NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale men's track and field team competed strongly at the first home meet of the season on Saturday – the annual Harvard-Yale competition. While the Bulldogs were beaten 95-68, they showed clear improvement from the indoor season across the events and should leave the track with the belief that they can close the gap at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships at Princeton in three-weeks time.
This meet was of unique significance as it served as the qualifier for the combined Harvard-Yale team which tours the British Isles for two weeks every four years; every athlete gets one chance to qualify in their college career. The team of approximately 30 men will be announced on Monday, however athletes knew as they toed the line that first place in their event guaranteed them a seat on the plane.
The day began with the 4x100m relay, in which the Yale team of Ekrem Ayhan, Kyle Macauley, Juma Sei and Vincent Vaughns won in a time of 41.19. They were quickly followed by Robert Miranda and Harrison Smith running in their second 3,000m steeplechase. Miranda wrote himself onto the Yale all-time top 15 list with a strong second-place finish in a new personal record of 9.14.53, while Smith placed fourth in 9.37.46.
Next up was the hotly-anticipated 1500m run. The Bulldogs controlled the race from gun to tape, with Nick Dahl kicking away boldly with 800m to go and holding off Allen Siegler in second place to win in 3.49.71. The men's distance team continued a great day with Cameron Wyman placing second in the 800m in 1.54.23, and Jonathan Lomogda also taking runner-up in the 5000m in 14.45.54. They both drew points off Harvard in the distance events.
Meanwhile, on either side of the track, the field events were reaching their climaxes. In a fierce pole vault competition, Austin Laut broke the school record by vaulting 5.31m (17' 5") to take second while Jimmy Shih finished third in the long jump with 6.72m (22' 0.75"), followed by Darius Jing at 6.59m (21' 7.5"). Shih returned to the runway to leap himself to second in the triple jump with a mark of 14.53m (47' 8"). In the throwing events, Jack Dunn and Andrew Rochon competed fantastically. Dunn won the hammer with a new personal record of 52.99m (173' 10"), whereas Rochon placed second. Rochon then placed fourth in the discus, third in the javelin and third in the shot put to round out a solid-day's work.
In the sprints, Sei ran 47.96 to place runner-up in the 400m dash, followed closely by Ayhan in 48.11. The Bulldogs then showed their depth in the 100m dash, sweeping the top four positions with Vaughns taking first with a time of 10.61, followed by Phil Zuccaro in 10.85. Continuing their busy day, they moved on to the 200m dash in which the Bulldogs took six of the first seven places, with Vaughns once again winning, this time in 21.33, followed by Ayhan in third with a 21.47, a new personal best. In the 400m hurdles Jackson Chapman placed third in 56.50, while CJ McCord won the high jump with 1.97m (6' 5.5").
The afternoon was completed with the ever-exciting 4x400m relay, in which the Bulldogs took second and third. As the Bulldogs look toward the Mark Young Invitational at home next weekend and the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships beyond, they should take confidence in the depth and improvement they showed.
Results from today can be found here.
Report by Zachary Capello '19, Yale Sports Publicity