May 10, 2008

Yale in Fourth Place after Day One of the Heptagonal Championships

May 10, 2008

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. - At the close of the first day of competition at the Outdoor Heptagonal Championships, the Bulldogs are in fourth place with a score of 24 points, trailing Cornell (50), Princeton (48) and Dartmouth (26). But the score hardly does enough justice to the strong showing by Yale's athletes today, which included four regional-qualifying performances and a win in the pole vault by sophomore Eric DePalo. The two-day meet, held on Yale's Dwyer Track, will conclude on Sunday.

DePalo vaulted 4.95m in the pole vault, brining in ten points for the Bulldogs with his win. By virtue of winning the Heptagonal Championships, he also earned an automatic bid to compete at the NCAA regional meet. Also securing a spot at the NCAA regional meet at the end of the month was sophomore Reynolds Holmes, who placed second in long jump with a personal-best leap of 7.39 meters (wind-aided), moving up to No. 7 on Yale's all-time outdoor performance list.

The other point contributors in the first day of the meet were juniors Kevin Hickenbottom and Jeffrey Lachman. Hickenbottom placed fifth in javelin throw with a distance of 59.37 meters, and Lachman took fourth in the shot put with a personal-best effort of 16.02 meters.

Yale also saw significant performances in the preliminary running heats. Senior Victor Cheng and junior Brandon Giles were the top qualifiers of the day in the 100-meter dash, both running faster than Yale's school record. Cheng's personal-best time of 10.39 in the race was also under the regional-qualifying standard of 10.55. But because the wind speed measurements were above the legal limit of 2.0 meters per second (Cheng's race had a wind of +2.9 m/s and Giles' race had +2.2m/s), the new records will not stand. This is the third time this season that Cheng has been denied the new record due to wind measurements after running faster than the current record of 10.61.

Cheng and Giles returned in the 200-meter dash later in the day, with Cheng once again qualifying for the NCAA regional meet. Both athletes ran personal best times (with legal wind), with Cheng's time (21.33) moving up to No. 7 on the all-time list, and Giles' time (21.48) moving him up to No. 9. Cheng's time was also the fastest time ever run by a Yale athlete on the Dwyer Track (the former record was 21.48, set by Nigel Malcom in 1996).

Yale had two athletes qualify for the finals in the 1,500-meter run, with juniors Jake Gallagher and Murat Kayali posting times of 3:54.51 and 3:51.56, respectively. Gallagher's time was good enough to win his heat, and Kayali ran a personal best and IC4A-qualifying time. Other qualifiers for tomorrow's finals are sophomores David Soiles (49.04, 400-meter dash), Ted Galligan (54.42, 400-meter hurdles) and Chris Labosky (1:52.06, 800-meter run).

Tomorrow's competition will begin at 11:00 a.m with the men's triple jump. The first men's running event will be the 400-meter relay, which begins at 11:50 a.m. Buses will be available to transport spectators to the track, leaving Payne Whitney Gym every fifteen minutes.

Report by Bevin Peters '09, Yale Sports Publicity