Bulldogs Head into Heptagonal Championships

Matt Bieszard. (photo by Forrest Temple, Yale Athletics)
Matt Bieszard. (photo by Forrest Temple, Yale Athletics)

Team Looks Strong with Latest Performances

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – For the past two weeks, the Bulldogs have been gearing up for the most anticipated meet of the outdoor season, the 75th annual Heptagonals Championships. This year's event will be hosted by Princeton at Weaver Stadium on May 8-9. The timing of the meet poses somewhat of a challenge for the Bulldogs with academic finals also starting this week, but head coach David Shoehalter said they have continued to put in quality practices in the last few weeks.

“We have the biggest competition of the year, smack in the middle of the most stressful academic time of the year for most of our kids, and they're able to prioritize and get the job done,” Shoehalter said.

The Bulldogs on the field look sharp going into the weekend with several athletes holding top spots in the league. In the pole vault, senior Eric DePalo has consistently jumped 4.80m and above throughout the outdoor season and holds the fifth-best mark in the league, according to Directathletics.com. Freshman Mike Levine has been phenomenal in his first year, placing third in the discus in the Eastern division of Penn Relays, and is second on the outdoor list with a PR of 54.41m. Junior David Smith is also in the top 10 for the shot put. In his last appearance at Heptagonals, senior Reynolds Holmes will look for a strong showing in the long jump after placing second last year. The duo of junior Samba Binagi and sophomore Yifan Chen should also represent the Bulldogs well in the triple jump, with Chen breaking the 14-meter mark at the Harvard-Yale meet this season.

The distance runners may see huge contributions from senior Chris Labosky, who posted an NCAA provisional time in the 800-meter run two weeks ago, while senior Remi Ray and freshman Chris Ramsey should also provide strength in the middle distances. The Bulldogs have several possible contenders in the 1,500-meter run with solid races from senior Kevin Brown and sophomores Conor Dooney and Julian Sheinbaum this season. Junior Jeff Perrella should play an important role in the longer distances, having ran an IC4A-qualifying time in the 5,000-meter run in his first performance of the season, while junior Max Walden could also score points in either the 5,000-meter or 10,000-meter run. In the 3,000-meter steeplechase, senior Alex Harris, junior Matt Bogdan and sophomore Nathan Richards have all ran IC4A-qualifying times. Richards will also be looking to score after missing it by one spot last outdoor season. The 4x800 meter relay team may see an impressive performance, especially after the distance medley relay team ran the fastest outdoor time since 1991 two weeks ago at the Penn Relays.

The sprinters boast the pair of junior Marty Evans and sophomore Matt Bieszard, who hold the second and third-fastest times in the 200-meter dash in the league. Evans also holds the ninth-fastest time in the 400-meter dash. In the hurdles, senior Ted Galligan, who placed fourth in the 400-meter hurdles last year, is heading into the weekend with a season best in that event. The Bulldogs have some flexibility in the 100-meter dash with seasoned sprinters Holmes and junior Nathan Molina in addition to Evans and Bieszard who have ran some impressive times this season. In the relays, senior David Soiles, Evans, junior Chris Stanley and Bieszard should provide strength in the 4x400 meter relay, while the 4x100 meter relay will look to build off of its third-place finish from last year.

Cornell, the defending champion, will probably see competition from a very strong Princeton team, who won indoor Heptagonals in early March. The top six spots in each event score points using the standard scoring system of 10-8-6-4-2-1.

The meet will start on Saturday with the finals of the hammer throw at 10:00 a.m. and end with the finals of 10,000-meter run at 7:00 p.m. A complete schedule can be found here. Results and coverage will be posted on Hepstrack.com, Ivyleaguesports.com and Yalebulldogs.com after the meet.

Report by Miriam Cho '13, Yale Sports Publicity