Lukas Flippo

The Yale men’s and women’s track and field and cross country teams excelled throughout the 2019–20 season, making significant strides both on and off the track.

Although many runners helped push their squads towards success, Kayley DeLay ’21 was the standout across both teams during the fall. Her cross country performances were nothing short of outstanding, and she delivered on numerous occasions. She established herself in the league early on, becoming the 2019 Ivy League women’s cross country champion after she finished the 6 kilometer heptagonal championship race in an impressive 20:45.6 minutes. In addition to this major achievement, DeLay was a consistent first-place finisher, earning crucial points for her team in almost every meet.

DeLay earned recognition not only through First-Team All-Ivy honors, but also through All-Regionals honors. Praised by those around her as a great teammate, friend and athlete, DeLay has much to be proud of this year.

“There were many highlights from this season,” DeLay said at the end of the fall. “Winning HEPS was exhilarating, and I felt so lucky to share that with my teammates and family. I am proud to say I had the best season of my life and got to leave almost every meet happier than the last.”

The women’s team improved significantly since their last cross country season, moving up the ranks against their rivals and building a strong foundation for the seasons to come. Their indoor season also showed signs of significant improvement in track and field events alike. Although the team will have to say goodbye to athletes like Jane Miller ’20, a former staffer at the News who has been a reliable competitor throughout her Yale career, this past season has shown that the team’s mindset is in the right place — they are eager to succeed.

Similarly, the men’s team worked hard to send a message to their competition. Cade Brown ’22 opened the year with a first-place finish over Harvard at the Course at Yale, and Robert Miranda ’22 followed close behind in second, helping the Elis to a 24–33 win over the Crimson in the 6 kilometer race. Although their cross country season came to an unfortunate end — they finished 12th at Regionals — it set the tone for the runners. They would have to fight hard to become one of the best teams in the league, and their determination and grit were apparent in every race. The results spoke for themselves, and the team also began moving up the ranks during the indoor season.

Illustration: Dora Guo

“This season we showed the region that we have a core of young, hungry runners who are going to be a headache for everybody else for years to come,” Nick Dahl ’21 said. “We are by no means going to slow down, and we only stand to improve from here on out. This season was a stride into the conversation, and a demand for respect for several of our underrated runners.”

With young talent such as sprinter Marcus Woods ’23, who broke multiple school records this season in the 200-meter sprint, the team will be just as fierce when the competitions resume. The indoor season was a highlight for the men’s team, as they surpassed their initial goals by quite a bit as practice and dedication paid off.

Both the men and women put forth improved showings at the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet, with the men taking second and the women placing third but just two points out of second.

“The meet overall went really well for the team,” Erin Gerardo ’21, who finished second in the pole vault with a lifetime best of 3.9 meters, said afterwards. “We have made huge strides in the past year and the meet on Saturday was a great example of that. Ivy League meets like HYP are really about being strong competitors and having the confidence that each individual person can contribute and score in their respective events. This year the score was the closest it’s been in a long time. While the team placing was not exactly what we were hoping for, we can move forward knowing that we are capable of performing at the same level as Harvard and Princeton and hopefully next time come out with a different result.”

Sprinter Marcus Woods ’23 broke multiple school records in the 200-meter sprint this season. (Photo: Lukas Flippo)

To wrap up the indoor season, the men placed fourth and the women placed seventh at the Ivy League Indoor Track and Field Championship. Libby McMahon ’22 set a new school record with a time of 24.46 seconds in the 200 meters at the ECAC indoor championship a week later.

Although COVID-19 robbed both teams of a hopeful spring outdoor season, Yale’s seniors leave the program in a strong place.

“The nature of the sport is that you are always in perpetual motion, transitioning from one season to the next, but sometimes it is nice to acknowledge the progress you’ve made and celebrate those who worked hard to get where they are,” Dahl said.

Rehan Melwani |