Tag Archive: Track

  1. Losing Track

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    It turns out that the mnemonically pachydermic Interweb still has its trunk wrapped tightly around records of a self I have long since discarded. I know this to be so because I Googled myself — the celebration and singing of oneself retooled for the modern age, no? In all likelihood you are now going to want to Google me too, so I’ll save you the trouble and simply confess: I was a runner. A trackie, the captain of my high school team, too XC for my shirt, seven miles in the snow. The girls who sweated together, stretched together; who barfed together, belched together. This was literally no walk in the park and anyway, suffering builds character. My senior year, I wrote my experience into a Real College Essay That Worked.

    Track was a big deal. As a runner, whether for better or for worse, I was not a big deal. There were three captaining positions my senior year, and a bizarre slew of defections in 2009 had left just three rising seniors, so in a way my appointment was by default. I like to think that I deserved it for all my painful diligence, but on the talent front I was only ever reliably mediocre. I still maintain that it was the most physically harrowing thing I have ever done or ever will do. And occasionally I didn’t even do it at all, incapacitated by both no sleep and my coach’s stern, paternal insistence that I please go home so my parents wouldn’t sue. In retrospect, it was a sound strategy: work so hard that people feel uncomfortable pointing out how little you’ve actually achieved. And if I never made my times, I at least reaped the physical benefits in full: toned gams, a preternatural ability to hold my breath for ages, the flexibility, finally, to touch my toes. I thought I was in love.

    If I really had been in love, I had a funny way of showing it. Post-graduation, suddenly the thought of running made me want to hurl almost as much as actual running. The day I entered the purgatory between twelfth grade and college, I severed all ties to the sport and spent the summer on the couch. I had the misfortune of living near the park where my former teammates worked out, so I hid from them in the velveteen folds of our upholstery. I dreaded Olympics broadcasts. I spent many a guilty day carb-loading at the future home of the cronut. It was summertime, and the livin’ was finally easy. Through my sugarcoated haze, I realized in shame that the pain to which I had willfully, obsequiously subjected myself for the past three years was no longer something I wanted to feel. It occurred to me that running, perhaps, was something I actually hated.

    That summer I didn’t quit running, because running quit me instead. When you stop or stall in your pursuit of an athletic goal, your sense of self inevitably changes after a while because you are physically not the same person capable of doing the same things. Worst of all is that you feel and look different, but the only person who can see what’s changed is you. One day you wake up and find your abs, though never prominent, are officially a thing of the past. What once was firm, now is fat — not that you were ever fat, but you were definitely once fit. The squishiness you disdained in your peers has introduced itself to your thighs with great aplomb. How is it that now you do one hundred crunches, but take breaks in between? No sense in talking about it, since you alone understand what it’s like to watch your times climb into what are the rafters for you, what is the ground floor for the untrained. You forget how you used to be good. You are trying to be done with your sport, but your body refuses to let you forget that you were once an athlete. You are softening. When Lucille Roberts commercials come on, the grating announcer is now talking to you when they mention $ummer $aving$! The media starts throwing you a housewarming party for your move-in to the American body, and all you want to do is sit and eat the consolation cake they have baked in your dubious honor.

    During the fall break of my first college semester, I visited my borough championship cross-country meet, where the sight of my uniformed team made me irrepressibly sad. Track had become more meaningful to them than it had ever been to me; they actually did love running, whereas I was just an ambitious masochist. Watching them tear across the finish line, though, I recalled some droplet of what it had been like to be drenched in the glory of personal victory, whether first place or last.

    But I did not want to run, nor did I think I had to any longer. I had run to be impressive, and finally I had impressed. Now, being neither coached nor captained, nor captain of anyone but myself, meant I was free. I could do what I wanted, and what I really wanted was to get my high school body back.

    I tried Pilates. A woman by the name of Cassey Ho runs a YouTube series called Blogilates, and what she lacks in intelligible conversation she makes up for in workout difficulty. I watched her bend her legs over her head, extend her hands in airplane position like a conductor cueing an orchestra. I fumed at the loss of my ability to touch my toes. Soon enough it became clear that Pilates was not a safe alternative to running, but an aching reminder of how unfit I’d become. Through it all, she never ceased to exclaim that I really could do whatever move she was doing, even as I lay there exhausted, incapable and shamefully still, or that there were only fifteen more repetitions to go — or did she say fifty? — or that all my hard work would pay off if I just followed her workout calendar to the last, sweaty T. On especially lonesome days I positioned my laptop on a chair beside my bed, curled up under my covers, and just watched her contort in self-loathing awe.

    Yoga was next. Unaware that yoga is something you work at, not a skill with which you are born, I became immediately frustrated when I realized I lacked the patience and skill to put my feet behind my ears.

    These experiments, alas, were short-lived, all too reminiscent of the mindless pain I had experienced in my former sport. Whatever had once motivated me had completely dissipated, and I was beginning to feel unconscionably lazy. To boot, it seemed like all my classes were confirming that I had also become a blockhead overnight. In public I felt I had vanished before I had even materialized, but in my dorm room mirror I saw every stretch of my skin in ugly, unflattering clarity.

    Humans are really nothing like butterflies, no matter what the Hallmark poets say, because chrysalises shed their skin and humans have to live with what they’ve got. I didn’t want to be an athlete anymore. But with an athlete’s body, maybe I’d fool myself, which is what I craved — proof that I hadn’t changed (for the worse, I was sure) as much as I’d thought. Becoming a person you like is difficult enough the first time around, and now I was confronting the possibility of having to do it all over again.

