The Yale men’s and women’s track teams kicked off their outdoor season this weekend at NC State, where they competed in one of the most competitive events of the season — the Raleigh Relays. With 10 athletes securing personal bests throughout the meet, the Bulldogs appear poised for a successful outdoor campaign.
In total, Yale brought 17 runners to the event, with its field athletes staying in New Haven to prepare for upcoming competitions. The athletes that raced in Raleigh competed in a wide array of events, ranging from the 100-meter dash to track and field’s longest race — the 10,000-meter run. While the Bulldogs did not bring any relay teams to Raleigh, the Elis executed well in their individual events against top-notch competition.
“The conditions for the meet could not have been better ,and the competitive energy in the air helped to carry everyone along,” distance runner Kayley DeLay ’21 said. “Big meets like Raleigh Relays usually result in [personal records] and strong performances because of this positive energy and great competition. Now having the first meet under our belt, everyone can reflect on how their race went and what they want to achieve by the end of the outdoor season.”
On the men’s side, the Bulldogs were successful across the board but were especially strong in the distance events. In the 1,500-meter event, distance runners Nick Dahl ’21 and Allen Siegler ’20 both secured new personal bests. Dahl crossed the finish line in 3:45.51, while Siegler finished in 3:47. Both Dahl and Siegler’s performances were good enough to place them in the top 15.
Rookies Cade Brown ’22 and Brendan Murray ’22 kicked off their first collegiate outdoor seasons in the 10,000-meter run — which constitutes 25 laps around the track. Brown and Murray embraced the challenging event, and both finished in the top 35 among a field of more than 70 runners. Murray finished in 30:44.90 and Brown ran the event in 30:19.45.
“I feel my race execution went very well,” Brown said. “[Distance Coach Paul Harkins] laid out a very workable race plan for us in the 10k, and the combination of perfect conditions and a large field to compete against and work off of led to a highly productive weekend.”
Yale’s sprint cohort on the men’s team consisted of three athletes — Vincent Vaughns ’20, Ek Ayhan ’21 and Juma Sei ’22. Vaughns, who holds the school record in three track and field events, took ninth place in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.68 seconds.
Ayhan, who also competed in the 100-meter dash, completed the event in 10.99, which marked the first time finishing the 100-meter dash under 11 seconds during his college career. As for middle-distance specialist Sei, the Portland native placed seventh in the 400-meter dash among a field of nearly 70 runners. He crossed the finish line in a speedy 47.67.
Runners for the women’s team also shined in both the sprint and distance events. Sprinter and hurdler Addi Coy ’21 was the sole athlete on the women’s team to compete in multiple events throughout the weekend, which was no easy feat especially considering that these events were the 400-meter dash and 400-meter hurdles. Coy raced first in the 400-meter dash on Friday and finished in 58.18. The following day, Coy returned to the track for the 400-meter hurdles. Although the race did not go as planned, as Coy experienced a fall, she still finished the race.
Sprinter Lilly Enes ’20 — Yale’s only other sprinter on the women’s team to compete in Raleigh — competed in the 100-meter dash. She finished the event in 12.42, just 0.25 seconds off her personal best. The rest of the Elis to race in Raleigh were distance runners, and several of them secured new personal records throughout the weekend. Andrea Masterson ’19, who won the Ivy League Cross Country Championships and raced in NCAA’s in the fall, secured her second-straight top-10 performance in the Raleigh Relays’ 10,000-meter run. In doing so, Masterson knocked more than ten seconds off her previous personal best.
In the shorter distance events, Yale’s athletes continued to achieve strong performances. DeLay completed the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 10:33.62, which was not only a 20-second personal best but was also good for an 11th-place finish. The Elis saw another impressive finish from 800-meter specialist Samantha Friborg ’22, who earned sixth place in 2:08.80. Fellow first-year, middle-distance runner Jocelyn Chau ’22, also kicked off her outdoor collegiate career on a high note, finishing the 1,500-meter run in 4:22.77 — good for 12th place.
“It was really great to be able to compete with and against such good competition so early on in the season,” Friborg said. “I loved being able to test my fitness against a talented group, and while the race didn’t quite go the way that I had hoped, I’m grateful we were able to be there this weekend. As a group, the team had a fantastic weekend with lots of strong openers and personal bests across the board.”
With their first outdoor meet under their belts, the Elis are eager to continue posting new personal bests and executing their event strategies in upcoming meets. With the field athletes still awaiting their first spring performances, the Bulldogs are looking forward to competing in full force in the near future.
The Elis will hit the road again next weekend. Due to a recent change of plans, the Bulldogs will compete at Princeton’s Sam Howell Invitational instead of the Colonial Relays at William & Mary. The change will allow Yale to face Ivy League competition earlier in the season, which will help prepare the Bulldogs for the conference championships.
Ellen Margaret Andrews | firstname.lastname@example.org