FOOTBALL: Team 150 prepares for 2023 season
The Yale football team has returned from summer break and has begun training for the start of its upcoming season.
Team 150, which began training for the year on Aug. 17, has worked to set itself up for a strong 2023 season.
Last season, the Bulldogs (8–2, 6–1 Ivy) took home the Ivy League Championship after a 19-14 win against Harvard, marking Yale’s third championship win in the past five years. Since the Bulldogs’ triumph over Harvard, Yale’s players have received honors, awards and national recognition; their main focus this fall, however, is the 10-game season that lies ahead.
“What’s been really fulfilling for me was at the end of last season, we really turned the page from 149 to 150, and the guys were pretty amazing,” head coach Tony Reno said. “Team 150 is a new team, and we get to build it from the bottom up.”
Reno told the News that the Elis trained well both on and off campus during the offseason and had a strong start at preseason training camp.
The team gained momentum after being picked as the preseason favorite by Ivy League Media on Aug. 7, with 122 points and 13 first-place votes. Princeton trailed in second place with 103 points and one first-place vote.
“We have a lot of returning players back from last year with a ton of experience, but with that comes a target on our back,” quarterback Nolan Grooms ’24 said. “Ever since we walked off that field up in Cambridge last year, our goal has been to elevate in every aspect of our life, and it has translated into a spectacular offseason in my opinion.”
Grooms was the recipient of the 2022 Bushnell Cup as Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year and is in consideration for the 2023 Walter Payton Award, given annually to the Division I FCS college football national offensive player of the year. Grooms, who threw 1,660 yards and rushed 726 yards last season, also earned first team All-Ivy recognition.
Grooms was not the only Bulldog recognized for impressive play in the 2022 season. Running back Joshua Pitsenberger ’26 was named Ivy League Rookie of the Year in addition to being selected as a Finalist for the Jerry Rice Award, which is presented annually to the best freshman in the FCS.
Pitsenberger also earned FCS Freshman All-America Recognition.
“Team 150 stands out from other teams because we are trying to elevate this program to new heights,” defensive back Wande Owens ’24 said. “I am most looking forward to bonding with my teammates on and off the field, creating memories to last a lifetime.”
Offensive lineman Kiran Amegadjie ’24 was selected for the Reese’s Senior Bowl Watch List and was named to the 2023 Stats Perform FCS Preseason All-America Team. He was also selected as the Ivy League Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All American and Ivy team in Phil Steele’s FCS Preseason All American Teams Selection.
Four current Yale football players earned Academic All-District Honors: punter and kicker Jack Bosman ’24, running back Nathan Denney ’25, offensive lineman Jack Karhu ’25 and wide receiver Mason Shipp ’25.
On June 1, Yale Athletics released the names of the 27 new Elis set to join the class of 2027, including six defensive linemen, six offensive linemen, two linebackers, six defensive backs, three wide receivers, one long snapper, two tight ends and one quarterback.
Yale also welcomed four new coaches to the team — Marcus Knight, Tim Janecek, David Josephson and Stefon Wheeler have already begun to mentor Yale’s wide receivers, defensive linemen, tight ends and offensive linemen, respectively.
“Preseason has been a huge growth period for our team in all aspects,” Grooms said. “As far as the season goes, I look forward to continuing building bonds and relationships with my teammates during the gauntlet that the Ivy League football season is.”
Owens, who was elected captain of Team 150 last November, was named to the New England Football Writers Association All-New England team, which honored the 2022 FBS and FCS players in New England by position.
Owens played in every game in the 2022 season and was one of two players tied with a team-leading 63 tackles.
“From the last few weeks of preseason, the things that stand out are energy and effort,” the captain said. “Though we all have assignments to perform each and every play, we maintain that element of having fun with each other.”
Another highlight of the summer occurred when defensive lineman Adam Raine ’23 signed with the Edmonton Elks in the Canadian Football League after being invited to the Washington Commanders’ rookie mini-camp last May.
Reno, named 2022 Ivy League Coach of the Year, expressed his excitement for the season to come, the continued growth of the team and “watching this team chase elite and handle everything in its way.”
“I’m really excited about what they’ve done so far,” Reno said. “We’ve kind of got a long way to go in preseason camp to get ourselves ready for our first regular season game, but they’ve done a really good job of focusing in on themselves and focusing in on what we need to do to become the best versions of ourselves.”The Bulldogs will face Holy Cross for Yale’s home opener at the Yale Bowl on Sept. 16 at noon.