The Yale men’s and women’s track and field teams hosted their first outdoor contest of the season this past weekend, matching up against Harvard in their annual dual meet. While the Bulldogs lost both the men’s and women’s competitions by significant margins, several individuals still had record-breaking weekends.
After facing off against the rest of the Ancient Eight last weekend at the Sam Howell Invitational, the Elis were eager to return to their home turf to take on the Crimson. The meet not only served as an opportunity for nearly all Yale and Harvard athletes to compete but also was the qualifying contest for the Bulldogs and Crimson’s quadrennial overseas meet against Oxford and Cambridge. Among the qualifiers was distance runner Nick Dahl ’21, who took first place in the 1,500-meter run.
“This historic trip is an experience few ever get the chance to compete for and even fewer get the chance to go on, and so I’m greatly appreciative that I’ve been afforded both,” Dahl said. “After two years of head-to-head competition against Harvard, I look forward to banding together as one team and experiencing different cultural opportunities as we do the sport we all love.”
Many of Yale’s sprinters also had strong weekends, including sprinter Lilly Enes ’20, who has consistently asserted herself as the women’s team’s fastest runner. Enes set an outdoor personal best in the 400-meter dash with a speedy time of 55.55 and also took fifth in the 200-meter dash. Sprinter and hurdler Addi Coy ’21 also set a new season-best time, as she finished the 400-meter hurdles in a quick 1:00.24.
On the men’s side, sprinter Juma Sei ’22 not only had a successful weekend but also showed great resilience competing in four sprint events for the Elis. In his individual events, Sei placed second in the 400-meter run and fifth in the 200-meter dash. Sprinter Ek Ayhan ’21 also competed in four events for the Bulldogs, and like Sei, he placed among the top five in all of them. In the 200-meter dash, Ayhan’s time of 21.47 set a new collegiate best.
Yale saw its most blistering speeds in the 100-meter dash, where the Bulldogs took first through fourth place in the men’s competition. Sprinter Vincent Vaughns ’20 secured a spot to Britain with his first-place finish in the event, crossing the finish line in 10.61 seconds. Sprinters Phil Zuccaro ’22 and Alexander Young ’20 finished shortly behind Vaughns as they grabbed second and third place respectively.
“My biggest focus going into the 100-meter was to stay relaxed and try to get out well. It’s definitely a good feeling to know that I’m going on the trip,” Vaughns said. “I remember hearing about this meet back when choosing between schools, so it’s great to have this opportunity come to fruition and have my first experience in Europe being to represent the top academic institutions in the world.”
As for the distance events, Yale’s runners continued to thrive, especially in the middle-distance races. Seven Elis took on the Crimson in the 1,500-meter run, and Yale placed in five of the top eight spots. First-year phenom Jocelyn Chau ’22 was runner-up in the event with a time of 4:28.37. In the 800-meter run, distance runner Samantha Friborg ’22 etched her name into the Yale record books once again, as she won the event in 2:08.36 — the fifth-best time in school history. Friborg’s time was almost two seconds faster than the next closest finisher.
On the men’s side, Dahl was just one among many Yale runners to have strong weekends at home. Alongside Dahl in the 1,500-meter run was Allen Siegler ’20, who crossed the line shortly behind Dahl with a time of 3:49.71 — good for second place in the event. Distance runners Robert Miranda ’22, Cameron Wyman ’21 and Jonathan Lomogda ’20 also all took second place in their individual events — the the steeplechase, the 800 meter run and the 3,000-meter run, respectively. Miranda’s time of 9:14.53 was another personal record for the star rookie.
“With this meet against Harvard, the focus was positioning,” Dahl said. “As with any rivalry, and especially one as fierce as the one our two schools share, it’s about direct competition. We set out in the 1,500 to take the first two places in the race and did just that.”
Besides the fast and gritty running on the track this weekend, many of the most exciting performances occurred in the field. In the men’s throwing competitions, Yale’s duo of Andrew Rochon ’21 and Jack Dunn ’22 both competed in multiple events and saw their names atop the scoreboards. Rochon competed in the hammer throw, javelin and shot put, placing among the top three in each event. Dunn’s highlight performance came in the hammer throw, where he placed first with a new personal record of 52.99 meters.
For the women’s team, thrower Emma Vasen ’22 had yet another stellar weekend, taking first place in the shot put, discus and hammer throw, scoring fifteen points for the Bulldogs in the process. Vasen also grabbed the runner-up spot in the javelin. The New Jersey native’s performance this weekend was particularly impressive, considering Vasen only had experience with the shot put before coming to Yale.
“Going into the meet, I wasn’t really trying to hold back on any events at all,” Vasen said. “I planned for every throw to be with maximum effort and focus. I was really looking forward to being able to compete for my team in many different events in order to help with the team scoring.”
As for Yale’s jumpers, the Bulldogs saw some of the top performances of the weekend from high jumpers CJ McCord ’20 and Elizabeth Adelson ’20. McCord’s leap of 1.97 meters earned first place and five points in the event, while Adelson’s jump of 1.63 meters was a new season best and good for second place.
In the men’s pole vault competition, vaulter Austin Laut ’19 had the performance he had been waiting for, setting another school record with a remarkable jump of 5.31 meters. Laut opted to attempt for the record after cruising past the 5.18-meter mark on just his second jump. After two subsequent missed attempts at 5.31, Laut executed on his last attempt.
At the end of the day, the Crimson beat the Bulldogs by a score of 95–68 in the men’s competition and 105–57 on the women’s side.
Ellen Margaret Andrews | firstname.lastname@example.org .