Yale Daily News

After 11 new Yale records, 15 first place finishes and more than 20 new personal records this semester, the Bulldogs will lace up for their most important competition of the season thus far, where the indoor Ivy League champion will be determined.

On Saturday, the Yale squad will head over to the Armory Track and Field Center in New York City, recognized as one of the fastest tracks in the world, for the Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor Track and Field Championships. The competition will span two days, and the Ivy squad that comes out on top will be crowned champions.

“The Armory is an acclaimed track,” Libby McMahon ’22 of the women’s squad wrote to the News. “The history of the Ivy League Heptagonal Championship (heps: referring to the seven original Ivy League schools) combined with the fame associated with the armory will make this an event you don’t want to miss.”

Some of the women’s team’s biggest highlights of the semester were credited to McMahon, Sophie Isom ’22, Aliya Boshnak ’23 and Addison Coy ’22. The four Bulldogs ran the fastest 4×400 meter relay in Yale history with a time of 3:41.75 seconds at Boston University’s Bruce Lehane Scarlet & White Invitational on Feb. 5. The Elis returned to the same track to win this same race the next weekend at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational with a time of 3:42.34 seconds.

This same team will be running at the heps in two days time.

For McMahon, her contributions did not end there. She finished the 400 meter dash in 55.84 seconds one weekend and finished the 200 meter race in 24.14 seconds the next — setting new school records both times.

Even in 2022, COVID-19 is still around and still affecting the team’s practice and competition. Amid unprecedented, massive breakouts at Yale University, the squad has seen many teammates affected.

“Although I think everyone is on edge, spring athletes in particular are on edge, and spring athletes that are entering championship weeks are especially on edge because getting the virus doesn’t just mean having to miss lecture or classes,” men’s captain Juma Sei ’22 said. “I would have to miss my last indoor heps as a Yale track and field athlete. And on top of that, I’ve lost so much because of the pandemic already, it would just be brutal to get the virus right now.”

The Ivy League Heptagonal has not taken place since 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, so seniors like Sei have already lost one opportunity to run at the historic competition.

Despite the outbreak, the men’s squad shined these past weeks in the 500 meter, the mile, the 3km race, the shotput and the 4×400 meter relay, among other competitions.

Sei already has two first place wins for the team this semester, being the only Bulldog to take the top spot at Boston University’s Bruce Lehane Scarlet & White Invitational. At this meet, he ran the 500 meter relay to the tune of 1:02.79 seconds.

“There are a lot of events, especially on the sprint side, where we’re really really close, not only to winning the Ivy League, but just setting school records in the process and leaving Heps, at least indoor Heps, with a bunch of school records and a bunch of Ivy titles would be the perfect way to sort of Capstone my last indoor season wearing the Y,” the Louisiana native said.

On Feb. 11, once again at BU, Sei ran alongside Christopher Colbert ’22, Colin Quinn ’25 and Simon Jupp ’25, finishing the 4×400 meter relay in 3:11.99 seconds — also a first place win. Sei’s split ended up being the fastest of the day with a time of 46.95 seconds.

At Heps, Sei will be running the 500 meter and the 4×400 once again.

“The last two weekends have given us a good indication of where we are as a team,” David Shoehalter, the Yale director of cross country and track and field, said. “We’ve shown strength in every event area and continue to rewrite the Yale top 15 lists.”

Other highlights included Matt Appel ’24 and Robert Miranda ’22, who both broke long withstanding Yale records — in the shot put and the 3km race respectively.

In just the first meet of the semester, Appel threw 58 feet and 10.25 inches and shattered the record of John Langhauser ’07. 

Miranda also impressed when he ran the 3 kilometer race in 7:51.91 seconds, breaking a 31-year-old record. The day before, he ran the mile in 3:59.27 seconds and also entered the record book as the second fastest Yalie in this category.

A few first years will also be competing in Heps for the very first time. The list includes Dominique Romain ’25, Jacob Kao ’25, Quinn, James Grindle ’25, Peyton Parker ’25, Kalei Memmer ’25 and Violet Perry ’25.

“I know this is the strongest track contingent that we’re bringing to Heps,” Sei said. “We ended last indoor season, headed in a really, really great direction. And I kind of want to show not only everyone on the team but in the league that Yale track and field has not taken any steps back. We only move forward as a program because it’s something that I know to be true.”

The Armory Track and Field Center will open its doors to The Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor Track & Field Championships at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

Toia Conde Rodrigues da Cunha is the News' Instagram editor. Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, she is studying cognitive science as sophomore. Toia is also a staff reporter for the Sports desk and was a staff photographer.