Elis Open 2014 with 11 Top-10 Finishes at Yale Invitational

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

Alexandre, Shirvell and Sullivan Continue Strong Starts to Indoor Seasons

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—Back in action for the first time in more than a month, the Yale men's indoor track and field team continued to build on its impressive start to its season when it hosted the 32nd Yale Invitational at Coxe Cage on Saturday. The unscored friendly competition brought together a collection of regional teams, including CCSU, Connecticut, Fordham, Sacred Heart, UMass Amherst and Wesleyan, among others.

For the second consecutive meet, freshman Marc-Andre Alexandre was one of the Bulldogs' top performers. After recording top-two finishes in three events (the 60-meter dash, 200-meter dash and 4x400 meter relay) in the Yale Season Opener back in December, Alexandre improved on his 60-meter dash time on Saturday (running a 6.94 in the final round and placing second) and was a member of Yale's third-place 4x400 meter relay team. Running with Alexandre in the 4x400 meter relay were junior Dylan Hurley, senior Daniel Jones and junior William Rowe.

In addition to contributing in the 4x400 meter relay, however, Hurley, Jones and Rowe also performed well in the individual sprint events. Hurley (50.64) and Rowe (50.77) placed sixth and 11th, respectively, in the 400-meter dash, while Jones was the only other Eli besides Alexandre to qualify for the 60-meter dash final, where he placed seventh with a time of 7.10 seconds.

Senior team captain James Shirvell (1:52.49), meanwhile, led the way in the 800-meter race, following up his first-place showing run in the mile run in the season opener with a second-place finish on Saturday. Shirvell was only one of several Bulldogs to perform well in the 800-meters, however, as junior Michael Grace (fourth place – 1:55.70), sophomore John Mahoney (fifth – 1:56.87) and freshman cross country star James Randon (seventh – 1:57.41) all placed in the top 10 overall.

But amidst many strong showings, sophomore pole vaulter Brendan Sullivan perhaps recorded the best performance of the day for the Elis, securing a mark of 15'9" (4.80m) for the second consecutive meet. That mark gives Sullivan the fifth-best pole vaulting personal record in Yale history.

Senior Dana Lindberg, senior John Oppenheimer and freshman Luke Persichetti represented the Bulldogs in the other field events. Lindberg (22'5.75" – 6.85m) placed fourth in the long jump, after placing second in the event last weekend. Persichetti (42'9.5" – 13.04m) and Oppenheimer (36'7" – 11.15m) finished 18th and 28th, respectively, in the shot put.

While many of the Elis' veterans came through in their respective events on Saturday, it was two freshmen—Austin Loewen (16th place – 8.74 seconds) and Torren Peebles (12th – 8.68)—that finished highest for Yale in the 60-meter hurdles preliminary round. Junior Daniel Kemp (8.80) also finished 18th in prelims.

The Bulldogs also entered several athletes in the longest event of the day—the 3,000-meter race—after resting most of their distance runners in the season opener. Junior Isa Qasim (8:37.00), who ended the 2013 cross country season on a bit of a hot streak, picked up right where he left off in his first race of the track and field season, placing second. Three other cross country runners also competed in their first track and field race of the season on Saturday: sophomore Duncan Tomlin (8:44.80), junior Alec Borsook (8:55.95) and freshman Dan Grosvenor (8:56.59) placed sixth, eighth and ninth, respectively, in the 3,000-meters.

Finally, the Elis put on several solid performances in Saturday's relay events. In addition to the team of Alexandre, Hurley, Jones and Rowe, two other teams of Bulldogs entered the 4x400 meter relay. The team of Kemp, freshman Chandler Crusan, junior Andrew Goble and sophomore John Keisling recorded a 3:24.81, placing fifth in the event. Meanwhile, Grace, Mahoney, freshman Tim Cox and sophomore Max Payson ran well in the 4x800 meter relay, finishing third overall. The Elis also entered a team in the distance medley relay, as Cox, Keisling, Randon and freshman David Hatch raced to a seventh-place finish.

Saturday's meet served as the Bulldogs' final warm-up as it begins its track and field season. The Elis will begin scored competition next weekend when they travel to Hanover, N.H., for the annual Yale-Dartmouth-Columbia meet.

Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity