Shirvell Sets Yale Record in 1,500-Meters, Advances to NCAA Championships

James Shirvell. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
James Shirvell. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Middle-Distance Star Keeps Record-Setting Season Alive

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—The Yale men's track and field team is not finished with its season just yet. Thanks to the record-breaking performance of junior James Shirvell in the 1,500-meter finals at the NCAA East Regionals on Saturday, the Bulldogs will have a representative at the Division I NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., on June 6-8.

Shirvell entered Saturday's race in the midst of his best collegiate season. The Elis' middle-distance star had already shaved eight seconds off of his previous personal record in the event, placed sixth at Heps, and been elected team captain for the upcoming 2013-2014 season. On top of all that, at Regionals on Thursday, Shirvell had broken his 1,500-meter personal record yet again, earning himself a spot in the East Regional final. Shirvell had entered Regionals as the 20th seed in the event and had exceeded even those high expectations by finishing with the second overall time in the opening round. Following that race, the Regionals field of 48 was dwindled down to a field of 24 of the country's most dominant middle-distance runners. 

After a day off on Friday, Shirvell hit the track again on Saturday, needing to place in the top 12 to earn a ticket to Eugene for the NCAA Championships. Despite never having competed at Regionals prior to this season, Shirvell did not appear to feel any of that pressure during his race on Saturday.

Shirvell finished in 3:41.09, fifth overall. The time not only broke the personal record he had set on Thursday, but also gave Shirvell the fastest 1,500-meter time in Yale history. He trailed the first-place finisher in the event—Notre Dame's Jeremy Rae—by just more than one second. 

Already established as one of Yale's all-time best athletes, Shirvell—who, coming into the season, had only run the 1,500-meters once at the college level—will now seek to cement his legacy on the national stage in Eugene in two weeks.

Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity