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Bulldogs to Host Giegengack Invitational

Mario Kranjac. (Photo by Tom Cable)
Mario Kranjac. (Photo by Tom Cable)

Well-Rested Bulldogs Seek to Capitalize on Week Off

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—After enjoying a break from competition last weekend, the Yale men's track and field team will return to action on Friday and Saturday when it hosts the annual Giegengack Invitational, named in honor of legendary Yale track and field coach Bob Giegengack. The friendly unscored meet always brings a wide range of both in-state and northeast schools to Yale's Coxe Cage, and this year's field includes teams from schools such as Colgate, La Salle, SCSU, St. Joseph's, Stony Brook and UMass Amherst.

The Elis are coming off an impressive performance two weeks ago at the Terrier Invitational in Boston, where senior James Shirvell (4:00.54) broke Yale's all-time mile run record and freshman Marc-Andre Alexandre (47.45) fell just two-hundredths of a second shy of tying Yale's all-time record in the 400-meter dash. Despite having last weekend off, the Bulldogs will strive to use some of this momentum to their advantage when they take to the track this weekend.

Competition will begin on Friday evening with the completion of the high jump; long jump; weight throw; 200-meter dash; 5,000-meter run and distance medley relay.

Senior Dana Lindberg will represent the Elis in the long jump—his signature event. Lindberg last competed in the event at the Columbia-Dartmouth-Yale tri-meet on Jan. 18, placing first overall.

Meanwhile, Alexandre, Lindberg, senior Daniel Jones and senior Nnamdi Udeh have been the team's stars in the 200-meter dash up to this point in the season, and all four will be competing in the event on Friday. Alexandre and Lindberg have both already recorded fast enough times to qualify for the IC4A Championships in March, and Jones and Udeh will be hoping to run qualifying times on Friday. Juniors Dylan Hurley and William Rowe, along with several other runners, will also be entered in the event.

The Bulldogs competed in the 5,000-meter run, though, for the first time at the Terrier Invitational, and sophomore Alex Conner, junior Isa Qasim and sophomore Duncan Tomlin finished with nearly identical times in 11th, 12th and 13th place, respectively. Tomlin will run the 5,000-meters again on Friday but will be joined by two different athletes: junior Alec Borsook and freshman Dan Grosvenor.

Most events, however, will be held on Saturday, beginning with the shot put at 10:00 a.m.

One of Saturday's many events will be the 60-meter dash. Alexandre, Jones and Lindberg have been the team's best 60-meter sprinters this season, and the trio account for the Elis' 16 fastest times in the event this season. More remarkably, despite his freshman status, Alexandre has registered the Bulldogs' six fastest 60-meter times this season—all seven seconds or faster—and has already qualified for the IC4As in the event.

With his nearly record-setting performance in the 400-meter dash at the Terrier Invitational, though, Alexandre ensured that he would be a runner to watch not only in the short sprints, but in the long sprints as well. Apart from Alexandre, Hurley and junior Mario Kranjac have put together this season's top times in the 400-meter dash, and both runners will join Alexandre in the event on Saturday. Rowe will be the Elis' sole representative in the 500-meter dash. And if past meets are any indication, the Elis' top 4x400-meter relay squad will likely consist of Alexandre, Hurley, Rowe and either Jones or Lindberg—perhaps depending on who is more rested following his other events.

Junior Daniel Kemp, freshman Austin Loewen and freshman Torren Peebles, meanwhile, have represented the Elis in the 60-meter hurdles all season long, and the order in which the three have finished has changed meet-to-meet.

In the middle distance events, junior Michael Grace, sophomore John Mahoney and junior Alexander McDonald are the big names to watch. Grace has especially excelled in both the 800-meter and 1,000-meter races this season.

Shirvell—the Bulldogs' ace in the 800-meter and mile runs—will not be present at Coxe Cage this weekend, as he will travel back to Boston to compete individually at Boston University's Valentine Invitational on Saturday. After setting Yale's mile run record two weeks ago, he is now hoping to secure a fast enough time to earn a spot at the Division I NCAA Indoor Championships in March.

The Elis' will also enter a deep and talented squad in the 3,000-meter run. Dooney currently holds the team's best 3,000-meter time of the season by far (8:21.94). On Saturday, he will be running alongside several fellow distance runners, including Conner, Qasim, senior Michael Cunetta, junior Tom Harrison, senior Ryan Laemel and freshman James Randon, along with a few others.

Finally, in Saturday's field events, pole vaulter Brendan Sullivan will seek to continue his brilliant sophomore season. Sullivan's personal record coming into this season was 15'05" (4.70m), and he has topped that mark at all five meets in which he has competed this season. His current personal record stands at 16'4.75" (5.00m), and he is now only six inches away from tying Yale's all-time school record in the event.

Senior John Oppenheimer and freshman Luke Persichetti, meanwhile, will lead the team in the shot put. Oppenheimer—varsity football's starting center for each of the past three years—started competing in the throw events this season and has track and field experience from his high school days. Persichetti, for his part, holds the team's top shot put mark of the season: 43'5.75" (13.25m).

Friday night's action will conclude around 8:20 p.m., while the entire meet will finish up by 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. A full schedule of events for both days is available here. Results will be posted on at the end of competition on both Friday and Saturday.

Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity


This meet is named in honor of legendary Yale track and field coach Bob Giegengack. In his 29 years at Yale, the USA Track and Field Hall of Famer led the Elis to 183 victories, four IC4A titles and 13 outdoor and four indoor Heptagonal championships. Teacher, coach, philosopher, tireless storyteller and international leader in track and field, Giegengack spent more than 40 fruitful, exciting years in a career he loved. Helping talented young people to excel—both in their sport and in their studies—met his highest ideals. He trained his athletes, encouraged them and taught them strategies for success, always with the goal of mens sana in corpore sano—"a healthy mind in a healthy body." He demanded the best effort possible from each athlete, not just for the sake of individual achievement, but also for the good of the team. Beginning with his high school students at Brooklyn Prep, then at Fordham and Yale, and even as an Olympic coach in Melbourne (1956) and Tokyo (1964), "Gieg" worked to fulfill his personal ideals as a teacher, mentor and competitor. After his retirement in 1976, he coached Yale's first women's track and field team. The Giegengack legacy of talent, devotion and high ideals lives on at Yale today.