Yale Athletics

Yale’s men’s and women’s track teams will lace up on Saturday for the first time in over a month at home against Dartmouth and Columbia, two Ivy League rivals.

Having last competed on Dec. 9 in their first meet of the 2023–24 season thus far — fittingly dubbed the “Yale Season Opener” — the Bulldogs look to bring their last six weeks of training into their first meet of 2024 and pick up ahead of where they left off.

“We ended in a great place before winter break, as everyone was in shape and I would hope strongly encouraged about the season to come,” women’s captain Isabella Bergloff ’24 wrote to the News. “The team got some much needed rest while staying vigilant in our training, and we’ve had two weeks of good work on campus coming into the YDC this weekend.”

On the women’s side of events, the team looks to continue its already-hot start to the season. Last time the Bulldogs competed in Coxe Cage, first year Gloria Guerrier ’27 set a school record in the 500-meter dash in her first-ever meet as a Bulldog. Running an impressive 1:12.41, she finished just ahead of her sister Victoria Guerrier ’27, who finished at 1:13.56. Iris Bergman ’25 also took first place in the mile with a time of 5:06.63, and Claire Archer ’26 won the 3000-meter with a time of 9:38.40. In the field events, team captain Bergloff took home first place in the weight throw with a PR of 17.91 meters, Emma Peretti ’27 took home first place in her first ever collegiate shot put competition with a throw of 12.52 meters, and Alexandra Bonn ’27 took home first place in her first ever collegiate triple jump with a distance of 11.63 meters.

Bergloff gives her team a good chance to take first this weekend if they keep this level of performance up.

“Already at our first meet one of our first year sprinters, Gloria Guerrier, broke the school record in the 500m, and we had many other performances that stepped into our top-10 all-time leaderboard,” Bergloff wrote to the News. “If we go out and compete like we did a month ago, we will be in a great position to win this meet, and I think everyone should be really excited about that!”

On the men’s side of events, the Bulldogs performed similarly well last month in Coxe Cage. Men’s captain Matt Appel ’24 continued his consistent impressive performance from last spring, taking first in the weight throw with a distance of 19.75 meters, placing him second all-time on Yale’s indoor list. Isiah Udofia ’26 took home first in the long jump with a 6.75 meter leap, and Brian Di Bassinga ’26 took first in the triple jump with leaps spanning 14.95 meters. On the track, Cristian Pereira ’25 took first in the 60 meter with a 6.93-second blitz, and Aaron Miller ’25 took first in the 300-meter with a 34.65-second PR.

According to Appel, the team has come off break feeling bigger, faster and stronger, and being at home in Coxe Cage certainly does not hurt.

“I think a lot of people used break as a time to get some training in with an added emphasis on recovery that we may not have the time to do here. Overall I expect it to be a net positive for the group,” Appel wrote to the News when questioned about training over winter break. “Personally I love competing at Coxe Cage. It’s nice to be able to get friends and family to come out to support us.” 

He added that the throws circle at Coxe Cage is concrete, which he “prefer[s] to most other indoor venues that have wood rings.” 

Meanwhile, while the athletes compete inside the comforts of a large indoor facility, it will still be frigid outside, affecting the training of some distance athletes. 

According to head coach David Shoehalter, while the athletes competing in field events and sprints mostly remain unaffected, middle- and long-distance athletes are braving the chilly temperatures.

“The weather definitely affects the way we train,” Shoehalter wrote to the News. “Most of our sprinters, jumpers, hurdlers and throwers are inside all the time at this time of the year. But the middle distance and distance runners have to put in mileage and that can really only occur outdoors. They are a tough group and they bundle up and put in the work no matter the conditions.”

Included in this group is Sean Kay ’24, the 2023 men’s cross country team captain who last ran in the NCAA National Championships on Saturday, Nov. 18. It’s been since Friday, Nov. 10, since Kay and his fellow cross country to indoor track and field converts on the men’s and women’s teams last competed.

Having taken off the first meet of the indoor season to continue to rest and train for the new season ahead of them, Kay says his team is looking to pick up a step ahead of where they left off last and continue to go from there.

“This is the opener for many of our guys and so we’re looking to put our best foot forward against some Ivy League competition,” Kay wrote to the News. “With such a long season, of course we hope to have our best performances at the end of the season, but I know guys are looking to run some personal bests this weekend that I know they’ll be able to build upon.”

After this weekend’s meet, the team will compete next at UMass Lowell’s River Hawk Invitational in Boston, MA on Friday, Jan. 26 and Saturday, Jan. 27.