Three Yale Victories at UConn Spring Invite

Timothy Hillas. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Timothy Hillas. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bieszard, Hillas, 4x400 Relay Highlight Season Opener

STORRS, Conn. – The Yale men's track team opened its outdoor season in impressive fashion at the UConn Spring Invite yesterday. Competing against 11 other regional schools at the unscored meet, the team amassed victories in 3 events and even saw several athletes qualify for the IC4A meet, a particularly exciting feat given the earliness in the season.

As usual, senior captain Matthew Bieszard led the way with a victory in the 200-meter dash in an IC4A-qualifying time of 21.71. Sophomore Dana Lindberg (6th – 22.71) and freshman Mario Kranjac also looked strong in the event. Lindberg's time was only 0.20 seconds off his PR, and Kranjac's was a collegiate-best. Freshman Dylan Hurley also turned in his strongest collegiate race with a third-place finish in the 400-meter dash (49.95).

Freshman William Rowe, competing in the hurdles for the first time at the collegiate level, showed significant promise with his third-place effort in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles (56.38). Sophomore Nnamdi Udeh was 13th in the same event (1:02.94), and freshman Daniel Kemp took 10th in the 110-meter high hurdles (16.15).

The recently crowned All-East 4x400-meter relay team of Bieszard, Rowe, Kranjac, and Hurley was in top form as well, holding off a strong team from Southern Connecticut State University to capture the victory (3:17.38). Though it was three seconds slower than their best indoor time this season (3:14.06), the team's performance was still good for an IC4A qualification. Meanwhile, the 4x100-meter relay team of sophomore Daniel Jones, Lindberg, Hurley and Bieszard came in fourth (42.78), with a time only 1.12 seconds off what the team ran at Heps last year.

The Elis took the 1500-meter run by force, sweeping the top four spots and grabbing six of the top ten. Junior Timothy Hillas got the win (3:56.29) to continue his outstanding ascendancy as one of the region's elite middle distance runners. But within a second of him were junior Sam Kirtner (2nd – 3:56.38), freshman John McGowan (3rd – 3:56.88) and freshman Jacob Sandry (4th – 3:56.92). Hillas and McGowan came back in the 800-meter run (finishing 11th and 14th, respectively), but senior Charlie Jaeger was the fastest Bulldog in that event (6th – 1:55.29).

Lindberg topped off a busy and successful day with a second-place result in the long jump (7.05m), tying his personal record. Elsewhere in the jumps, sophomore Paul Chandler tied for fourth in the pole vault with a leap of 4.50m.

Reigning Ivy League discus champion Mike Levine competed in his signature event for the first time in 2012, and looked to be as strong as ever. Levine was third in the event (50.79m), finishing behind only former Brown national championship qualifier Bryan Powlen (competing as an unattached) and Monroe College's Tautvydas Kieras, a member of the Lithuanian national team. Levine's mark was 3.62m short of his PR, but was strong enough to qualify for IC4As. He also took sixth in the hammer throw (50.48m).

The Bulldogs will be at Princeton next weekend for the Sam Howell Invitational.

Report by Eian Katz '13, Yale Sports Publicity