With the Ivy League Championships right around the corner, the Yale men’s and women’s track teams are gearing up to turn the league blue.

This past Friday, half the team, particularly the mid-distance runners, made the trek up to Boston for the David Hemery Valentine Invitational. The Bulldogs performed well in anticipation of Ivy’s at the end of February, putting up solid times and improving on last week’s results. Zoe Nuechterlein ’21 recorded a time of 9:53.4 minutes in the 3,000m race, more than 20 seconds faster than her previous best. In the 200m, Libby McMahon ’22 crossed the finish line after 24.61 seconds; she is now second all-time on the Yale women’s team.

Marcus Woods ’23 broke Yale’s 200m record for the third straight week with a time of 21.15 seconds. Finishing second of 230 runners, Woods’ hard work has paid off. He has improved every week, and now holds the top three times for the 200m at Yale.

“Marcus has had an incredible record-breaking start to the season and the whole team is excited to see what he can do as the season progresses,” fellow sprinter Harry Grindle ’23 said.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, the rest of the team competed at Coxe Cage in the Giegengack Invitational. Both on the track and on the field, the Bulldogs excelled. In the long jump, Sydney Kunkler ’23 finished fourth with a distance of 5.42 meters, which marked a personal best. Emma Vasen ’22 comfortably won the shot put by more than half a meter before placing fourth in the weight throw. It was ultimately a successful day for the field athletes.

In the 60m dash, Lauren Stavig ’22 and Ava Thomas ’22 qualified for the finals, during which Thomas finished fifth. She also finished second in the 200m race with a time of 25.71 seconds.

Teammate and high jumper Olivia Mooney ’20 finished 2 seconds behind her, showing the team’s versatility in events. In the 400m, Emma Osborne ’21 narrowly missed first place, finishing less than a second behind the winner with a time of 59.07 seconds. Similarly, in the 800m, Caroline Brashear ’23 had a memorable debut, snatching second place in a tight race.

“For the women, the meet was more of an opportunity for us to practice being good and fierce individual competitors above amassing PRs,” Nicole Dirks ’23 said. “That being said, many of the women still set season’s bests. I don’t think we know where we stand going into Heps [the Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor Track & Field Championships], but we are definitely in a better position than we have been in years.”

For the men’s team, Andrew Rochon ’21 was a dominant force yet again. His consistent performances will be crucial during Ivy’s, as he is capable of bringing in many valuable points. On Saturday, he placed fourth in the weight throw and second in the shot put, with distances of 16.68 meters and 15.45 meters, respectively. Jack Dunn ’22 also participated in the weight throw, finishing three spots behind Rochon in seventh. In the long jump, Darius Jing ’22 took second place with a leap of 6.80 meters.

During his debut in the 60 meter dash, Jing finished one hundredth of a second behind the qualifying time, just missing the final heat. In the 60 meter hurdles, Itamar Fayler ’23 redeemed himself from disappointing performance last week, not only making it to the final heat, but also finishing second with a time of 8.26 seconds. Meanwhile, teammate Jeamy Williams ’23 flew down the track during the 400m event, finishing third with a time of 50.65 seconds, just two tenths of a second behind the leader.

“As long as we can train smart, stay healthy, and up the intensity when needed, I think we’ll be ready for whatever,” Woods said last week.

The Ivy League Championships will take place in Ithaca on Feb. 29.


Rehan Melwani |