March 22, 2009
IRVINE, Calif. - Friday and Saturday Mar. 20-21, the Bulldogs had one last chance to enjoy the California weather at the end of a ten-day long training trip in Irvine which marked the beginning of the outdoor track season. But instead of soaking up the sun at the beach, the Bulldogs were hard at work competing at the UC-Irvine Spring Break Collegiate Invitational. Their training seems to be paying of already, however, as three athletes qualified for the NCAA East Regional Championships in their first outdoor competition of the year. Senior Jared Bell put up a qualifying mark in the 1,500-meter run on Friday night, which was followed by qualifying marks on Saturday from freshman Thaddeus Diamond in the javelin throw and senior Jeffrey Lachman in the discus throw.
Bell, a Los Angeles native out of Harvard-Westlake HS, won the 1,500-meter run in 3:47.08, which is less than a second under the NCAA Regional qualifying-standard of 3:47.80. Junior Chris Laboksy paced the race through the first 1,200 meters, after which Bell surged ahead to win the race. As of Friday evening, Bell's was the fastest collegiate time in the country. Only two other collegiate athletes in the entire country--Emil Heineking of Virginia and Miles Batty of BYU--managed to run faster than Bell (3:46) over the weekend.
Another Los Angeles native (and high school teammate of Bell's)--senior Jeffrey Lachman--also had an impressive weekend. Lachman won the hammer throw on Friday afternoon with a personal-best mark of 54.43 meters (178-07), which moves Lachman up to No. 9 on Yale's all-time outdoor performance list. Saturday, he came back to place third in the shot put with a personal-best throw of 16.06 meters (52-08.25), which is No. 11 all-time outdoors. Not long after that, Lachman won the discus throw with an NCAA-Regional qualifying-mark of 52.31 meters (171-07).
Not to be outdone, former captain John Langhauser '07 won the shot put while competing unattached, throwing 16.69 meters (54-09.25). Langhauser still holds both the Yale indoor and outdoor records in this event.
Senior Nathan Noll also performed well in the throws, earning second-place behind Lachman in both the hammer throw (51.54 meters, 169-01) and the discus throw (48.35 meters, 158-07).
But the surprise story of the day was freshman Thaddeus Diamond's stunning debut for Yale Track & Field in the javelin throw. In his first attempt, and while competing in the Yale uniform for the first time, Diamond threw an outstanding personal-best by almost 6 meters. His mark of 62.10 meters (203-09) earned him second place in the meet. This mark, which is No. 11 all-time for Yale, was also good enough to earn him a spot at the NCAA Regionals in June.
Senior Kevin Hickenbottom also competed well, placing fifth in the javelin throw with a mark of 55.62 meters (182-06).
The distance squad had a good showing from some of its younger members. Sophomore Matt Bodgan placed second in the 3,000 meter steeplechase with a time of 9:34.10, and freshman Nathan Richards finished fifth in 9:39.53, making his debut in the challenging event. Freshman Jake McKenzie placed seventh in the 3,000-meter run in 8:38.68.
In the middle-distances junior Remi Ray, who usually runs the 400 meter dash, made a guest appearance in the 800 meter run, placing eighth overall in 1:54.87. Fellow junior Chris Labosky also held down the middle distances, winning the Saturday section of the 1,500-meter run in 3:53.22 after taking the lead in the final 300 meters.
Junior Ted Galligan made his season debut in his signature event, placing seventh overall in the 400 meter hurdles with a time of 54.95.
Yale's two relays also made solid debuts. The 4x100 meter relay placed fourth in 42.73, and the 4x400 meter relay was fifth in 3:15.68.
Upon returning to New Haven, the Bulldogs will have another two weeks before they're back on the track for a busy weekend April 3-4, splitting the squad to compete at the Princeton Invitational in Princeton, N.J. and the Colonial Relays in Williamsburg, Va.
Report by Bevin Peters '09, Yale Sports Publicity