Yale Athletics

This Saturday, Dec. 9, the Bulldogs will kick off their indoor track and field season when they host the Yale Season Opener in New Haven at Coxe Cage, Yale’s indoor track and field facility.

For over 15 years, Yale has started their indoor season at home, hosting a small contingent of local Connecticut teams in Coxe Cage, with this year’s lineup consisting of Yale, Sacred Heart University and Quinnipiac University. For Yale, this meet provides the opportunity for many of the athletes to get their first taste of competition since the previous spring.

“With preseason training beginning on Sept. 7, this meet provides our athletes with the opportunity to put on a uniform and compete in a meet situation, as most of our athletes have not competed since May,” head coach David Shoehalter explained to the News. “In addition, developing habits and routines for meet days as well as the broader season kicks off today, which is an important aspect of competing. It also provides us coaches with the opportunity to get a diagnostic and gives us something to focus on between now and January.”

Based on last season as well as preseason training, Shoehalter said that, in particular, he expects his throws group to be the team’s strength. Both teams are led by a thrower, with Matt Appel ’24 serving as the men’s team captain and Bella Bergloff ’24 serving as the women’s team captain. In addition to these two, Shoehalter also highlighted Chris Ward ’24, Nolan Recker ’26, and Maria Leskovec ’24 as throwers who have had a great summer and fall of training.

In addition to the throwers, Shoehalter also mentioned the men’s team sprints group, particularly James Grindle ’25, Jacob Kao ’25 and Aaron Miller ’25 as athletes to look out for early on in the season based on their preseason performances.

While Shoehalter commented on specific groups he expects to have big performances, women’s team captain Bergloff said she expects a strong performance across the board.

“This weekend is going to be really exciting for the team because it will be a small meet, giving us the opportunity to showcase all of the work we’ve put in this off-season and dominate without the pressure of competing against other Ivy teams,” Bergloff wrote to the News. “We have a really cohesive group this year and have sort of refocused our intentions, and I think throughout this season we will be pushing each other to individually reach our potential to have our best season yet!”

While the athletes who have been training with Coach Shoehalter all fall will make their debut on Saturday, this weekend will not mark the return of the men’s and women’s cross country teams to competition. Having finished their seasons only a month ago, the distance runners are resting before building their mileage back up and opening their season later on.

However, although they will not be joining the broader track and field teams for competition quite yet, men’s cross country captain Sean Kay ’24 told the News that the team’s camaraderie development is already well underway.

“In terms of merging with the broader track team, this is where the fun really starts,” Kay wrote to the News. “We have a great captain this year for Track in Matt Appel who has gone out of his way to make the XC team feel included, while also respecting the fact that we were competing all fall in a different sport. This merger definitely brings new life to the team, I think, and being able to see other event groups working just as hard is always a good sign. We have done a really good job of bridging this gap to the point where we see each other as not only members of the same team, but also friends off the track.”

After this weekend, Yale’s track and field teams will take some time off from competition over the holiday, returning to Coxe Cage on Jan. 20 to compete against Columbia and Dartmouth in New Haven.