’17 claimed another first for the Elis with Delaney FitzPatrick ’17 finishing third while Andrea Masterson ’19 locked up second place in the 3000-meter run.
The highlight of the day, however, came in the 1000-meter run, when Schmiede set the Yale and Ivy League records for the event with a 2:44.10 time, two seconds ahead of the next finisher. Schmiede was one of five athletes who broke the previous meet record for the 1000-meter on Sunday.
“My coach and I planned to have [Shepherd] pace me through 600 at record pace, so I was very aware that we were on pace,” Schmiede said. “[Head] coach Amy [Gosztyla] and I had talked through running that time during the previous week — to be able to complete it was very satisfying, and to do it on our home track was a lot of fun.”
The rest of the team also stepped up in different event categories. Captain and thrower Kate Simon ’17 recorded a pair of third-place finishes in the shot put and weight throw, while Elizabeth Adelson ’20 and Olivia Mooney ’20 captured second and fourth, respectively, in the high jump. The freshman duo continued their early-career success after taking the first two spots at the YDC meet.
“We have a really good team culture,” distance runner Emily Kaplan ’19 said. “I think we definitely aren’t complacent; the team knows we definitely have a long way to go, but for where we are in the season. We … performed well. We’re going to go into the invitational and try to get some good times and take some positive steps with the end goal in mind of getting ourselves ready for Heps.”
The men shone in sprints and jumps, in particular, at HYP. Captain Marc-André Alexandre ’17 and Vaughns both placed in the 60-meter dash and the 200-meter dash. Vaughns barely finished in front of Alexandre in the former event, crossing the line 0.03 seconds before his teammate followed up in fourth. Alexandre finished second in the 200-meter race, running a sub-22-second time, with Vaughns on his tail for third place. In the 400-meter dash, Connor Hill ’19 broke the 50-second mark to claim silver as well.
Jumper Jimmy Shih ’19 lept to third in the long jump and second in the triple jump with a 14.05-meter mark as the only Yale scorer in his events. The high jump featured a third-place outing by Mike Koller ’18, while Austin Laut ’19 claimed second in the pole vault. The sprints and the jumps combined for 22 of the team’s 28.5 points.
“The success we have had in sprints has come [from] the coaching staff doing a great job recruiting talented sprinters and our captain, [Alexandre], who has doing a great job of setting the tone of a winning work ethic,” Vaughns said. “We are all hungry to build this program and that’s a mindset we bring to the weight room, to the track and on meet day.”
The Eli throwers also performed solidly, with Luke Persichetti ’17 throwing to fourth in the weight throw and Jake Hoops ’18 similarly grabbing fourth in shot put. In distance, both James Lewis ’20 and Tim Cox ’17 posted a point each on the board for Yale with fourth-place runs in the mile run and 1000-meter run, respectively.
The Bulldogs will have a five-day break before hosting the Giegengack Invitational at home this Friday, after which the team will take on Boston University for the Valentine Invitational in two weeks.