Yale Athletics

After finishing last in both the indoor and outdoor 2017 Ivy League Heptagonal Championships last spring, the women’s indoor track and field team is looking forward to a clean slate this winter. The Elis will open their indoor campaign this Saturday, as Yale hosts the Yale Season Opener at Coxe Cage.

The women’s team will compete at the same meets that the men will attend this season, traveling throughout the northeast to face both Ivy League and nonconference opponents. Determined to rebound from disappointing finishes on the track earlier in 2017, the Bulldogs will look to capitalize on the addition of 13 first years to the roster.

Although she is new to the program, sprinter Arielle Tessier ’21 already describes the “sense of camaraderie and family” of the Yale track and field program as “unrivalled”: a trait that will undoubtedly be conducive to the Elis achieving their goals this season. The Toronto native competed for the Canadian national team at the 2015 International Association of Athletics Federations World Youth Championships, and is excited to compete in the short-distance sprint events this winter.

“Like any competitive sprinter, I am looking to significantly improve my performance times and, hopefully, achieve new [personal records] in all my events,” Tessier said. “My primary goal is to get my name on the record boards, and to do my part in helping our relay teams dominate this season.”

Despite coming off lackluster team performances last season, the Bulldogs boast many talented athletes on their roster who will look to continue to make progress this season. Distance runner Andrea Masterson ’19 will hit the track fresh off of a sensational 2017 cross country campaign, one that culminated in a trip to Louisville, Ky. for the NCAA National Championships. The junior will compete in the longest of the indoor track events — the 3,000- and 5,000-meter runs — throughout the upcoming season.

While Masterson is looking forward to competing in the indoor season, she still has her eyes set on using her winter training to prepare for her “main focus”: the 10,000-meter run, a race solely held outdoors in the spring.

“I’m really excited to be gearing up for [the indoor season] because there’s so much energy around the season,” Masterson said. “It’s fun to have the whole track team competing again. I’ll be racing shorter distances, so it’s really fun to work on speed, but ultimately it’s all about building training for the [10,000-meter run] in the spring.”

Hurdler Sydney Holmes ’20 also delivered consistently impressive performances in her rookie campaign, capturing two school records this past spring — in the 60-meter and 100-meter hurdles. With several strong, young sprinters joining Holmes on the track this year, the Bulldogs will look to cement faster relays — races that count for twice the number of points scored to individual events.

One such runner looking to add some more versatility and speed to the women’s cohort is Ariel Claxton ’21, a sprinter from Summit, N.J. The first year holds seven school records for the Lawrenceville School and also accumulated 11 varsity letters as a two-sport athlete at her alma mater. Claxton competed in a multitude of indoor and outdoor individual sprint events in her high school career and also ran on four different sprint relays.

“As a first year, I am most excited about seeing all of the training we have done so far this year pay off,” Claxton said. “We have trained all throughout the fall so I am eager to get into our actual season … My goals are to stay healthy, avoid injury and lower the times I had in high school.

Overall, the Bulldogs feel confident that their team dynamic will serve as a strong foundation for success on and off the track this upcoming indoor season.

“The track and field team has provided me with a network of friends, coaches and teammates that challenge and support all my endeavors,” sprinter Jilly Mehlman ’21 said. “I feel very lucky to have such enthusiastic, motivating women that help me reach my goals every and each rep I perform.”

The Yale Season Opener will take place at Coxe Cage on Dec. 9 with field events beginning at 9 a.m., followed by running events starting at 11:15 a.m.

Ellen Margaret Andrews | ellenmargaret.andrews@yale.edu