April 14, 2011

Bulldogs Look for Ninth Consecutive Win at Harvard-Yale

Rivalry Brings Out Best in Competition

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – One of the most anticipated events of the outdoor season will grace Dewitt-Cuyler track this Saturday at the annual Harvard-Yale dual meet. With eight consecutive victories since 2003, the Bulldogs are looking for their ninth win in a tradition that has been going on since 1891. 

David Shoehalter, the Mark T. Young '68 Director of Cross Country and Track and Field, said that while the Bulldogs' strengths lie in several events, individuals always step up on the day of the meet. 

"Our steeplechasers are coming off of a very successful year last year, and we'll begin to build on that this year. (Marty) Evans and (Matthew) Bieszard have been stalwarts throughout this season and I'd expect big performances from them. At this meet, there's always someone who really steps it up and comes up with an unexpected big performance," Shoehalter said. 

After double wins in the 200-meter and 400-meter dashes at last season's meet, senior captain Marty Evans could very well pull off the same feat this year. Evans currently holds the second-fastest time in the 200-meter dash and the fifth-fastest time in the 400-meter dash in the league. Junior Matthew Bieszard also has impressive standings in the league, seventh in the 200-meter dash and eighth in the 100-meter dash. Senior Chris Stanley could also play a role on Saturday after finishing in the top 10 in the 200-meter dash at last weekend's UConn Invitational. Senior Nathan Molina is also coming off a top-10 finish and freshman Daniel Jones a season best in the 100-meter dash in the short sprints. The Bulldogs also hope to follow up on their wins in both relays last year with the group of Evans, Bieszard, Molina, Stanley and Jones. 

After the majority took a break from competition last weekend, the distance runners should be refreshed and eager to race. The pair of junior Nathan Richards and senior Matt Bogdan should prove a force in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, still holding the number three and four spots in the league, respectively. The 1,500-meter run has seen impressive races from junior Julian Sheinbaum and sophomore Michael Pierce, who recently had a breakout race at the UConn Invitational. In the middle distance, the Bulldogs will look to freshman James Shirvell in his second meet of outdoor season after a decorated indoor season, as well as sophomore Christopher Ramsey. The longer distances could see contributions from junior Samuel Lynch, who brings in the fastest time for the Bulldogs in the 5,000-meter run, and sophomore Matthew Thwaites, who gave a tough performance in the 10,000-meter run two weeks ago.

The Bulldogs' trio of throwers, senior David Smith, junior Mike Levine and freshman Stefan Palios,  are all coming off PRs or season bests from last weekend's meet with Levine having the farthest throw in the league for the discus and Smith having the eighth spot in the shot put. The jumpers will be led by sophomore Tommy Winger and freshman Dana Lindberg in the long jump, who took second last weekend at the UConn Invitational, and senior Samba Binagi in the triple jump.

Last year, the Bulldogs pulled off a close win over Harvard by nine points. The top three finishers in each event score points on a 5-3-1 scale. The Bulldogs will have some ground to make up without anyone in the high jump, pole vault and hurdles, but the spirit of the Harvard-Yale rivalry should bring out the best from the team on Saturday.

"There's a healthy respect between the two teams, but each wants to beat the other on the day," Shoehalter said.

The meet will kick off with the hammer throw at 1:00 p.m. and end with the 4x400-meter relay at 5:05 p.m. Buses will leave in front of Payne Whitney Gymnasium every 15 minutes. A complete schedule can be found here. Results will be available at Yalebulldogs.com after the meet.

Report by Miriam Cho '13, Yale Sports Publicity