    It’s been a process, but explainable thusly: I am trying to figure what I like. Speaking of which, late this August, on a friend’s bequest, I missed the finale of Chopped All-Stars for a run, but a slow one, more of a jog. For once I hadn’t wanted to keel over when I finished. My body had done just what I’d asked of it, and for the meantime that was enough.

    Running and I, we’re going to take a break. I need my soul for other things, and this lapse in my athletic career has as of late been nothing short of thrilling.

    Last weekend I was crossing the street in the drizzle when I came across some people warming up for a road race. I beamed at them, genuinely happy to see their devotion to running persist despite the inclement weather. And then I walked on, rejoicing that I was not, and genuinely had no desire to be, among them.

  2. Double Team

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    In high school, many of us wore — willingly or unwillingly — at least one, or maybe two or three, different jerseys. Jock or not, many high schools required us to play one sport per year, if not one sport per season. Playing soccer in the fall, hockey in the winter and lacrosse in the spring, was not strange then, but, now, in college, the idea of joining the roster of three varsity teams seems almost impossible. Not counting students who are on both the Track and Field and Cross Country team, students that play on two varsity teams are pretty exceptional across collegiate sports, especially in the Ivy League.

    At Yale, where only about 20% of students play on an intercollegiate sports team, students that play on more than one team are an anomaly. This year, Charles Cook ’15 will become one of those rare individuals. When Cook signed as a football player for the Bulldogs in 2011, he had no idea that less than two years later, he would find a second home on Yale Field.

    A Texas native, Cook spent his high school years playing both football and baseball the Parish Episcopal School in Dallas. In high school, Cook was captain of both teams. A star safety on the football team, Cook led the Panthers to a state championship his senior year while hauling in a state-record of 16 interceptions. Cook was no less impressive on the baseball diamond. He mashed his way to a .416 batting average his junior year, all while splitting his time between shortstop and the outfield. Despite earning a spot on the all-district teams for both sports, Cook felt his football abilities would fare better in the college recruitment process.

    “At that point, I gave up summer baseball after my junior year of high school and decided to focus on football,” he said. “I did get calls and letters from multiple schools about baseball, some in the Ivy League, but football remained my focus.”

    After catching the attention of former football coach Tom Williamson, Cook quickly scaled the positional ranks once he got to Yale. Throughout the 2012 season, he was the Bulldogs’ starting safety, and his efforts produced a critical interception for Yale during The Game last fall. But even with his rising status in the Yale Bowl, Cook remained intent on picking up the baseball bat he had put aside two years before.

    “When the football staff at Yale recruited me and gave me an offer, I expressed an interest in trying to play baseball as well,” Cook explained. “I had always wanted to pursue the opportunity.”

    This spring, he did just that, earning a walk-on spot on the team and cementing his status as a two-sport athlete. Cook attributes the rarity of athletes on two varsity sports teams to the “rigorous” time commitment that sports impose on a student’s life. It’s certainly not easy. Just like all other student athletes, two-sport athletes have to balance a full schedule of schoolwork and a social life with the demands of playing on two teams at an elite level. One commitment like that is tough enough; doubling it is a formidable task, but one that Cook believes he’s up to.

    “Time management will definitely be very important for me to balance the demands of both sports as well as the classroom,” he said. “But I think it will be more rewarding than anything … I grew up playing both sports, loving both, and decided I didn’t want to give up either.”

    So far, Cook seems to be handling the transition into the dugout seamlessly. Ben Joseph ’15, a pitcher for the Bulldogs, spoke highly of the benefits Cook stands to offer the team as a two-sport athlete. Despite, or perhaps because of the differences separating football and baseball, Cook’s teammates believe he will bring a new approach to the game that could help them both on the field and off it.

    “Charles will definitely have a unique impact,” Joseph said. “He has already brought some of the no-nonsense, warrior mentality of football onto the baseball diamond.”

    Perhaps the unique demands of a two-sport athlete require flexibility in athletic ability as well as a flexible disposition. For Joseph, Cook’s presence on the team has been defined not only by his athletic talents, but also by his “easygoing” personality. “He gets along with everyone … All the guys on the team are glad to have him, and everyone is ready to see what he can do.”

    This season, the Bulldogs will look to Cook’s natural athleticism to help them rebound from a 2011-’12 campaign that saw them go 13-31-1. It remains to be seen where he will spend his playing time, but his teammates feel certain that wherever he is on the diamond, he will bring both skill and competitive fire. It does take a special kind of athlete to excel on such disparate fields, but no matter whom you ask, Cook is that kind of athlete. As he prepares for Yale baseball’s March 9 season opening three-game series against Army in Tampa, FL, Cook will take his first step toward fulfilling a longtime goal: fulfilling his love for both football, and baseball, in a college setting.

    “Ultimately, I decided to give baseball a shot because I don’t want to have any regrets fifty years from now,” Cook said. “I realize that in two years I will never have this opportunity again, so I am going to do everything I can to make the most of it.”


    David Whipple contributed reporting.

  3. McCoy awarded Gordon Brown Prize


    Dakota McCoy ’13 wears many hats at Yale. She is a varsity athlete, a freshman counselor, a published researcher and a section leader for Whim ‘n Rhythm, and it might seem she does not have room for another feather in her cap.

    But the Branford resident, originally from Wexford, Pa., is the recipient of this year’s Francis Gordon Brown Prize, which is one of the University’s highest honors and is awarded to a senior at the start of each academic year.

    Branford Dean Hilary Fink, who nominated McCoy last semester, announced the award in an email to Branford students last Tuesday evening. Fink described the award as given to “the member of the Class of 2013 who most closely approaches the standards of intellectual ability, high personhood, capacity for leadership and service to the University set by Francis Gordon Brown, a distinguished alumnus in the Class of 1901.”

    McCoy, who goes by Cody, said she was humbled to have won.

    “I feel really honored, and I definitely recognize that I wouldn’t have won this without the support of a lot of people,” she said.

    The prize is just one of McCoy’s many achievements at Yale. An ecology & evolutionary biology major with a 3.94 GPA, she won the Goldwater Scholarship for independent research as a sophomore. She has written papers on paleontology, climate change and animal cognition, and traveled to Puerto Rico in 2011 for animal cognition research about monkeys. Additionally, she serves as president of the Yale Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Undergraduate Organization.

    Her academic advisor, Leo Buss, called her an “intensely curious … once in a decade student.” He pointed to her “amazingly eclectic” selection of courses, ranging from hieroglyphics to biology, and noted that she never takes easy classes. He added that she has sought out and formed relationships with some of Yale’s most challenging professors.

    McCoy’s relationship with Buss began in her freshman fall when she took his seminar “Collections at the Peabody Museum.” Buss described the caliber of work she did in that class as the foundation for published research, work on a level he had seen only “once before in 10 years” of offering the seminar.

    While McCoy takes her work seriously, she said she has received joking criticism from friends and family members.

    “My dad always jokes that I’m spending my Yale career playing with animals,” McCoy said.

    McCoy’s intellectual and academic career began long before she arrived at Yale. In the sixth grade, she tested into and excelled at AP Calculus. Her father, a physicist, “treated [math] as a really fun activity,” she explained. McCoy’s two older sisters also served as teachers.

    “I would do their homework with them and read their books for fun,” she said.

    Before arriving at Yale, McCoy studied such topics as discrete mathematics and non-Euclidean geometry at colleges and universities near her hometown.

    Yale Track & Field coach David Shoehalter began recruiting McCoy to Yale in the summer before her senior year. Shoehalter said she showed great athletic potential but stood out as “one of the best academic kids that we’ve ever recruited.”

    Surprisingly, because of her exceptional academic record, McCoy’s recruitment was not entirely seamless.

    “She was deemed by the NCAA to be ineligible because she didn’t have a high school math class on her transcript,” Shoehalter said.

    The confusion was righted, and she went on to win varsity letters in her freshman and sophomore years and was the only non-senior selected to the Academic All-Ivy team in spring 2011.

    Shoehalter said that while academics and extracurriculars often overshadow her athletic achievements, she has “improved steadily” as a hurdler and is committed to the team. He added that he spoke with Fink and supported McCoy during the selection process, though he did not nominate her himself.

    Outside her academic and athletic life at Yale, McCoy has been an active leader and participant in extracurricular activities. In addition to being a FOOT leader and a Junior Class Council representative, she currently serves as one of the Branford freshman counselors and sings for Whim ‘n Rhythm.

    “She’s got so many interests, it’s hard for her to focus on one thing,” Shoehalter said, calling her a “superstar.”

    McCoy’s friends and suitemates echoed Shoehalter’s statement. Sunny Jones ’13, who lives with McCoy this year, called her “a ball of energy.” Jones added that because McCoy has “touched every sphere of Yale,” she is a great freshman counselor.

    Freshman and sophomore- year roommate Miriam Lauter ’13 called McCoy the “nicest, warmest, kindest person ever.” Lauter exposed one flaw of McCoy’s, however: Her room tends to be messy.

    In winning the Gordon Brown Prize, McCoy joins well known company, including George H. W. Bush ’48 and, most recently, Patrick Witt ’12.

    McCoy said she found it funny to win an award originally given for manhood.

    “It’s odd, considering I’m a woman,” she said.

    The prize, which has existed since 1913, was first awarded to a female, Mindy Rosenbaum ’85, in 1984.

  4. TRACK | At Invitational, Bulldogs face stiff competition

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    Against a number of professional runners and top teams, including teams from Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth and Columbia, the men’s and women’s track and field teams each took home a medal at the Sam Howell Invitational at Princeton.

    The men’s weekend was highlighted by an impressive performance all around and a gold medal by Mike Levine ’14 in the discus throw on Friday. After fouling in his first four of six attempts, Levine launched the discus 50.58 meters, nearly three meters farther than the second place competitor. Levine also took sixth in the hammer throw. Despite his accomplishments, Levine said he was not content with his throw.

    “I was disappointed with my distance in the discus, although picking up the win is always nice,” Levine said. “I just have to keep working hard and get some big throws next weekend.”

    Next weekend, the Elis will take on Harvard in Cambridge, Mass.

    Steeplechase racer Nathan Richards ’12 also met success on Friday and placed sixth.

    While the Bulldogs did not medal Saturday, they did exhibit some impressive times. The 4 x 100-meter relay team of captain Matthew Bieszard ’12, Dana Lindberg ’14, Daniel Jones ’14 and Dylan Hurley ’15 finished fourth with a time of 42.90 seconds, the squad’s second best time of the season. Bieszard also finished sixth in the 400-meter dash, with Hurley in 13th.

    While the women’s team struggled to medal against top competitors last weekend, the Elis did show some impressive individual performances.

