Alexandre, Dooney, Jones and Shirvell Earn Awards
NEW HAVEN, Conn.—The Yale men's track and field team held its annual banquet on Monday afternoon, and four of the Bulldogs' top athletes—freshman Marc-Andre Alexandre, sophomore Kevin Dooney, senior Daniel Jones and senior James Shirvell—were recognized for their performance both on and off the track.
Jones received the Gardner Millett Memorial Trophy, given yearly to an "outstanding member of the Men's Track and Field Team who excels in Sportsmanship, Courage, and Inspiration." The award is presented in honor of former Yale track star Gardner Millett, Jr., '38. Jones, one of the team's top short sprinters, is more than a worthy recipient, having provided the team with valuable leadership for all four of his collegiate seasons. During his track career, Jones has competed in more than 140 races, including many 60-meter, 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, as well as a wide variety of relay events. Jones has competed in the competitive IC4A Championships during all seven of his indoor and outdoor seasons—either as an individual qualifier or as a member of one of the Bulldogs' relay squads—and he will likely be competing at the IC4As again next weekend in the 100-meters and at least one relay event. Jones will end his career with the fifth-fastest indoor 200-meter personal record in Yale history, after running a 21.96 in the IC4A prelim this past March.
Dooney and Shirvell, meanwhile, shared the Jim Stack Award, which is given each year to the athlete who best personifies Jim Stack '61, the captain of the 1961 Yale track and field team that won the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet, the Ivy League Championships and the IC4As all in the same season. Although it is not standard for the honor to be awarded to two athletes, it is difficult to argue with the team's decision, as Dooney and Shirvell have both provided exceptional leadership and top-tier performances this year.
Shirvell, the team captain, entered the season with high expectations after making it all the way to the NCAA Division I National Championships in the 1,500-meters last year. The Mystic, Conn., native has not disappointed this year, though, shattering Yale's mile run record during the indoor season, finishing fifth in the mile run finals at the indoor Ivy League Heptagonal Championships (Heps), placing first in the 800-meters against Harvard during the outdoor season, competing in the Olympic Development Men's Mile Run at the historic Penn Relays and finishing fourth in the 1,500-meters at outdoor Heps last weekend. Shirvell is currently positioned to earn a 1,500-meter qualifying bid to the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round (which feeds into the NCAA Championships), although no qualifications will be finalized until after the IC4As.
Dooney, for his part, is currently positioned to qualify for the NCAA East Preliminary Round in both the 5,000-meters and 10,000-meters after bursting onto the national scene as a freshman last year. The distance runner from Dublin, Ireland, has rewritten Yale's record books during his first two collegiate seasons, breaking the school's 5,000-meter record and running the second-fastest 3,000-meter and 10,000-meter times in school history. Dooney also doubles as a cross country star, and he competed at the 2013 NCAA Championships (as just the sixth Bulldog to qualify for the event since 1991) and 2013 SPAR European Cross Country Championships as a member of the U-23 Irish national team. Coaches have already identified Dooney as one of Yale's top distance runners in recent memory, and—with two years of collegiate competition remaining—many more great performances likely lie ahead for the sophomore.
Finally, Alexandre received the Lee Calhoun Award, presented annually to an "outstanding member of the Men's and Women's Track and Field Team who excels in Sprinting and/or Hurdling." Calhoun was the head coach of the Yale men's track team from 1975 to 1980 and was also a two-time Olympic medalist and former world record holder in the 110-meter hurdles. Like his teammates, Alexandre earned his award through consistently strong performances this year. The freshman emerged as the team's top sprinter during the indoor season, placing in the top five in every event in which he competed during the regular season before placing second in the 400-meter dash at Heps, earning second team All-Ivy honors and finishing 14th in the 200-meters at the IC4As. Alexandre has had to deal with some minor injuries during the outdoor seasons but has remained a constant threat in the sprints as well as a vital member of the 4x100- and 4x400-meter relay teams. Alexandre currently holds the second-fastest indoor 400-meter personal record and fourth-fastest indoor 200-meter personal record in school history.
Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity