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Honors Bestowed Upon Seniors at Awards Banquet

John Van Deventer.
John Van Deventer.

Bieszard, Van Deventer Recognized for Outstanding Careers

NEW HAVEN – The Yale men's track and field team held its annual banquet on Tuesday at the Ray Tompkins House in recognition of its accomplishments as a unit and of those of its standout individuals. In particular, seniors Matthew Bieszard and John Van Deventer received special acknowledgments.

Bieszard, this year's team captain, was honored with two separate awards. The first was the Lee Calhoun Award, presented to an "outstanding member of the Men's and Women's Track and Field Team who excels in Sprinting and/or Hurdling." The award is given annually in memory of Lee Calhoun, a two-time Olympic medalist and former world record holder in the 110-meter hurdles and head Yale men's track coach from 1975-1980. Bieszard was also the recipient of the James Stack '61 Award, given annually to a male and female track athlete who best personifies Jim Stack. Stack was the captain of the 1961 Yale team that swept the "big three" meets: Harvard-Yale-Princeton, Heps, and IC4As.

The honors were well-deserved, as Bieszard has been Yale's top performer on the track all season. He was Second-Team All-Ivy in the 400-meter dash both indoors and outdoors, and currently holds the third-fastest indoor 200-meter time in Yale history (21.81) and the fifth-fastest outdoor 400-meter time (46.92). In addition, the Midland Park, N.J. native has played an invaluable role as a leader, shaping a trio of freshman sprinters into an All-East 4x400-meter relay team.

Van Deventer was awarded the Gardner Millett Memorial Award for the second year in a row. The distinction celebrates an "outstanding member of the Men's Track and Field Team who excels in Sportsmanship, Courage, and Inspiration." It is presented in memory of Gardner Millett Jr. '38. Van Deventer, a fifth-year senior from Surrey, England, was sidelined by injuries for three years before returning last year to place third at Heps in the 1500-meter run and qualify for the finals at the NCAA East Regional. This year, Van Deventer once again struggled with injuries, but persevered and emerged as a vital contributor to the team late in the season. His 2012 year was highlighted by a victory in the 800-meter run at the Yale Springtime Invitational and an outstanding leg in the 4x800-meter relay at Heps.

Report by Eian Katz '13, Yale Sports Publicity