    Sarah Barry ’14, for example, placed 14th in the 1500-meter run, but professional runners filled the first six spots.

    Teresa Parent ’14, who competed in the long jump, leapt 5.25 meters on Friday to take tenth. Amanda Snajder ’14 came in 12th, with Elle Brunsdale ’15 in 23rd. Brunsdale was also eighth in the triple jump.

    “This past weekend had us facing some strong competition, and it was important to see how we competed and where we need to improve, individually and as a whole,” Parent said. “In general we did well, and I think everyone is really excited about putting all the pieces together for our upcoming meet against Harvard.”

    The women’s team also had a strong discus throw by Antonia Renker ’13, who took 10th place in the event Friday with a distance of 34.33 meters. Similarly, Jennifer Donnelly ’13 was 14th in the 10000-meter run with a time of 37:32.83.

    On Saturday, the women’s team finally took home a medal when the 4 x 100 team of captain Alexa Monti ’12, Emily Cable ’15, Emily Shulan ’12 and Adele Jackson-Gibson ’13 finished in second with a time of 47.76 meters.

    Cable was also able to come in sixth in the 400-meter hurdlers, with Jenna Poggi ’13 in 10th and Dakota McCoy ’13 in 13th.

    Allison Rue ’13 achieved a personal best of 56.74 seconds in the 400-meter dash, and captured ninth place.

    Emily Urciuoli ’14, who placed sixth pole vault after clearing 3.65 meters, said the weekend’s showing gives the team confidence going into the meet against Harvard.

    “Our annual showdown is the first big test of the season, and I think we are ready to give them a run for their money,” Urciuoli said.

    Harvard is currently ranked 163rd in Division, eight places behind Yale.

  5. TRACK | Elis struggle at Heps


    Despite valiant efforts in their last indoor meet of the season, both the men and women’s track teams finished in last place at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships in Ithaca, N.Y., this weekend.

    The men finished their first day of competition on Saturday with five team points, good for fifth place. This was in large part thanks to Timothy Hillas ’13, who secured four points for the Elis with a fourth-place finish in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 8:16.10.

    Mike Levine ’13 contributed another point on Saturday. He took sixth in the weight throw with a season-best 17.35 meters. While Levine was disappointed with both his individual performance and the Bulldogs’ standing, he also said he thinks the team will improve in its upcoming outdoor competition, which will begin after spring break.

    “I definitely feel like I should have thrown farther than I did,” Levine said. “Personally I am looking forward to throwing my main event again, the discus, which is not contested indoor. Our team is much better suited for outdoor as we have returning high scorers in the 200m, steeplechase and discus, all of which are not contested indoors.”

    Captain Matthew Bieszard ’12, who matched his previous peformance against Harvard and Princeton and attained a silver medal in the 400-meter dash, highlighted the men’s second day of competition on Sunday. Bieszard’s success also earned him second team All-Ivy honors. He will compete at next week’s IC4A Championships at Boston University with a qualifying time of 48.40 seconds. His time is the seventh best in Bulldog history.

    Bieszard said he was pleased by his performance. “I went into the meet with the intention of winning and came out with a PR and some silverware. I stuck it to my competitors on the first lap of the finals and made them beat me. Only one succeeded.”

    The Elis middle distance relay team consiting of John McGowan ’15, Clifford Van Meter ’14, Charlie Jaeger ’12 and Timothy Hillas ’13 also found success, placing fifth and also qualifying for the IC4A Championships. The 4 x 400 meter relay team also captured sixth. The Bulldogs finished the meet with 16 team points, which placed them in eighth place. Princeton won the meet with 184 team points.

    Like the men, the women’s track and field team placed at the bottom of the standings in eighth place among its eight Ivy League competitors. However, the event was marked by a few promising individual highlights.

    Amanda Snajder ’14 scored the only team points on Saturday with a fourth-place finish in the pentathlon. Day two of the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships fared better for the Elis and was capped off by impressive finishes by Nihal Kayali ’13 and Annelies Gamble ’13. Kayali placed fifth in a highly contested one-mile run with a time of 4:49.96. She improved her personal best by almost a second.

    “Overall I was happy with the way I executed my race and I’m thrilled to have some hardware to show for it,” Kayali said. “We need to refocus our efforts on developing depth within our squad so that when one person underperforms or gets injured we have bodies to step up and perform in those positions. At the time being, we lack that depth, and it showed this past weekend,” she added.

    Gamble had the only podium finish for both the men and women’s squad at the invitational. She placed third in the 800-meter run, which contributed six points to the team’s total.

    “I kept getting boxed in but by the last stretch, I was able to pull away, and it was just a mad kick to the finish,” Gamble said. She added that her third-place finish has made her even more eager to start the outdoor season.

    A select group of Elis will compete next week at the IC4A Indoor Track and Field Championships at Boston University.

  6. TRACK | No offseason, no problem for runners


    For Kevin Lunn ’13, captain of the men’s 2012 cross country team, distance running is like having a “super needy, high-maintenance girlfriend.”

    “She yells at me on Sunday morning if I went out the night before,” he said. “She tells me when to eat, when to study and when to go to bed. But at the end of the day, we are in love, and I can’t imagine living without her.”

    Yale distance runners face a unique challenge and opportunity: three consecutive seasons. With cross country in the fall, indoor track in the winter and outdoor track in the spring, they must be competition-ready at all times. “Distance running is more of a lifestyle than a sport,” Lunn said. “You can’t buy into it for a couple months and then put it aside to concentrate on something else for a bit.”

    While other athletes have an off-season semester during which they can be “normal students,” said Matthew Thwaites ’13, runners do not have time to rest. The longest break comes in November, as not every cross country runner competes in NCAA Regional Championships, held last year November 12. Many who do sit out the NCAA Regional Championships forgo the first track and field meet, the Yale Season Opener, on Dec. 3.

    Another opportunity to rest comes in the first two weeks of summer vacation. Nihal Kayali ’13, captain of the 2012 women’s cross country team, said this is a “welcome shock.”

    Of the five runners interviewed, all said that the lack of an off-season was more of a benefit than a drawback. They said year-round training keeps them focused, draws them closer to the team and makes them better runners.

    “Constantly pushing yourself and slowly wearing away the rubber on your shoes — that’s what makes you good,” Thwaites said.

    Such an approach does have its risks. Any sickness or injuries will inevitably conflict with competition. Kayali said the chance for overuse injuries also increases with a constant training regimen.

    Even summer is not an off-season. Rather, through workouts of up to 100 miles a week, distance runners aim to build a solid foundation for the next year of competition.

    “Summer is the time to build a base mileage that determines how fast you’re going to run in the fall,” Lunn said. “It’s like building a car — you can put on great wheels and a fancy spoiler, but it’s just going to be embarrassing if you’ve got the engine of a Ford Pinto in there.”

    Elizabeth Marvin ’13 added this consistency is a plus. With three consecutive seasons, distance runners can fall into a comfortable rhythm. Kayali said the transition from season to season was “seamless,” whereas for sprinters, jumpers and throwers on the track and field team it may be more jarring.

    But the ultimate benefit for many is simple — more opportunities to compete.

    “Competing is probably the most fun [aspect], and the fact that we have three seasons makes it all the more worthwhile,” Kayali said. “There’s no fun in training if we’re not going to compete, so we’re lucky.”

    The lack of an off-season is more of a necessity than a hassle, Michael Cunetta ’14 said, because distance runners cannot afford a respite from running.

    In the end, though, Lunn understands that all athletes, regardless of their sports, just want to improve.

    “I’d say distance running is unique, but it’s nothing too special,” Lunn said. “Any athletes with true passion for their sport will consider it a lifestyle and will always be thinking about how to get better, even if they do have an official ‘off season.’ ”

    The men’s and women’s track and field teams will next meet at Ivy League Heptagonal Championships on Feb. 25 and 26.

  7. TRACK | Elis fall to Columbia, Dartmouth

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    After showing promise against non-Ivy competitors at the Yale Invitational last Saturday, both the men’s and women’s track and field teams came up short against Ivy opponents this week.

    Both teams ended Saturday’s meet against Columbia and Dartmouth in Hanover in third and last place. The men’s team scored 46 points, shy of Dartmouth’s 62 and Columbia’s 60. The women’s team scored 41 points and captured 8 second place finishes, but the team could not manage to take any of the events.

    The team’s performance was highlighted by Captain Matthew Bieszard ’12, who won both the 200 and 500-meter dash. Mike Levine ’13 took first place in the weight throw for the first time this season. Levine’s performance qualified him for the ECAC DI Indoor Track and Field Championships in early March.

    “Personally, I did what I had to. But at a scored meet like this, wins are more important than [personal records],” Levine said. “Our team did not perform as well as we could have. I feel like we have a much better team than what we showed this weekend.”

    Dana Lindberg ’14 also was successful at Saturday’s meet. Lindberg placed second behind Bieszard in the 200-meter dash and won the long jump. He was also part of Yale’s fourth place 4 by 400 meter relay team, along with Maria Kranjac ’15 and William Rowe ’15.

    In long-distance runs, the Bulldogs competed favorably against the Big Green and against the Lions, a team ranked 22nd in the nation earlier in the season. Timothy Hillas ’13 and Julian Sheinbaum ’12 took second and fourth respectively in the mile run. Sam Kirtner ’13 was bested by three Columbia runners, but his fourth place finish in the 3000-meter run at 8:29.47, his personal record, was good enough to land him a spot in the Track and Field Championships along with Levine.

    Middle distance runner Chris Ramsey ’12 finished third in the 800-meter run, but he echoed Levine’s sentiments that the team effort could have improved.

    “I think we were disappointed with the team results of the meet,” Ramsey said. “Our coaches challenged us to bring more intensity and energy to our competitions, and if we can do that I’m confident we’ll have better results.”

    The women’s team also ended Saturday’s meet in a disappointing third place.

    Alexa Monti ’12, who finished second in the 200-meter dash, said she and the Elis will use this meet as a learning experience and a motivator for meets to come.

    Elle Brunsdale ’15, who competed in the long jump, was the first Bulldog to claim second on Saturday. She also placed third in the triple jump. Amanda Snajder ’14 was the only Eli to compete in the high jump and placed second. Emily Urciuoli ’14 added to the collection of silver medals when she took second in the pole vault and she tied her season best of 3.60 meters.

    “Dartmouth and Columbia had a few standout girls, but overall, we had the ability to keep up with them,” Urciuoli said. “While I am glad to be more consistent with my heights, I know there is a lot of room for improvement. As the season progresses, and more competitive events arise, I think I can fix my mistakes and be a more effective point scorer.”

    She added that in the coming weeks, injured runners such as Nihal Kayali ’13 and Melissa Chapman ’14 are planning to rejoin the team.

