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Yale Hosts First Annual Mark Young Invitational on Saturday

Michael Grace. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Michael Grace. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Bulldogs to Compete at First Home Meet Since Mid-February

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—Coming off a valiant but losing effort against Harvard last weekend, the Yale men's track and field team will continue outdoor competition at its own Dewitt Cuyler Athletic Complex on Saturday, when it hosts the first annual Mark Young Invitational. The new meet is named after Mark Young '68, Yale's legendary track and field and cross country director who coached at the school between 1980 and 2011. Given that the meet is at home, the Bulldogs' squad will be in full force on Saturday, and many athletes will be running for the first time this outdoor season.

Having only competed in relays so far during the outdoor season due to some minor injuries, freshman Marc-Andre Alexandre will headline the Elis' strong group of short sprinters. Despite his youth, Alexandre set the second-fastest 400-meter dash and fourth-fastest 200-meter dash personal records in Yale history during the indoor season. The impact of Alexandre's absence from the individual sprints during the past few weeks has been minimized by the impressive performances of senior Daniel Jones, who placed second in the 200-meters and third in the 100-meters against Harvard last weekend. Jones will run both races again on Saturday, while Alexandre will compete only in the 100-meter dash. Sophomore Martin Tolentino, senior Nnamdi Udeh and junior Chen Wang are also scheduled to run both short sprint events over the weekend. Senior Clifford Van Meter will take part in the 100-meter dash.

Freshman Chandler Crusan and junior Mario Kranjac will likely lead the way in the 400-meter dash. The pair has finished neck-and-neck in the event at each of the first three outdoor meets. Meanwhile, junior Dylan Hurley—who ran well in the 400-meters during the indoor season—is questionable to compete on Saturday. Like Alexandre, he has only competed in relays so far during the outdoor season.

In the two middle-distance races, the Bulldogs will enter a deep crew of 24 different athletes, including 18 in the 1,500-meter run alone. Senior team captain James Shirvell will be looking to improve on his season-best 1,500-meter time of 3:45.48 and increase his likelihood of earning a bid to the Division I NCAA Championships for the second straight season. Some of the other top athletes running alongside Shirvell will be star sophomore Kevin Dooney—who set the second-fastest 10,000-meter personal record in school history a few weekends ago—and four already proven freshmen: Ryan Douglas, Dan Grosvenor, Andre Ivankovic and James Randon. Rounding out the Bulldogs' 1,500-meter team will be junior Daniel Caballero, senior Michael Cunetta, senior Michele Gama Sosa, freshman David Hatch, senior Ryan Laemel, sophomore John Mahoney, freshman J.P. Meredith, sophomore Max Payson, junior Isa Qasim, senior Miles Richardson, junior Jacob Sandry and sophomore Duncan Tomlin. Gama Sosa is also slated to run the 800-meter event, along with senior John Cocco, freshman Tim Cox, junior Michael Grace, sophomore John Keisling, sophomore Alexander McDonald and sophomore Pete Merritt.  Grace and McDonald, specifically, have had strong seasons, and both will be worth watching in Saturday's race.

A much smaller group—the trio of junior Daniel Kemp, freshman Austin Loewen and junior William Rowe—will represent Yale in the hurdles. Kemp and Loewen will run the 110-meter event, while Kemp and Rowe will run the 400-meter event. Kemp impressed in both hurdle events against Harvard last weekend, but it was Rowe who stole the show, setting a personal record in the 400-meter event and placing second overall.

Another trio of Bulldogs—senior John Oppenheimer, freshman Torren Peebles and freshman Luke Persichetti—will compete in Saturday's field events. All three will take part in the shot put, while only Oppenheimer and Persichetti will enter the hammer throw. Meanwhile, for the second straight weekend, Peebles will also take part in the javelin throw, as he seeks to cement his place as the javelin specialist the Bulldogs have been lacking for the past season or two.

Finally, the Elis will also enter teams in both relay events. It appears that Alexandre, Jones and Udeh will take three of the four spots on the 4x100-meter relay team, while the fourth spot will be finalized on Saturday (Tolentino is a likely candidate). The Bulldogs seem prepared, on the other hand, to enter three different teams in the longer 4x400 meter relay, although the exact composition of those teams remains to be seen.

Saturday's action will begin at 11:00 a.m. with the field events and wrap up around 4:30 p.m. with the completion of the 4x400 meter relay. Complete results will be available on after the conclusion of the meet.

Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity

The Mark Young Invitational is named for Yale's legendary Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Mark T. Young '68, who coached at the school for 31 years between 1980 and 2011. Young served as captain of Yale's track and field team as a student and led the team to an outdoor Ivy League Heptagonal Championship during his senior year. As coach at Yale, Young led the Bulldogs to six Ivy League Heptagonal Championships and four top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships in women's cross country. The Elis also won four ECAC titles under Young's guidance. Young was named the national Cross Country Coach of the Year and NCAA District I Outdoor Track Coach of the Year in 1987, when he led Yale to a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships and a first-place finish in the outdoor Ivy League Heptagonal Championships. Young's influence and tremendous success extended well beyond New Haven, and he served as an assistant coach for the United States Track and Field Team in the 2000 Olympics.