Yale Athletics

Yale’s Cross Country season came to a close on Nov. 10 when both the men’s team and women’s team ran in the NCAA Cross Country Northeast Regional Championships. Captain Sean Kay ’24 moved on to run in the NCAA National Championships on Saturday, Nov. 18. The Bulldogs are looking forward to their winter season — indoor track and field — which will run from December to March. 

Yale Track and Field will kick off their indoor season at home in New Haven on Saturday, Dec. 9, at Yale’s Coxe Cage, which was named after Eli hammer thrower Charles Edmund Coxe, class of 1893. Coxe allegedly donated the $300,000 — approximately $10 million today — needed to build the facility.

“Our goals this season as a team are very simple, to finish as high as we can at indoor and outdoor HEPS,” Matt Appel ’24, one of the men’s team’s star throwers last year, wrote to the News. “I don’t really feel that it’s fair to name certain returners or newcomers as people to look out for because we’ve all been putting in a lot of work as a team, and everyone has made leaps. What I will say is that I feel the team is much more bought in than last year and I’m hoping that translates into better performances when it matters. I think the meet Dec. 9 will be a good checkpoint to see where we’re at as a team and I think we’ll be pretty happy with the results.”

Last season, the men’s and women’s teams left room for improvement, with both teams finishing at the bottom of the pack at the Heptagonal Indoor Track & Field Championships — or HEPS — indoor and outdoor track and field championships. However, that is not to say that the teams lacked bright spots.

On the men’s side of events, the team has two experienced throwers returning. Appel and Chris Ward ’24, who both had impressive seasons last year, will return for a final year. Appel was on the podium nearly all season, setting a school record in the discus with 58.38 meters in one of the last meets of the outdoor season. Ward improved all season long to accompany him on many podium appearances toward the end of the indoor season and then much of the outdoor season.

Additionally, Brian Di Bassinga ’26 will return to the Bulldogs’ jumping squad, having nearly set a school record in the triple jump in one of his first meets as a first year last season. On the track side of the competition, leading sprinters James Grindle ’25 and Jacob Kao ’25 will return for the Bulldogs, and distance runners Kay and Owen Karas ’26 are coming off impressive cross country seasons to lead the Bulldogs’ distance squad.

The women’s team will also have some prominent returners, although they are coming off the loss of last year’s captain and mid-distance star Samantha Friborg ’23.

“We have some great athletes in our sprints, hurdles, jumps, and throws that have been working hard this fall.” said head women’s Cross Country coach Taryn Sheehan. “We expect to make some major contributions this spring.” 

In the field events, the women’s team also has two experienced throwers returning to the lineup in Bella Bergloff ’24 and Kalei Memmer ’25, both of whom frequently appeared on the podium for the Bulldogs. Kiera Suh ’26 will return to lead the Bulldogs’ jumping squad, having notched many impressive finishes in her first year.

On the track, Claire Archer ’26, Kyra Pretre ’24 and Kathryn Rodrigues ’24 are all coming off successful cross country seasons and figure as likely candidates to lead the distance squad for the Bulldogs. Sydney McCord ’24 also returns to the sprint squad after many strong finishes last year, and pole vaulter Eileen Yang ’24 looks to build on strong finishes last season for the team as well.

Meanwhile, the team is looking forward to using this indoor season to prepare for the championships in May.

“Often, we use indoors as a way to get back to some fundamental parts of training and use it as a way to ultimately prepare ourselves to run the best in May when the championship part of the outdoor season takes place.” said Sheehan. “This is a great chance to learn how to be great racers in challenging tight indoor race settings, especially in the shorter events.” 

The News spoke to Lucus Mylon ’27 on how he thinks the preseason will help the team prepare to be a formidable competitor this year in the indoor and outdoor seasons.

“Preseason we are really building and preparing ourselves for the season,” Mylon said. “Paying attention to the small details like running form, stability, injury prevention so that we make sure we have a good healthy season. It’s still very early but coaches are keeping us motivated and giving us individual attention for our own minor issues and things to improve upon.” 

The Bulldogs have their season opener next Saturday, Dec. 9, in Coxe Cage.