    Both the men’s and women’s team will travel to Boston University on Saturday for the Terrier Invitational.

  8. TRACK | Elis set records at Larry Ellis Invitational

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    The men’s and women’s track and field teams took on heavy competition from over 65 other schools, including all eight Ivies, and many unattached runners and running clubs at the Larry Ellis Invitational. Despite the masses participating in the unscored meet at Princeton, the Bulldogs still managed to set personal records, score top finishes and inscribe their names on the Yale outdoor record books.

    “It was the last meet to get really fast times,” Matt Thwaites ’13 said. “Princeton is traditionally a really fast track, and we had great competition.”

    Kate Grace ’11 led the women’s team with a win in the 800m (2:05.48), knocking over four seconds off her previous season best, from last week’s Harvard-Yale meet. Grace beat 73 other racers and currently holds the 11th fastest time in the nation.

    “My coaches said they hadn’t seen me run so well in a long time,” Grace said.

    Four other Elis followed Grace in the 800m: Annelies Gamble ’13 (2:11.27), Gabriella Kelly ’12 (2:12.62), Sarah Barry ’14 (2:12.85) and Nihal Kayali ’13 (2:13.90). Kelly, Gamble and Grace, who are eighth, sixth, and first, respectively in the Yale record books, each won their own individual heat. Barry’s time placed her 10th all-time in Yale outdoor history.

    In the 400m, Grace, who holds the second-fastest time in Yale history, took sixth in 56.49 while Kelly placed 10th with 57.00. Kelly moved up the Yale records list from 10th to fifth place.

    Bulldog sprinter Emily Shulan ’12 took 25th in the 200m and 21st in the 100m. In their first 1500m of the season, Elizabeth Marvin ’13 and Melissa Chapman ’14, who Grace dubbed the “distance dynamos,” ran the 1500m in 4:31.34 and 4:32.84, respectively. The two normally run the 3k.

    Emily Urciuoli ’14 and Emily Standish ’11 were the only two Bulldogs to represent Yale in the field events. Urciuoli took 10th in the pole vault, while Standish took 13th in the high jump.

    “It’s nice we were able to show people we’ve been improving,” Grace said.

    On the men’s side, Nathan Richards ’12 placed fourth in the 3000m steeplechase with a time of 8:54.15. Matt Bogdan ’11 finished behind him in sixth with a time of 8:58.09. The Bulldog duo beat all of the nine Ivy League participants, save Adrien Dannemiller ’11 from Cornell, who took second in 8:46.66.

    “We were trying to run some fast times and qualify, eventually, for NCAA regionals,” Richards said. “I think I can drop down my time a little bit and hopefully race more for position at Heps.”

    Off the track, Michael Levine ’13 qualified for the IC4A championships with his 50.13m throw in the discus, good for fourth place. Teammate David Smith ’11 took 11th in the same event.

    Men’s captain Marty Evans ’11 placed ninth in the 400m (49.06) and seventh in the 200m (21.71).

    In the longer races, Johnny Van Deventer ’11 finished the 1500m in 3:49.05, landing him 15th place overall, a spot at the IC4A Championships, and 13th in the Yale record books. Ryan Laemel ’14 and Thwaites broke 15 minutes in the 5K, finishing in 14:45.85 and 14:59.34, respectively.

    “Almost all of the distance guys came out with [personal records],” Thwaites said.

    In addition to fierce competition, the Bulldogs battled gray weather on Saturday and general irregularities in timing due to a computer malfunction. For the men’s 1500m race, the timing system broke down, meaning that several good performances and personal records were not registered. In addition, several events were pushed back without much warning.

    “It was especially hard with the sprinters,” Grace said. “You’re in the blocks, ready to explode, and then you’re told to wait for 30 minutes.”

    Members of the men’s and women’s teams return to competition at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia April 28-30, where, according to Thwaites, many Bulldogs will compete in just one event to compete in one last race before Heps.

    Yale will host the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships at the Dewitt-Cuyler Track in New Haven on May 7 and 8.

    “It’s all about preparing for Heps,” Thwaites said. “We’re sharpening up, starting to feel really good, and getting ready to race.”

  9. TRACK | Harvard dominates field events


    Harvard skill and foul weather rained on the Bulldogs’ expectations at the annual Harvard-Yale track and field meet Saturday.

    The men’s team lost to the Cantabs for the first time in 8 years, 106–57. The women also fell for the fourth year in a row, 113–50.

    The Bulldogs boasted smaller teams than their Crimson counterparts — on the women’s side, for example, 32 Elis competed against 41 Cantabs. While the two rivals were fairly evenly matched on track events, Harvard won all 16 field events, outscoring the men’s and women’s teams by 40 and 44, respectively.

    “It felt like missed opportunities for a lot of people,” captain Marty Evans ’11 said. “There were a lot of near misses, a lot of near wins.”

    The meet was doubly significant because it determined who would compete against a joint Oxford and Cambridge team in the biannual competition. The first two finishers in each event will travel to England this summer for the meet.

    “There was a lot of pressure,” Elizabeth Marvin ’13 said. “There’s a lot of tradition and rivalry behind [Saturday’s meet]. Everyone was very intense and focused.”

    Both teams battled the elements throughout the course of the meet. Low temperatures, coupled with rain and aggressive winds, added another challenge to the difficult meet.

    “When you’re coming through the home stretch, [the wind] really throws you off,” Matt Bieszard ’12 said.

    The men’s team won four individual events as well as the 4 x 100m relay. Nathan Richards ’12 won the 3000m steeplechase, while Matt Bogdan ’11 finished in second place. The Bulldogs especially showed strength in the sprints, where they swept the 100m and the 200m. In the 100m, Bieszard took first, Nathan Molina ’11 placed second, and Daniel Jones ’14 finished third. For the 200m, the order was Evans, Bieszard and Molina, respectively. Finally, Evans and Chris Stanley ’11 took second and third, respectively, in the 400m.

    “It’s very encouraging that races we excelled at in the past we continue to excel at,” Evans said.

    In his first outdoor meet of the season, Johnny Van Deventer ’11 won the 1500m. Van Deventer, who has been plagued by injury since his freshman year, was unable to compete in track meets until the end of the indoor season, when he wowed everyone with a record-setting indoor mile at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships. Following him was Julian Sheinbaum ’12, who placed third.

    Off the track, the Bulldogs did not win a single event, but they were still present in the scoreboard. In the long jump, Tom Winger ’13 and Dana Lindberg ’14 took second and third, respectively; in the triple jump, Samba Binagi ’11 and Lindberg finished second and third; in the discus, Michael Levine ’13 and Stefan Palios placed second and third, respectively; in the javelin, Clifford Van Meter ’14 came in second; and in the shot put, David Smith ’11 took third.

    There were some gaps, however, in the men’s results. Harvard swept seven events, four of which (hammer throw, high jump, pole vault and 400m hurdles) had no Bulldogs competing.

    “It’s not by choice that we had to forfeit,” Bieszard said, explaining that the team simply does not have athletes who are qualified to compete in those events.

    The women’s meet played out in a strikingly similar manner to the men’s competition. The Bulldogs were competitive in the track events, winning five races, but fell behind in the field events, which they lost 58–14.

    Kate Grace ’11 grabbed two first-place finishes in the 1500m, where she led a sweep comprised of her, Nihal Kayali ’13 and Sarah Barry ’14, respectively. Grace also won the 800m, where she was followed by Annelies Gamble ’13. In the 1500m, the next-closest Harvard runner was seven seconds behind Barry.

    Other wins for the Bulldogs included Anne Lovelace ’12 in the 3000m steeplechase, Gabriella Kelly ’12 in the 400m and Jenna Poggi ’13 in the 400m hurdles. In addition, Amanda Snajder ’14 placed second in the 100m hurdles, Allison Rue ’13 finished third in the 400m, Adele Jackson-Gibson ’13 placed third in the 100m, Annelies Gamble took third in the 800m, Dakota McCoy finished third in the 400m hurdles and Marvin placed third in the 3000m.

    On the field, the Bulldogs scored in nearly every event. The Bulldogs took second in four events: Emily Urciuoli ’14 in the pole vault, Jackson-Gibson in the long jump, Antonia Renker ’13 in the discuss and Stephanie Scaramella ’11 in the hammer throw. In addition, Emily Standish ’11 took third in the high jump and Kristen Proe ’14 placed third in the triple jump.

    “We have a lot of quality on the team,” Marvin said. “It was definitely an encouraging day in that aspect.”

    Harvard showed significant strength in numbers, especially on the field. In the shot put, for example, the five Cantabs were matched by just one Eli.

    Next week, both teams will compete at the Larry Ellis Invitational at Princeton. The meet will be much more low-pressure than the recent one against Harvard or Ivy League Heptagonals in early May.

    “It was very disappointing that our eight-year winning streak should come to an end,” Evans said. “But we’re looking forward to Heps in three weeks as an opportunity for redemption.”

  10. TRACK | Track teams preparing for Harvard-Yale meet

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    The men’s and women’s teams split up Saturday to compete in two different races in preparation for next weekend’s Harvard-Yale meet. The women traveled to Philadelphia to face Penn and Princeton, where they finished last of the three teams. The men participated in the UConn Husky Invitational, which was largely unscored.

    Princeton won the women’s meet with 106 points, while Penn finished with 67 and Yale finished with 28. Though Yale scored points in 12 of the 19 events, the Bulldogs had a smaller team than their rivals. The Tigers held a majority of participants in eight events; Yale was a majority in only discus and hammer throw (and took fourth in both).

    In her first meet of the outdoor season, Kate Grace ’11 took first in the 1,500-meter with a time of 4:23.21. Even though Grace had been sick for the last week and had not competed in a meet for three weeks, that did not stop her from breaking the school record.

    “It was not the best place to start off confidence-wise,” Grace said. “I didn’t feel like I was on my game. It was a tough haul, but it was that much more worthwhile in the end. I’m excited about what I can do when I’m back on my game.”

    Off the field, the Bulldogs boasted consistently strong performances. Emily Anderberg ’13 placed second in the javelin, and Emily Standish ’11 took fourth in the high jump. Stephanie Scaramella ’11 scored three times for the Elis, placing fourth in the discus, hammer throw and shot put.

    Following Grace in the 1,500-meter were Nihal Kayali ’13, Sarah Barry ’14 and Jacque Sahlberg ’13, who placed fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively. In addition, Anne Lovelace ’12, in her outdoor debut, took second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 10:58.67. Annelies Gamble ’13 finished second in the 800-meter with a time of 2:10.45, setting a new personal record. Finally, Melissa Chapman ’14 made it into the Yale record books, boasting the 10th-fastest 3,000-meter time (9:36.68) in Bulldog history. She placed third in the event. Elizabeth Marvin ’13 followed just after, taking fifth place in 9:42.28.

    “We’re continuing to get everyone up to competition level,” Grace said. “We’re still training and that shows in the events. We’re not at our peak performance yet. I’m looking forward to showing our true potential.”

    At the UConn Husky Invitational, the men faced eight schools, including Brown, as well as several running clubs and other unaffiliated racers. The only scored race was the steeplechase, in which there were no participating Bulldogs.

    “It wasn’t a scored meet, so we were pretty much competing against ourselves,” Nathan Molina ’11 said. “We wanted to make sure we were in the best shape we could be in.”

    The Bulldogs brought a small team to the meet. In eight of 19 events, there were no Elis competing. Many distance runners were taking the meet off in preparation for Harvard-Yale next weekend. In addition, the Bulldogs do not have any hurdlers.

    In the 100-meter, men’s captain Marty Evans ’11 placed fifth in 10.91, while Molina took 10th in 11.14 out of 44 racers. Both times were IC4A-qualifying. The Bulldogs also qualified for the IC4A Championships in the 4×100-meter and 4×400-meter relays, in which they took third and fourth, respectively.

    Michael Levine ’13 set a personal record in the discus, placing fourth overall (52.02 meters). The jumpers also had a good day, with Dana Lindberg ’14 taking second in the long jump and Samba Binagi ’11 placing third in the triple jump.

    “When you have a good performance, you know what you’re capable of doing, and you just have to take it one step at a time from there,” Molina said.

    Next weekend, the men’s and women’s team will be competing at the Dewitt-Cuyler Track at Yale to host the annual Harvard-Yale track and field meet. The Yale men’s team has won the meet every year since 2003, while the women have not won since 2007.

    “The past couple of years, they’ve been improving their team and so have we,” Molina said. “We need good performances from everyone in the team, but we have confidence in our ability to win.”

    In addition to addressing the age-old rivalry, the meet will be important for determining who will compete for the Naughton Trophy this summer. Every two years, a joint Harvard-Yale track delegation takes on racers from Oxford and Cambridge in the world’s oldest continuing international intercollegiate competition. The top few athletes in each event next week will have the opportunity to cross the pond and compete against their British peers.

    “The idea is to try to get as many blue jerseys on that trip to England as possible,” Evans said. “I’m looking at it one week at a time.”

    Evans encouraged students to attend the meet, which will take place from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Students can take a bus to the IM fields from Payne-Whitney Gym. No tickets are required.

  11. TRACK | Bulldogs take four first place finishes

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    At the Sam Howell Invitational at Princeton Friday and Saturday, the men’s and women’s track and field teams faced limited competition against delegations from every Ivy League school except Penn.

    The teams faced brutal weather Friday night and for many of the runners, it was their first meet of the outdoor season. The meet was unscored, but the Bulldogs notched several wins and experimented with new events.

    “The meet was a chance to continue to get back to the groove of the season,” men’s captain

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    Marty Evans ’11 said. “We could take off the rust of not having competed in the last few weeks and make iuse of the hard training we’ve done since then.”

    On Friday night, the weather report projected sleet. While the night remained dry, the frigid temperatures and huge winds demonstrated the difficulties of outdoor season races in the beginning of spring.

    “It was a shock to the system to get in your uniform in 40 degrees,” Nihal Kayali ’13 said.

    On the women’s side of the meet, Kayali took first in the 1500m (4:27.82) and the 3000m (9:41.14). With those times, she qualified for the ECAC Championship meet. Her performance in the 3000m was especially impressive, given that she had never run a race longer than a mile before Friday, and her time was the 10th fastest in school history. Though she only ran the race at the request of her coach, Kayali said it is possible she will run it again later in the season.

    A highlight of the meet occurred in the distance sector. In their collegiate 5K debuts, Elizabeth Marvin ’13 and Melissa Chapman ’14 placed first and third, respectively (16:44.56 and 16:54.12). Both times were ECAC-qualifying.

    “It’s a very good sign for the future of the distance girls,” Kayali said.

    Other impressive performances included Sarah Barry ’14 in the 1500m, who placed third in 4:33.68. In addition, Gabriella Kelly ’12 and Allison Rue ’13 finished sixth and seventh in the 400m, while the 4x400m relay team finished third.

    For the men’s team, the strongest race came in the 200m. Evans won the event with a time of 21.63 and was immediately followed by Matt Bieszard ’12, who finished in 21.79. Bieszard was coming off an injury saw the event as a chance to see where he was at with his training. His finish, within two hundredths of a second from his time two weeks ago, bodes well for his recovery.

    Nathan Richards ’12 qualified for the IC4A Championship meet with his fifth-place finish in the 3000m steeplechase (9:04.76). He beat his previous time in the event of 9:04.97, which was 12th in the Yale record books. The men’s 4x100m relay team took second 42.16, also qualifying for the IC4A championships. In addition, David Smith ’11 placed fourth and sixth in the men’s shotput and discus events, respectively.

    Evans said the men’s team aims to improve upon its consistency in the coming weeks. While it succeeded in garnering “scattered performances,” he said the team needs to focus on dependable, strong competition no matter the meet.

    “Everyone is very committed not just to win at their races but also during the week and at practice,” Evans said. “The team has remained in focus and committed to what lies ahead, which is being at our best for the next few weeks.”

    In two weeks, both teams will compete at Yale in the annual Harvard-Yale meet. This week, the women’s team will travel to Philadelphia to race against Penn and Princeton, while the men’s team will compete at the UConn Invitational.