Heavy Ivy League Competition Expected
NEW HAVEN, Conn.—The Yale men's track and field team will compete amidst a field of around 1,000 student-athletes this weekend when the Bulldogs travel to Princeton for the Sam Howell Invitational. The annual unscored meet, which holds events on both Friday and Saturday, attracts schools from across the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic, including a good number of Ivy League schools. This year, all eight Ivy schools are traveling to the meet, making this weekend a prime warm-up opportunity for the Bulldogs headed into their scored Ivy League meets.
Athletes had to meet certain qualifying times and be accepted by the meet coordinators in order to compete this weekend.
Friday afternoon will see the completion of the men's hammer throw and discus, as well as the 1,500-meter (elite) run; 5,000-meter run, 10,000-meter run and the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Senior Mike Levine, the reigning Ivy League discus champ, unsurprisingly placed first in the discus two weekends ago at the Tribe Invitational with a toss of 166'11" (50.88m). Last weekend, although the Elis did not travel anywhere as a team, Levine competed in the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin, Texas, where he registered a mark of 178'2" (54.30m), just barely short of his personal-best throw of 178'6" (54.41m). Having already easily qualified for the IC4As in the discus, Levine will seek to top his personal record this weekend. Levine will also lead the way for the Bulldogs in the hammer throw, after placing third at Heps during the last outdoor season.
The 1,500-meter run is one of the Elis' strongest events—especially in the elite division. Junior James Shirvell should see success in the 1,500-meter run, after breaking his personal record in the event two weekends ago (3:50.22), only to break it again last weekend at the Raleigh Relays in North Carolina (3:49.26). Senior team captain Timothy Hillas is another one of the Bulldogs' top 1,500-meter runners, having competed in the event at both Heps and the IC4As during the last outdoor season. Sophomore John McGowan is also entered in the event after running a 3:50.75 last weekend at the Raleigh Relays. McGowan and Shirvell have both already qualified for the IC4As in the event. Joining Hillas, McGowan and Shirvell in the elite division will be senior Sam Kirtner and sophomore Matt Nussbaum. Some of the other Elis will compete in the normal 1,500-meter heats on Saturday, including junior John Cocco, freshman Max Payson and senior Michael Pierce.
Senior Kevin Lunn will lead the Elis in the 5,000-meter run. He ran the Elis' top 5,000-meter time during both the previous outdoor season (14:46.83) and during the recently completed indoor season (14:29.18—a personal record). Junior Michael Cunetta, senior Demetri Goutos and senior Matthew Thwaites will join Lunn in the event.
The 10,000-meter run, meanwhile, will feature only two Bulldogs: Thwaites, who has proven to be one of the Elis' most consistent distance runners, and freshman Kevin Dooney, coming off a phenomenal indoor season in which he placed ninth in both the 5,000-meters at Heps and the 3,000-meters at the IC4As.
The remainder of the events will take place on Saturday. Junior Dana Lindberg and senior Tommy Winger will continue to represent the Bulldogs in the long jump, after recording leaps of 22'6.25" (6.86m) and 20'7.25" (6.28m), respectively, two weekends ago.
The Elis also excel in the pole vault, where the tandem of junior Paul Chandler and freshman Brendan Sullivan impressed during the indoor season. Chandler set a personal record (15'9"—4.8m) in a first-place finish at the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet and then tied that mark at the IC4As. Sullivan, meanwhile, fought off injury all season to place fourth at Heps.
The Bulldogs also enter a talented group in the 800-meter run, where proven middle-distance runners like Hillas, Kirtner, McGowan, Pierce, Shirvell and sophomore Michael Grace are all slated to compete. Grace and McGowan ran the event in the Bulldogs' outdoor season opener, posting solid times. Shirvell managed to crack the top 30 in the event at the recent indoor IC4As.
Junior Daniel Jones—arguably the Elis' top short sprinter—will compete in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes. Those joining him in the short sprints are Lindberg, sophomore Andrew Goble and freshman Martin Tolentino. Sophomore Dylan Hurley, who was a member of the 4x400-meter relay team that placed second two weekends ago, will be the lone Eli competing in the 400-meter dash.
The 110-meter hurdles will be the domain of a pair of youngsters: sophomore Daniel Kemp and freshman Adam Lundquist. Sophomore William Rowe, the Bulldogs' specialist in the 400-meter hurdles, will lead the way in that event. Kemp and Lundquist will also try their hand at the 400-meter hurdles this weekend.
The Elis will also enter teams in the two relay events. Two weekends ago, they had great success in the 4x400 meter relay, placing both second and fourth. That same second-place team will remain mostly intact this weekend, with Hurley, Rowe and junior Nnamdi Udeh running again, and with Jones taking sophomore Mario Kranjac's spot. The Elis will enter two other teams in the 4x400, and stars like Hillas, McGowan and Shirvell will all get the chance to compete. The Elis will also enter a 4x100-meter relay team this weekend very similar to the one that opened the outdoor season for them two weeks ago: Jones, Lindberg and Udeh will again feature in the team, with Rowe taking Tolentino's spot from two weeks ago.
Men's competition begins Friday at 4:00 p.m. and ends at around 10:00 p.m. Saturday's action will begin around noon and wrap up at 6:00 p.m. A full schedule of events can be found at http://www.goprincetontigers.com/pdf9/1618585.pdf?DB_OEM_ID=10600. Results will be available on yalebulldogs.com following both Friday's and Saturday's events.
Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity