Larry Ellis Invitational Offers Venue for Conference-Wide Showdown
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale men's track and field team will send a contingent to Princeton this weekend to compete at the Larry Ellis Invitational. Though David Shoehalter, the Mark T. Young '68 Director of Cross Country and Track and Field, noted that qualification standards this year were particularly strict, 21 athletes have earned the right to represent the Bulldogs at the meet, which will feature the entire Ivy League along with a slew of other strong teams.
With victories in the 200-meter dash, 400-meter dash and 4x400-meter relay already to his name this season, senior captain Matthew Bieszard has been the Elis' most consistent and top-performing runner so far. But in order to get in some speed work, he will step out of his comfort zone this weekend and run a couple of shorter races: the 100-meter dash and 4x100-meter relay. Sophomore Daniel Jones will join him in both.
Filling Bieszard's spot on the 4x400-meter relay team will be sophomore hurdle-specialist Nnamdi Udeh. Udeh will also get a tryout on the 4x100-meter relay team in the absence of sophomore Dana Lindberg.
The final spot on the 4x100-meter relay team belongs to freshman Dylan Hurley, who will also compete on the 4x400-meter relay team along with freshman Mario Kranjac, freshman William Rowe, and Udeh. Rowe, who ran his first collegiate hurdles race less than a month ago, has also qualified for Saturday's 400-meter intermediate hurdles final.
The Bulldogs once again have proved their depth in the middle distance events by qualifying six total runners for the two elite races. Senior Charlie Jaeger and sophomore James Shirvell will jockey for position in a stacked field in the elite 800-meter run. Shirvell ran a blistering time of 1:53.59 in his return from surgery last weekend, while Jaeger also posted a season-best 1:55.17. Seniors Conor Dooney and John Van Deventer, both of whom have been sidelined for long stretches this year but have run strong times in the past, will race in the open 800-meter run.
The 1500-meter run promises to be a particularly exciting race for the Elis. Juniors Timothy Hillas and Michael Pierce and freshman John McGowan and Jacob Sandry will all compete in the elite race, while freshman Matt Nussbaum will run in the open race. McGowan's time from last weekend of 3:51.43 is the fastest on the team this year, with Pierce hot on his heels in 3:42.40.
In the longest race of the weekend, five Bulldogs will enter the 5000-meter run: junior Sam Kirtner, sophomore Ryan Laemel, junior Kevin Lunn, sophomore Miles Richardson and junior Matthew Thwaites. None have competed at the distance outdoors yet this year, but Laemel (14:43.93), Lunn (14:55.29) and Thwaites (14:53.72) all ran the 5000-meter run during the indoor season.
Finally, junior Mike Levine will compete in the discus throw, where he is always a threat to win, even at a meet of this size. Levine threw his best mark of the season at Harvard last week (54.17m) and has won at two meets in a row.
The discus throw, along with the elite middle distance and distance events, will be held on Friday evening beginning at 5:30 p.m. All other events will go off after the meet resumes the following day at noon. A full meet schedule along with heat sheets is available here. Results will be posted on www.yalebulldogs.com upon the meet's conclusion.
Report by Eian Katz '13, Yale Sports Publicity