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Yale Hosts Giegengack Invitational

The legendary Yale Track & Field coach, Bob Giegengack
The legendary Yale Track & Field coach, Bob Giegengack

Jan. 30, 2007

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A dozen of the top track and field teams in the northeast will descend on Coxe Cage this weekend, as Yale hosts the second annual Giegengack Invitational. The banks of the two year old "Frank Shorter Track" have proven to be as fast as any oval in the nation and this year's meet should be a showcase for numerous national class performances. Yale's Director of Track and Field Mark Young is excited about the weekend, "We have invited teams who are strong in every event area, with the idea of creating a tremendous competitive atmosphere, while keeping the meet small enough to be manageable. Every event in the meet will have national caliber performers."

Competition kicks off on Friday night at 6:00 PM with the men's and women's weight throw, high jump and long jump. Running events will feature the 5000m for both men and women, the 200-meter dash for men and women and will be capped off by the distance medley relay.

The 200-meter dash and the distance medley look to be particularly exciting events this year. Rob Waters of Rutgers was an NCAA qualifier in the event in 2006 and has been in great form thus far this season, while teammate Joe Porter has been hot on his heels all year. Look for them to square off against Penn's school record holder Grafton Ifill and Yale's newly crowned 200-meter dash record holder Brandon Giles and Russ Kempf. Last year, University of Connecticut's women took five of the top six spots in the 200-meter dash with five freshmen. Look for Brown's women along with Katrina Castille of Yale to give them some competitive races on Friday night.

Friday night culminates with the distance medley relay, an event which last year saw six teams dip under the NCAA qualifying standard. The women's race will feature perennial middle distance power Georgetown University squaring off against Ivy League schools Brown, Penn and the host Yale along with ACC power, Boston College. The men's race brings together Georgetown (fourth at the 2006 Indoor NCAA's in the event), La Salle (with anchor Sean Quigley, a 4:02 miler) and the host Bulldogs all vying for spots at the NCAA championship in Arkansas.

Featured events on Saturday include the men's shot put, the women's 800-meter run, both the men's and women's mile and the 4x400-meter relay.

Yale Captain John Langhauser is looking to break Jim Fuchs' legendary 57 year old school record in the shot put on Saturday morning. He came tantalizingly close to the former Olympian and world record holder's mark two weeks ago when Yale hosted Dartmouth and Columbia, missing out by a mere 15 centimeters.

The women's 800-meter run brings together Brown's school record holder and All-American Naja Ferjan, along with Georgetown senior and NCAA qualifier Nana Hanson-Hall, and Penn's duo of Christina Morrison and Jesse Carlin could all battle for NCAA qualifying marks.

Both the men's and women's miles look to be the highlight of the competition on Saturday. Penn's Tim Kaijala has put together some sparkling early season times and along with the Georgetown duo of Matt DeBole and Levi Miller, LaSalle's Quigley and John Butler, Brown's Steven Chaloner and the host Bulldog's Jake Gallagher, Chris Labosky, Murat Kayali and Tadhg O'Callaghan. The women's mile should prove to be just as exciting as it brings together Yale All-American Lindsay Donaldson and Georgetown stars Maggie Infield and Elizabeth Malloy along with BC's Kristen Coon.

If last year's Giegengack 4x400-meter relay is any indication, this year's meet should close with a bang. In 2006, Georgetown, Yale, Penn and Southern Connecticut's men's teams finished within .4 seconds of each other running four abreast for the last 75 meters. The addition of La Salle (who had four athletes break 49.0 this past weekend) and Rutgers to this year's men's field should make for a crackling finish to a great weekend of track and field.

The meet is named in honor of legendary Yale Track and Field Coach Bob Giegengack. In his 29 years at Yale, the USA Track and Field hall-of-famer led the Elis to 183 victories, four IC4A titles, and 13 outdoor and four indoor Heptagonal championships. Teacher, coach, philosopher, tireless storyteller, and international leader in track and field, Bob Giegengack spent more than 40 fruitful, exciting years in a career he loved. Helping talented young people to excel, both in their sport and in their studies, met his highest ideals. He trained his athletes, encouraged them, and taught them strategies for success, always with the goal of mens sana in corpore sano, a healthy mind in a healthy body. From each athlete, he demanded the best effort possible, not just for the sake of individual achievement, but also for the good of the team. Beginning with his high school students at Brooklyn Prep, then at Fordham and Yale, and as an Olympic coach in Melbourne (1956) and Tokyo (1964), "Gieg" worked to fulfill his personal ideals as a teacher, mentor, and competitor. After his retirement in 1976, he coached Yale's first women's team. The Giegengack legacy of talent, devotion, and high ideals lives on at Yale today.