Yale Topples Harvard in Annual Dual Meet

Victor Cheng
Victor Cheng

April 19, 2008

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - At the annual Yale-Harvard dual meet, hosted by Yale this year, the Bulldogs left no doubt that they deserved the win. In fact, Yale dominated Harvard from start to finish, winning 14 out of 19 events, and sweeping four. Under sunny skies, the Bulldogs had good enough conditions (despite some inconvenient wind) to give many convincing performances. The story of the day was senior Victor Cheng's spectacular time of 10.49 in the 100-meter dash, which qualifies him for the NCAA East-Regional meet next month. Despite eclipsing the school-record time of 10.61, however, Cheng's mark is ineligible for the official school record because the tailwind surpassed the limit of 2.0 for the wind index. Not easily disheartened, Yale went on to win the meet with 112 points to Harvard's 50.

Yale started the day off strong with a solo win in the 4x100-meter relay with a time of 42.37, earning five points for the Bulldogs.

In this dual meet setting, each first-place relay earns five points, while individual events award five points, three points, or one point for first, second, and third places, respectively.

The first individual running event of the day, the 3,000-meter steeplechase, was dominated by Joseph Kingsbery and Eric Kerchberger. The Yale seniors led from the start, exchanging the lead during the race. In the end, they dropped the rest of the field, with Kingsbery finishing first in 9:18.71 and Kerchberger right behind, finishing second in 9:20.15.

In the next running event of the day, a pair of Yale juniors made their mark. The field got off to a slow start in the 1,500-meter run, but Jake Gallagher and Murat Kayali picked up the pace in the later stages of the race to garner a convincing 1-2 finish. Gallagher won in 3:52.53, and Kayali took second with a time of 3:53.63, a personal best in the event. In the end, the pair gapped Harvard freshman Dan Chenoweth, an NCAA regional qualifier and Ivy League leader in the 5,000-meter run.

For the third event in a row, the Yale men took the top two spots, taking home a total of eight points in the 100-meter hurdles. Senior Dan O'Brien won the event in 14.57, and sophomore Ted Galligan placed second in 15.21.

In the 400-meter dash, Yale was edged out of another first-place finish, but sophomore David Soiles and freshman Marty Evans still ran impressive races as both managed to break the 49-second barrier for the first time. Soiles placed second in 48.48, dipping under the IC4A-qualifying time of 48.50, and Evans placed third in 48.99.

Yale's dominance in the short sprints was easily recognized in the 100-meter dash, as the Bulldogs placed all five of their runners in front of Harvard's competition. In the most impressive performance of the day, senior Victor Cheng blazed to victory in 10.49 seconds, with junior Brandon Giles and sophomore Reynolds Holmes earning points for their respective second and third-place finishes with times of 10.60 and 10.96, both personal best times.

Cheng's winning mark qualifies him for the NCAA East-Regional Championships next month in Fla., making him the third Eli to do so. The personal best for Cheng, however, is somewhat bittersweet: the 2.7 reading on the wind index prevents it from being accepted as the new Yale record. In order for a record to be counted, the wind index must be below 2.0. Cheng faced the same dilemma last weekend as he cruised to a first-place finish at Bucknell in a time of 10.59 with a strong tailwind.

Giles' mark this weekend of 10.60 also surpassed the former record of 10.61, which he set in 2005.

Any residual disappointments didn't show later though, as Cheng and Giles again went 1-2 in a Bulldog-heavy 200-meter dash. Despite the wind, Cheng's first place time of 21.66 was under the IC4A standard. Giles took second in 21.93 and Evans returned after the 400-meter dash to place third with a time of 22.50.

The 800-meter run produced Yale's third sweep of the day, as Bulldogs took the top four spots. The men got out to a quick first lap, but sophomore Chris Labosky took the lead just over halfway through and didn't look back, finishing first in a season-best 1:51.48, which also qualifies him for the IC4A championships. Rounding out the scoring, seniors Matt Bordoni and Tadhg O'Callaghan placed second and third with times of 1:52.95 and 1:53.09, respectively.

Yale's fourth and final sweep in the scoring came in the triple jump. After winning the pole vault (4.75m) earlier in the day, sophomore Eric DePalo came back to win the triple jump with a mark of 13.09m. Freshman Stephen Paquin placed second with 12.47m, and Holmes took third with a 12.46m jump.

Holmes won the long jump earlier in the day with an IC4A-qualifying leap of 7.13m.

The Bulldogs also saw plenty of success in the throws, highlighted by 1-2 finishes in the javelin throw and the shot put from the contributions of four juniors. Kevin Hickenbottom placed first in the javelin with his throw of 56.20m and Jackson Womack came in second with 52.02m. In the shot put, Jeffrey Lachman won with his throw of 15.53m, and Nathan Noll placed second with 15.43m.

Noll went on to win the discus with a throw of 47.94m and take third in the hammer with a mark of 52.27m.

Other contributions to the scoring came from the second place finishes by Galligan in the 400-meter hurdles (56.12) and junior Samuel Fox in the high jump (1.93m).

The Bulldogs closed the meet with a true showing of competitiveness in the final event of the day, the 4x400-meter relay. After getting the baton about 15 meters behind the Crimson, sophomore David Soiles powered through the last leg of the relay to catch Harvard's anchor near the line, amidst a charged atmosphere of athletes from both schools lining the track to cheer their teammates on to the finish. The relay (Evans, Bordoni, Christopher Smitson, Soiles) took the win, finishing in a season-best time of 3:16.78, which meets IC4A qualifying-standard.

Up next on the Bulldogs' schedule are the famous Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Penn. A select group of Elis will compete at the meet, which begins on Thurs. April 24th. Some of these athletes will also compete at the Yale Springtime Invitational on Sun. April 27th, joining other members on the team across all events. These two meets will serve as the final tune-ups before the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships, hosted by Yale, on May 10-11th.

Report by Bevin Peters '09, Yale Sports Publicity