In their most anticipated meet of the indoor season, the men’s and women’s track and field teams both fell short of titles as they traveled to Hanover for the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships last weekend.
With Princeton and Penn dominant on the men’s and women’s sides, respectively, the prospect of Yale capturing either team championship was remote entering the weekend. Despite several podium finishes, including a 3,000-meter run title for Trevor Reinhart ’19, the men finished seventh and the women placed eighth at Dartmouth.
With the outdoor season just around the corner, the Bulldogs are looking to use their below average finishes as an impetus to make significant progress by the time the next Ivy Heps meet rolls around in May.
“We all wear the same uniform on competition days, and these are the times that we really get the chance to come together and support one another as we work towards one common goal,” Yale women’s track and field captain Dana Klein ’18 said. “At the end of the day, we all want to compete tough and represent Yale the best we can, and I think this camaraderie really develops as we enter the championship part of our season, spending more time traveling together and watching one another compete.”
While the first day of the meet served mainly as an opportunity for runners to qualify for a spot in Sunday’s finals, some event championships got underway on the first day of competition. Looking to build on an already-strong indoor season, pole vaulter Austin Laut ’19 hit the runway on Saturday hoping to earn a top finish in the fifth Ivy Heps meet of his career. The junior’s gutsy performance — which included successful jumps on his third and final attempts at both 5.00 and 5.10 meters — secured him a third-place finish. On the women’s side, vaulter Erin Gerardo ’21 cleared 3.65 meters, good for ninth place out of 14 vaulters.
The highlight of the day came in the 3,000-meter runs, however, as Reinhart toed the line for the Bulldogs. The junior put together a phenomenal run, and earned his team 10 points with a first-place finish. Reinhart comfortably qualified for the ECAC Championships next weekend, and will look to once again finish atop the pack. On the women’s side, Klein also produced an impressive showing in the 3,000 meters, taking third place with a time of 9:44.22. Klein also secured a spot to compete at ECACs.
“I think my coach did a great job familiarizing me with the race’s conditions beforehand,” Reinhart said. “I was able to race at the Dartmouth track earlier in the season, as well as being thrown in a [3,000-meter run] against Harvard and Princeton in the following week. As a result, I knew what to expect come Saturday and believe that gave me the mindset necessary to compete against such great competition.”
On Sunday, high jumper CJ McCord ’20 placed second in his event against all odds, as he was ranked 15th in the conference entering the competition. McCord’s performance was perfect for most of the event, requiring just one jump to clear the bar for the first four heights that he faced. On the track, middle-distance specialist Cameron Wyman ’21 — who also unexpectedly made the finals after entering the meet ranked 20th in the conference — ran a speedy 1:54.69 to finish sixth in the conference.
Other top finishes on the men’s side came in the sprint events, where athletes see if their long hours of training pay off for just seconds of glory. Hurdler and team captain Paedyn Gomes ’18 — no stranger to the pressure of Ivy Heps meets — secured a personal best and a second-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles with a blistering time of 7.82 seconds. Sprinters Vincent Vaughns ’20 and Kyle Macauley ’20 also scored points for the Elis in the 60-meter dash with fourth- and fifth-place finishes, respectively. Both men qualified for spots at ECACs.
In the last three events of the day, the Bulldogs strung together some solid performances in the relay events. Yale’s top relay finish came in the distance-medley relay, which consists of 1200-, 400-, 800- and 1600-meter legs. Reinhart returned to the track to anchor the relay, and crossed the line just over a second behind Dartmouth for fourth place.
“By the time I started my leg of the race Princeton was 100 meters ahead, and the prospects of winning were null,” Reinhart said. “So I focused on getting out hard to close the gap as much as possible early on and then tried to reign in as many runners as I could before I crossed the line.”
Much like the men, the women shined with gritty performances in the relay events. The Bulldogs took third in the distance-medley relay — three places higher than their result in 2017’s indoor Ivy Heps. Alongside seniors Klein and Katherine Raphael ’18, first years Ariel Claxton ’21 and Sevanne Ghazarian ’21 remained composed and focused in their first collegiate Ivy Heps meet, looking to their experienced teammates to lead the way.
The top individual finisher on the women’s side was no surprise, given her already highly decorated career in New Haven. Andrea Masterson ’19 — who specializes in the 10,000-meter run, an event only run during the outdoor season — still delivered for Yale in the 5,000-meter run, capturing a fifth-place finish and a spot on the championship podium. The junior earned a trip to the NCAA cross country championships last fall, and will look to add a trip to Eugene, Oregon for the NCAA outdoor championships this spring.
Middle-distance specialist Lilly Enes ’20 also had a stand-out performance for the Bulldogs, making the finals in the 400-meter dash by winning her heat in a quick 56.57 seconds. Unfortunately, the sophomore tripped during the finals and was ultimately unable to recover from the deficit.
“In both the prelims and finals before I run all I tell myself is to be aggressive,” Enes said. “I want to have an explosive start and to maintain my speed to make sure I’m first to the break and I’m front at the 200. I believe that having confidence in yourself and taking time for positive visualization of how my race will go is what sets me up to have a successful run.”
While neither team’s result was what it had hoped for, several of Yale’s young athletes enjoyed the opportunity to compete against the Ancient Eight’s elite. Sprinter and hurdler Addi Coy ’21 described the Heps as “one of the most exciting meets I have ever raced in.”
The ECAC Championships will take place next weekend at Boston University. The meet will begin at 2:30 p.m. on Friday.
Ellen Margaret Andrews | email@example.com