April 10, 2014

Bulldogs Head to Cambridge to Take on Rival Crimson

Third Meet of Outdoor Season Pits Elis Against Familiar Foe

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—After putting on a solid showing at Princeton's Sam Howell Invitational last weekend, the Yale men's track and field team will head to Cambridge, Mass., this weekend for the annual Harvard-Yale dual meet on Saturday. The meet will be the Bulldogs' third of the outdoor season.

Yale has a history of success in the meet, defeating Harvard eight consecutive times from 2003 to 2010 before losing to the Crimson in each of the past three years. The Bulldogs' results may once again be trending upwards: in 2013, the Elis recorded 64 points against Harvard—the team's highest point total at the meet since 2010.

With a deep team composed of skilled athletes of all class years, the Bulldogs seem poised to compete for points in a wide range of events on Saturday. Yale figures to excel particularly in the middle-distance events, where freshman Andre Ivankovic, sophomore Alexander McDonald, freshman James Randon and senior James Shirvell will look to build on their already strong outdoor seasons. Shirvell currently holds the fastest 1,500-meter time in the Ivy League this season—a 3:45.48 he ran at the Stanford Invitational last weekend—while Ivankovic and Randon both also hold faster 1,500-meter times than Harvard's top time of the season in the event.

Ivankovic and Randon are also threats to compete in the 800-meter race, an event in which the pair of freshmen shined at the Shamrock Invitational back in March. McDonald, meanwhile, ran an impressive 1:53.50 in the 800-meters last weekend—the second-fastest 800-meter time recorded by any Harvard or Yale runner during the outdoor season. Shirvell and McDonald placed first and seventh, respectively, in the 800-meters against Harvard last season.

The Bulldogs will be hoping to add to their point total in the sprints, where Marc-Andre Alexandre is always a threat for a first-place finish. A top competitor in both the short and long sprint events, the freshman placed second in the 400-meter finals at the indoor Ivy League Heptagonal Championships and 14th in the 200-meter prelims at the indoor IC4A Championships. Alexandre could compete in either the 100-meter, 200-meter or 400-meter dash on Saturday (or perhaps in more than one of those races), depending on the strategy Yale's coaches employ throughout the meet. Seniors Daniel Jones and Nnamdi Udeh are also runners to keep an eye on in the short sprints, while junior Mario Kranjac has been the Bulldogs' top long sprinter through the season's first two meets. Freshman Chandler Crusan and junior Dylan Hurley are likely to compete in the 400-meter event alongside Kranjac.

Unlike many other outdoor meets, the Harvard-Yale meet features no race longer than the 3,000-meter run. If sophomore Kevin Dooney competes in the event, he figures to place highly, given his highly successful cross country and track seasons this year. Dooney ran the second-fastest 10,000-meter race in Yale history just last weekend. Any number of Yale's other distance runners could also compete in the 3,000-meters on Saturday. Freshman Dan Grosvenor and senior Ryan Laemel are especially likely options given that both ran the 5,000-meters last weekend. But most of the athletes who ran the 3,000-meters at last year's Harvard-Yale meet are also still on the roster, including senior Michael Cunetta, junior Isa Qasim, senior Miles Richardson and senior Michele Gama Sosa.

Sophomore Duncan Tomlin is the one distance runner who is more likely to compete in the 3,000-meter steeplechase than the normal 3,000 meter race, as he has emerged as the team's specialist in the event and even competed at Stanford last weekend. His 3,000-meter steeplechase time from the Stanford Invitational currently stands as the fourth-best time in the Ivy League this season.

In the hurdles, the Elis will likely enter their typical crew of junior Daniel Kemp, freshman Austin Loewen and freshman Torren Peebles in the 110-meter event and junior William Rowe in the 400-meter race. Yale scored 10 of its 64 overall points in the hurdle events at last year's Harvard-Yale meet, as Rowe easily took first in the 400-meter hurdles and Kemp placed second in the 110-meter event.

Sophomore Brendan Sullivan is also fairly likely to grab a top spot in the pole vault. Sullivan placed first in the event against Harvard as a freshman last season and has made massive strides since then, increasing his outdoor meet personal record from 14'3.25" (4.35m) to 15'9" (4.80m). Freshman Luke Persichetti, meanwhile, will specialize in the throw events, as has been the case throughout the course of the season.

Finally, the Elis will also likely enter teams in the 4x100 and 4x400 meter relays. Yale's top available 4x100-meter squad consists of Alexandre, Hurley, Jones and Udeh, and—unless injuries or fatigue get in the way—they figure to represent the Bulldogs on Saturday. Meanwhile, the team of Alexandre, Crusan, Hurley and Rowe took fourth place in the 4x400 meter relay last weekend, and at least two of the four are likely to compete against Harvard. Whether or not Alexandre and Hurley will run in both relay events remains to be seen.

Saturday's meet will begin with the hammer throw, long jump and pole vault at 12:30 p.m. and wrap up with the 4x400 meter relay at 4:30 p.m. A complete schedule is available here. Full results will be available at www.yalebulldogs.com on Saturday evening, following the conclusion of the meet.

Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity