Members of the men’s and women’s track and field teams will have a chance to test themselves by competing at the Giegengack Invitational at home this Friday and Saturday.
But the event, which will be held at Coxe Cage, will not feature all of the team’s athletes, several of whom will be forgoing the meet to prepare for the Valentine Invitational at Boston University on Feb. 11. For the remainder of the team, it will be the penultimate outing before the Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor Championships in late February and the first since Harvard-Yale-Princeton.
“When competing at the Giegengack Invitational — and really any invitational — each athlete on the track and field team has the opportunity to perform at their best ability,” pole vaulter Austin Laut ’19 said. “By providing a competition atmosphere where adrenaline and nerves can be found, each athlete and relay team has the chance to work out any kinks and prepare for the championships and postseason.”
The 13th iteration of the Giegengack Invitational will field athletes from schools including La Salle, University of New Haven, Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart, St. Joseph’s and UMass Amherst. All of these schools also competed at last year’s Giegengack Invitational.
The men’s team is coming off of a third-place 28.5-point finish at HYP which, though a regression from their 70-point runner-up result at Yale-Dartmouth-Columbia, showcased the strength of the sprinters as well as the solidity of every event field.
The sprint trio of Marc-André Alexandre ’17, Vincent Vaughns ’20 and Kyle Macauley ’20 finished 3–4–5, respectively, in the 60-meter dash. Alexandre and Vaughns also came in second and third in the 200 meters. Connor Hill ’19, who came second in the 400-meter dash at HYP, placed third at the Giegengack Invitational last year.
For the men and the women, the story of this season has been the strength of the freshmen class. In addition to Vaughns and Macauley, Greg Moschella ’20 has put together a couple good performances in the 400 and 500 meters while Bruno Jednacak ’20 nabbed a first in the long jump at YDC.
There are also some returning athletes who shone at last year’s meet and could repeat if they compete this year. James Randon ’17 and Andre Ivankovic ’17 grabbed the top two spots in their event last year, the 3000 meters, as did Luke Persichetti ’17 and Jacob Hoops ’18 in the shot put.
Laut, who won the pole vault and broke the freshman record at this meet in 2016, is looking to eclipse 17 feet this season and may do so at the Giegengack.
The women, meanwhile, impressed by tying for second at HYP with 48 points. At this weekend’s meet, Frances Schmiede ’17 set the school and Ivy League record in the 1000 meters, earning a 2:44.10 time in a race rabbited by Gemma Shepherd ’20.
“For the girls competing I think it’s a great opportunity to get in some fast running and it should be a fun event as everyone is running relays,” Shepherd said.
The higher distance and freshmen squads have especially been bright spots for the Bulldogs this year. At HYP, distance runner Emily Waligurski ’17 placed third in Schmiede’s record-breaking race with Yale’s third-fastest time, and Andrea Masterson ’19 finished second in the 3000-meter run. Freshmen, including sprinter Lillian Enes ’20 and jumpers Elizabeth Adelson ’20 and Olivia Mooney ’20, also scored for the Elis.
Other Bulldogs to watch include captain Kate Simon ’17, who took the win in the weight throw at the 2016 invitational and would be in a good position to defend her title. Alexandra Lee ’19, who took a pair of seconds in the 60 and 200 meters at HYP, recorded her personal best last week and may also place high.
The Giegengack Invitational is not scored as a team meet, so it will serve primarily as a way for Yale athletes to gauge where they stand at this point in the indoor season. This meet and their trip to Boston could be prime indicators for how they will perform at Heps.
“Our goal every year is to improve on last year’s finish at Heps and to get as many competitors on the podium as possible,” Simon said. “I think we’re in a great position to do that this year.”
The Giegengack Invitational has been run every year at Yale since 2004 and is named in honor of legendary Yale track and field coach Bob Giegengack, who coached the Elis for 29 years.