Sullivan Scores on Day One of Heps

Brendan Sullivan. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Brendan Sullivan. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Three Bulldogs Qualify for Sunday's Finals

HANOVER, N.H.—With only four events completed and scored, the Yale men's indoor track and field team tallied four points on day one of the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships (Heps) on Saturday, recording one top-four finish and sending three athletes through to Sunday's final-round events.

Heps provides an opportunity for all eight Ivy League schools to compete against one another, and the meet spans both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday's events included the preliminary rounds in many of the track events, as well as the final rounds in the long jump, pole vault, shot put and 3,000-meter run. The finals of all remaining events will take place on Sunday, meaning the scoring is far from finished. At the end of day one, however, Princeton leads all schools with 42 points. Cornell, with 33 points, is not far behind. Yale will hope to overtake Harvard (12 points), Columbia (11 points), Brown (10 points), Dartmouth (six points) and Penn (six points) through strong performances tomorrow.

Saturday marked the second time in sophomore Brendan Sullivan's first two collegiate seasons that he placed fourth in the pole vaulting finals at indoor Heps. Sullivan registered an impressive mark of 16'0.75" (4.90m) to open the meet, outdoing his score at last year's Heps by more than seven inches (0.18m). Sullivan has had an exceptionally strong season, increasing his personal record by nearly one whole foot (0.3m), registering one of the five best pole vaulting personal records in Yale history and placing first overall at the Giegengack Invitational, Terrier Invitational and Yale Season Opener. On Saturday, Sullivan cleared the 15'9" (4.80m) mark on his second attempt and the 16'0.75" (4.90m) mark on his third attempt before failing to top the 16'4.75" (5.00m) mark in three tries.

While Sullivan scored the Bulldogs' only points of the day in the four scored final-round events, three other Elis—notably, two of them freshmen—performed well enough in Saturday's prelims to qualify for final rounds on Sunday. Freshman Marc-Andre Alexandre, freshman James Randon and senior James Shirvell qualified in the 400-meter, 1,000-meter and mile run events, respectively.

Alexandre has dominated the 60-meter, 200-meter and 400-meter dashes this season, recording Yale's season-best times in all three events and coming within two-hundredths of a second of tying Yale's all-time 400-meter record earlier this season. On Saturday, Alexandre ran well more than a second slower than his personal-best 400-meter time but still cruised to a first-place finish in his heat and a second-place finish overall. He will be one of eight runners competing in Sunday's 400-meter final, and his biggest competition figures to be Cornell's star sprinter, senior Bruno Hortelano-Roig, who ran the fastest 60-meter and 200-meter dash times in the Ivy League this season. Alexandre's final-round race is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. on Sunday.

Like Alexandre, Shirvell placed first in his heat and second overall in prelims for the mile run on Saturday. Shirvell has focused almost exclusively on the mile during the indoor season, shattering Yale's all-time record in the event earlier in the year. Shirvell will run alongside nine other runners in Sunday's final, and the race should be an especially exciting one. Six of the runners with the seven fastest mile times in the Ivy League this season will be competing in the final, and all of their season-best times are within three seconds of one another. The mile run final is slated for noon on Sunday.

Finally, Randon finished seventh in the 1,000-meter preliminary race, earning one of eight spots to compete in Sunday's final. Randon—who ran a strong cross country season in 2013—was competing in the 1,000-meters for the first time at the collegiate level. Still, Randon outran Princeton sophomore Luke Brahm—who ran the second-fastest 1,000-meter time in the Ivy League just a few weeks ago—in prelims, and he will be seeking to score points on Sunday. His competition is certainly tough, however, as five of the runners with the seven fastest Ivy League times in the event this season have qualified for the final, scheduled for 1:25 p.m.

While Alexandre, Randon and Shirvell were the only Bulldogs to qualify for final rounds on Sunday, several of their teammates nevertheless performed well on Saturday.

In the 60-meter dash, senior Daniel Jones ran a solid 7.07, placing 10th in prelims and just missing out on cracking the top eight and qualifying for the final round. Alexandre was also joined by four teammates in the 400-meter dash prelims, as senior Nnamdi Udeh (51.30), junior Dylan Hurley (51.42), freshman Chandler Crusan (52.39) and junior Mario Kranjac (53.14) placed 16th, 17th, 21st and 22nd, respectively. Junior William Rowe (1:08.79) placed 14th in the 500-meter dash.

Freshman Andre Ivankovic (4:14.12) was the only Bulldog besides Randon and Shirvell to compete in a middle-distance event on Saturday, falling less than one-tenth of a second shy of joining Shirvell in the mile run finals.

In the longest event of the day, the 3,000-meter run, senior Ryan Laemel (8:41.54), freshman Dan Grosvenor (8:48.77) and senior Michael Cunetta (8:52.14) finished 16th, 18th and 20th, respectively.

Finally, junior Daniel Kemp (8.60), freshman Austin Loewen (8.74) and freshman Torren Peebles (8.75) finished 13th, 15th and 16th, respectively, in the 60-meter hurdles prelims. Kemp's performance marked his fastest time of the season in the event.

The Bulldogs will be back in action on Sunday as Heps come to a close. Live video will be available here, and a full schedule of events is available here. Results will be available on at the end of the day.

Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity