Four Athletes Could Qualify for National Championship
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Four Bulldogs will vie for a chance to qualify for the national championship by competing at the NCAA East Regional this weekend. Indiana University will host the regional meet at the Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex on May 26-28. The top 48 athletes in each event were selected to compete.
In what has been a remarkable finale to his collegiate career, senior John Van Deventer qualified for the regional meet at a last chance meet, posting the region's seventh-fastest time in the 1,500-meter run. His six-second PR also follows a third-place finish at Heptagonals.
"The conditions were perfect on the day and a bunch of my teammates came to support, which made a big difference. I didn't want my season to end then and I want it to continue beyond this weekend," Van Deventer said.
Van Deventer will have to place in the top five in his heat or the next four fastest spots on Thursday to advance to Saturday's finals, in which the top five in two heats and the next two fastest times will advance to nationals. The 1,500-meter run should be a close race, with the top 24 seeds all within five seconds of each other.
The 3,000-meter steeplechase will only hold one race on Friday night to qualify for the national meet. Senior Matt Bogdan, a returning NCAA Regional qualifier, and junior Nathan Richards must finish in the top three in their heats or the next three fastest spots to advance to nationals. Both steeplechasers are coming off performances at IC4As and top-five finishes at Heptagonals. Richards is seeded 21st, while Bogdan is seeded 30th.
"For me, this race is everything. It's the culmination of a lifetime of hard work. Everyone else on the trip has at least one more semester, but I'm racing with my jersey on the line," Bogdan said.
Sophomore Mike Levine, also a regional qualifier in the discus from last year, should build off his post-season accomplishments, earning All-East honors at IC4As with a third-place finish after winning the Ivy League title at outdoor Heptagonals. Entering as the 19th seed, Levine will have to place in the top 12 to qualify for nationals.
Last year, the Bulldogs qualified one athlete for the national meet, Chris Labosky '10 in the 800-meter run. The last Bulldog to earn All-American status at the national championship was in 2006 when Jihad Beauchman '06 placed in the high jump.
For Bogdan and Van Deventer, juggling both commencement ceremonies and practice the week leading up to regionals was an extra challenge, but the two have shown commitment to competing in Yale uniform one more time.
"Johnny and I have said all week, while everyone else was partying and trying to go out and see all their friends one more time, that we'd have it no other way. I love competing for Yale and want to make it last as long as possible. We're living the dream," Bogdan said.
A performance list is available at NCAA.com. A complete schedule of the meet as well as live results and video coverage can be found at the meet website. Results will be posted at Yalebulldogs.com after meet. The NCAA West Regional will also be held on the same dates at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Athletes who advance from each preliminary round will compete at the NCAA National Championship on June 8-11 at Des Moines, Iowa.
Report by Miriam Cho '13, Yale Sports Publicity