Units from the Yale men’s and women’s track and field teams divided and conquered last weekend, as groups travelled to Auburn, Northeastern and Virginia to compete for the fifth straight weekend.
With the Ivy League Championships just two weeks off on the horizon, the Bulldogs looked to use competition last weekend less as an opportunity to garner team wins than as a chance to set personal records. The Elis did not disappoint, as several athletes and relay cohorts secured both new season and career bests across the east coast. Motivated by their individual and relay efforts, the Bulldogs will look to carry their momentum forward heading into the championship season.
“Our biggest team goals going into [Ivy Championships] are to go out with some fire in our hearts, give a performance we can look back on and know we gave our all and to remember that we are running to win,” sprinter Lilly Enes ’20 said. “We have already done all the hard work, by enduring some tough workouts, taking care of ourselves, and practicing our racing strategy in previous meets. It’s all muscle memory now.”
Athletes who competed in the Virginia Challenge at UVA faced staunch competition all weekend. The Bulldogs competed against several elite athletes from Power Five conferences but still managed to hold their own when it came time to race.
The majority of Yale’s athletes who raced at Virginia were distance runners, and on the men’s side, the Elis got electric performances from their 1,500- and 800-meter runners. 1500-meter runners Trevor Reinhart ’19 and Allen Siegler ’20 reached new heights in what has already been a record-shattering season for both athletes, as Reinhart set a new personal best with a time of 3:43.17, while Siegler also bested his previous record with a time of 3:50.48.
Three of Yale’s 800-meter runners — Cameron Wyman ’21, Michael Yuan ’18 and Austin Stoner ’20 — all also put up new collegiate bests in a highly competitive race, in which the first-place and 10th-place finishers finished just over two seconds apart. Wyman credited the continued success to the group’s strong camaraderie.
“Having teammates is key in this sport,” Wyman said. “It can get hard running by yourself, mile after mile, especially during workouts when teammates are able to burden some of the difficulty with you.”
Distance runners on the women’s side also set new benchmarks in Virginia. Andrea Masterson ’19 continued to prove that no distance race is out of her repertoire, cutting six seconds off her personal best in the 5000-meter run, with a 12th-place finish. Masterson has set new personal records in four different events over just the past five meets.
The junior was not the only woman to shine in Virginia though, as her teammate Melissa Fairchild ’18 shaved 40 seconds off of her previous personal best in the 5,000-meter run.
The women’s competition in Virginia was also highlighted by a strong performance from steeplechaser Kate Raphael ’18 — who competed in the unorthodox event for just the sixth time of her career. Raphael placed sixth in her heat in a personal best time of 10:43.61, good for 16th place overall. After the race, Raphael said the steeplechase has rejuvenated her interest in the sport.
“I think steeplechase is one of the grittiest events on the track,” Raphael said. “I love that it’s messy and unpredictable. It has renewed my passion for running in that it is so completely different from anything else on the track, and requires a very different kind of strength, focus and technique than any of the events I had previously run.”
While Yale’s distance runners were crossing the finish line in record-breaking times, many of the Bulldogs’ sprinters were doing the same at the War Eagle Invitational at Auburn University. Sprinter Vincent Vaughns ’20 placed sixth overall in the 200-meter run, with a mark just 0.05 seconds off the school record, set by Marc-Andre Alexandre ’17 last spring.
Sprinter Ek Ayhan ’21 also had a strong day on the track for the Elis, not only winning his 400-meter dash heat and setting a personal best in the process but also playing a critical role in Yale’s 4×400-meter relay that won the last event of the meet.
“Winning the [relay] at Auburn was a huge moment for us, especially since we had two short sprinters, Kyle [Macauley ’20] and Vince, who don’t normally run the [relay] on the team,” Ayhan said.
Middle-distance sprinters on the women’s side were also key contributors to the team’s success at Auburn. Hurdler Addi Coy ’21 set a personal best for the second week in a row in the 400-meter hurdles.
Runners on the women’s 4×400-meter relay had season-best performances both individually and as relay legs, as both rookies Lauren Drysch ’21 and Emma Osborne ’21 set new collegiate personal records in the 400- and 200-meter dashes, respectively.
Athletes who competed at Northeastern — many of whom were field athletes — also stepped up for Yale, with several placing in the top five in their events.
The Bulldogs will have one last opportunity to refine their crafts before championship season begins, as they return to New Haven for the Yale Springtime Invitational next weekend. The Dewitt Cuyler Athletic Complex will host the meet on Sunday, April 29.
Ellen Margaret Andrews | email@example.com