Steve Musco

Grabbing second and third place, respectively, the Yale men’s and women’s track and field teams fell short of securing team victories in the annual Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet.

Despite several Yale athletes posting strong marks in individual events, the Elis were ultimately no match for the Tigers, who outscored the Bulldogs by more than 60 points in both the men’s and women’s competitions. Entering the meet, the Elis knew that taking down Princeton would be no easy feat — on the men’s side, the Tigers have won the Ivy League for the past four years, while the Princeton women have scored higher than the Bulldogs in every conference championship meet since 2007. Nonetheless, Yale’s athletes looked to overcome Princeton’s advantage as best they could, and a number of Elis set new season-best marks.

“Overall, we took great strides this week with our collective performances at the meet,” distance runner Nick Dahl ’21 said. “Against two of the most competitive schools in the Ivy League, we were fighting in races, scoring points against rivals and improving personal best marks.”

Although Yale’s field athletes were outnumbered by Princeton and Harvard’s cohorts, the Bulldogs still managed to score points for Yale. In the pole vault, Austin Laut ’19 and Erin Gerardo ’21 leapt their way to first and second place, respectively. Throwers Emma Vasen ’22, Andrew Rochon ’21 and Jack Dunn ’22 also demonstrated their consistency with another set of strong performances. Vasen snagged second place in the shot put with a throw of 14.29 meters, while Dunn and Rochon took second and third place in the weight throw.

On the track, several Bulldogs sped to great times in the short sprint events. In the women’s 60-meter dash, sprinter Lilly Enes ’20 was one of three Yale athletes to make the finals. Enes captured fourth place in the event, while the other two — Ava Thomas ’22 and Sophie Isom ’22 — crossed the line in seventh and eighth place, respectively.

As for the men, sprinter Phil Zuccaro ’22 took third place in the 200-meter dash, nearly tying with his personal best of 22.55 seconds. Sprinter Juma Sei ’22 led the pack of Bulldogs to take third place in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.02 seconds, scoring two points for Yale. According to Sei, every chance to compete is a chance to de-stress.

“The most rewarding part of my athletic experience has probably been the escape that track has provided me,” Sei said. “I don’t want my life to be entirely enveloped by my identity as a track athlete, but at the same time, going to the track every day provides a somewhat calming respite from the stress of being a student here. It’s been nice to put down the books, set aside the meetings and just run.”

Some of the Bulldogs’ top performances of the meet took place in the distance events. In the men’s mile, five Bulldogs crossed the line in the top eight spots, with four of them finishing under 4:20 minutes. Dahl earned the top spot in the event with a time of 4:11.71; his teammate Robert Miranda ’22 finished closely behind, at 4:13.01. The Elis also held their own in the 3,000-meter run, with five Bulldogs finishing in the top 10.

Some of the women’s best marks of the day also occurred in the distance events. In the 3,000-meter run, distance star and former nationals qualifier, Andrea Masterson ’19 captured second place in the event, and Morgan McCormick ’22 claimed third.  As for the 800-meter run, distance athletes Samantha Friborg ’22 and Arianna Lord ’20 scored points for the Elis. Friborg finished the event in a quick 2:13.32 — a new collegiate best — while Lord crossed the line at 2:18.39. For Friborg, each race this season has served as a learning experience.

“In high school, I was very focused on bettering times and hitting certain splits each lap,” Friborg said. “In college, while `we are all still striving to set new personal bests, the focus seems to be far more on competing with the group … rather than focusing on hitting a certain time decided on prior to the race.”

In some of the most exciting events of the day — the 4×400 and 4×800-meter relays — the Bulldogs shined. In the women’s competition, the Elis dominated in the 4×400-meter relay for the third-straight meet. The quartet of Enes, Emma Osborne ’21, Aliya Boshnak ’22 and Addi Coy ’21 finished the event with an impressive 3:49.78. Coy, who had just won five points for Yale by winning the 500-meter run, recovered just in time to anchor the Elis in the 4×400. The hurdler and sprinter battled her way through the two laps to cross the line just ahead of Princeton’s Carly Bonnet.

On the men’s side, the Elis were especially successful in the 4×800-meter relay. Making up the relay unit, middle-distance specialists Dahl, Allen Siegler ’20, Robert Miranda ’22 and Will Laird ’21 strung together an impressive race. The Bulldogs won the event in 7:50.48, nearly three seconds faster than Princeton — the runner up.

“[Dahl] gave us a huge lead in the first leg and set the stage for the rest of the race,” Siegler said. “Robert, Will and myself were able to maintain the lead, but that initial leg was huge. Nick had an incredible meet, and it’s been awesome to see him bounce back from injury so well.”

The Bulldogs will hit the road once again this upcoming weekend, as they will head to Boston for two meets — the Harvard Select meet and the Boston University Scarlet and White meet. With the Ivy League Heptagonal Championship meet just one month away, the Bulldogs will continue to maximize their opportunities to improve and gain momentum ahead of the championship meet.

The Harvard Select meet will start at 11 a.m. on Feb. 2, while the Scarlet and White meet will also begin at 11 a.m. the next day.

Ellen Margaret Andrews | ellenmargaret.andrews@yale.edu .