The men’s and women’s track and field teams traveled to Boston University this past Saturday to participate in the David Hemery Valentine Invitational, with numerous Yalie putting up impressive performances.
The Feb. 11 meet featured both collegiate and professional athletes and gave the Elis a chance to measure their competition level as they approach the season-ending Ivy League Heptagonal Championship, which takes place in two weeks. Strong showings from both the men and women, including a school record-breaking mile run from Frances Schmiede ’17 and a first-place finish in the 3000-meter run by James Randon ’17, headlined 13 top-10 finishes at the meet for the Elis despite the incredibly large field.
“There were a lot of solid performances across the board yesterday, which definitely help us gauge how competitive we can be as a team going into Heps,” said sprinter Greg Moschella ’20. “Based off of the great individual performances we’ve seen over the past couple of weeks as well as some solid relay times, I think Yale is very prepared to put a strong foot forward in two weeks at the Armory.”
Schmiede’s record run proved the highlight for the women in the unscored meet. Her time of 4:34.56 is the fastest recorded by an Ivy League runner this season and the fourth fastest in the nation this year, putting the Bulldogs’ 2016 cross country captain in position to contend for a berth at the NCAA national championship meet at the start of March.
A score of Yale distance runners joined Schmiede with strong performances at the Invitational. Meredith Rizzo ’17 and Ellie Atkinson ’19 followed their teammate in the mile, finishing 14th and 20th, respectively, in the field of 230 runners, while Gemma Shepherd ’20 took home a seventh-place finish in the 3000-meter run with the fourth-best time in the Ancient Eight this year. Chandler Olson ’17, Rachel Jones ’17, Julia Borowski ’18, Lauren Chapey ’20 and Jane Miller ’20, a staff reporter for the News, all recorded personal bests in the same event.
“The meet was definitely a confidence booster and shows we are all getting into good shape and on the right tracks for Heps,” Shepherd said. “For me it feels really promising to have run a [personal record] before Heps, and I can’t wait to get out and race with the team.”
While fewer in numbers, the Elis’ sprinters and throwers made their presence known amidst the large competition fields. Sprinter Sydney Holmes ’20 placed eighth in the 60-meter hurdles ahead of all but two Ivy League competitors, while captain and thrower Kate Simon ’17 topped all Ancient Eight competitors except for Brown’s Maxine Offiaeli with her 12th-place finish.
While the men’s top performers so far this season continued their success in Boston, other teammates also impressed at the meet. The men’s 1000-meter run highlighted four Elis — Tim Cox ’17, James Lewis ’20, Austin Stoner ’20 and Michael Yuan ’18 — who finished in the top half of the 88-competitor field, with Cox and Lewis coming within 0.2 seconds of each other in 21st and 22nd. In only his second collegiate meet, Dylan Lesko ’19 also put together a good finish, running the 800-meters in 1:53.70 to place 34th out of 88 competitors and fourth out of 13 runners from Track.
The sprinters, meanwhile, continued their solid season. Captain Marc-Andre Alexandré ’17 finished third out of 225 in the 200-meter dash behind only Princeton’s Carrington Akosa and MIT’s Tre Albritten with a season-best time of 21.59 seconds. Vincent Vaughns ’20 trailed Alexandré with a 22.00 time, placing 22nd, while Connor Hill ’19 and Kyle Macauley ’20 also placed in the top 40. The 4×400 relay team, with Alexandré, Hill, Chandler Crusan ’17 and Greg Campbell ’19, also took home a third-place finish with a time five seconds faster than the Bulldogs’ previous outing.
Paedyn Gomes ’18 once again displayed his dominance in the 60-meter hurdles with a third-place time of 8.13 and pole vaulter Austin Laut ’19 solidified his spot as one of the top Ancient Eight competitors entering Heps, taking second with a 5.10-meter vault.
The Valentine Invitational is the Bulldogs’ last meet before Heps in late February. Yale will have two weeks to prepare for the postseason, and team members said the meet served as a confidence booster going into the competition.
“I think this meet showed that we’re all ready to put down some good performances for the team come Heps as long as we’re in a good position,” Lesko said. “This next two weeks of hard work will definitely get us ready to put ourselves in the best place for success.”
Heps will be held at the Armory in New York on Feb. 25, where Yale will face all seven Ivy League teams.