The Yale men’s and women’s track and field teams will finish their indoor season this upcoming weekend when they compete in their most anticipated meet of the season — the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships at Harvard.
The Bulldogs will look to improve significantly upon last year’s Heps performance, where the men’s team took seventh place, and the women’s team placed last among the Ancient Eight. Although the Elis will not be a favorite going into the meet — Penn’s women’s team and Princeton’s men’s team remain powerhouses in the League — the Bulldogs are confident that they have the talent to perform at a higher level this year. With just a few training days left, the Elis will focus on fine tuning the details — such as relay exchange techniques and block starts — in order to be at peak performance this upcoming weekend.
“I’m so excited for the Ivy Championships next week,” sprinter Aliya Boshnak ’22 said. “The higher stakes of this meet in comparison to the previous ones already has my adrenaline going. Heading into it, I am expecting a very high energy and motivating environment that will hopefully push us all to perform at our best and showcase everything we have been working towards.”
On the men’s side, the Bulldogs have shown themselves to be equipped with both impressive young talent and solid veteran leadership. Rookies Juma Sei ’22 and Christopher Colbert ’22 have been key contributors to Yale’s sprinting cohort throughout the season. Sei, who specializes in the short sprint events but also steps up as the Bulldogs’ anchor leg on the 4×400-meter relay, leads the Elis with the top 200-meter dash mark of the season. Similarly, Colbert boasts the fastest 400-meter dash time among the Bulldogs, running a speedy 49.36 second race at the Valentine Invitational last weekend.
Yale’s distance runners have also consistently performed at a high level throughout the indoor season. Middle-distance specialist Allen Siegler ’20 has emerged as one of Yale’s most reliable athletes. Not only does he possess the top mile and 1000-meter run times on the team, but also he has been a dependable member of Yale’s 4×800-meter relay team. Rookie distance runner Robert Miranda ’22 has also demonstrated incredible poise in his first indoor season and leads the Bulldogs with the best 3000-meter run time of the season.
As for the field athletes, Yale’s senior class has certainly left a positive mark on the team. Pole vaulter Austin Laut ’19, high jumper CJ McCord ’20 and triple jumper Jimmy Shih ’19 have all had remarkable senior campaigns so far. Laut secured a new personal record and inched closer to breaking the school record with a 5.20-meter leap three weekends ago, while Shih’s 14.48-meter triple jump on Jan. 18 landed just short of the school record. McCord secured the school record with a 2.10-meter jump in just his first meet of the season.
“I’m really excited that my last race going into Heps this indoor season was a big [personal record] in the 200-meter dash,” sprinter Ek Ayhan ’21 said. “I know that this means I’m in a great position to perform at my best.”
As for the women’s team, Yale’s field athletes have also stepped up regularly throughout the season. The performance of rookie thrower Emma Vasen ’22 has been especially impressive for the Bulldogs, and her 14.29-meter shot put throw at HYP set a school record by more than a meter. Meanwhile, pole vaulter Erin Gerardo ’21 has had another strong season, securing a new personal best jump of 3.85-meters — just 0.15 meters off the school record — in the first meet of the season.
Yale’s distance runners have also made many significant strides throughout the year. Middle-distance specialist Jocelyn Chau ’22 has emerged as one of the most impressive rookies in recent years and currently leads the team in both the 1000-meter and mile runs. She also anchors the 4×800-meter relay, which secured the sixth-best time in school history a month ago at HYP. Star distance runner Andrea Masterson ’19 leads the Elis in the 3000 and 5000-meter runs.
“What I first found to be special about this team is how people prioritize supporting each other, and this dedication to one another contributes positively to the team chemistry,” Chau said.
Yale’s sprinters also remain some of the team’s most talented athletes. Lilly Enes ’20 leads the team in the 60-meter dash and the 200-meter dash, while Addi Coy ’21 leads in the 400 and 500-meter dash events. Enes’ 7.29 second run in the 60-meter dash ranks second in school history. And Coy’s success this season has put her in third place in school history for both the 400 and 500-meter dash. The dynamic duo along with Emma Osborne ’21 and Boshnak also set a school record in the 4×400-meter dash this season with a 3:42.75 time.
“I definitely want to run a personal best in the 400-meter dash and secure a place in the [Heps] final,” Boshnak said. “For the [4×400-meter relay], we are looking to keep improving on our time and just be aggressive and fight until the very end for that top spot.”
Although the indoor season is coming to a close, the athletes’ competition season is just beginning, with an entire spring season on the horizon. With that in mind, the Elis will look to finish their winter campaign on a high note in order to gain momentum for the busy weeks ahead. But before the Bulldogs turn to the spring campaign, they will focus on executing their events this weekend in Cambridge.
The Ivy League Heptagonal Championships will start on Feb. 23 at 10:45 a.m. Events will be streamed on ESPN+.
Ellen Margaret Andrews | firstname.lastname@example.org .