Bulldogs Gear up for Indoor Heptagonal Championship

Brandon Giles (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Brandon Giles (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Feb. 26, 2009

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - As the indoor track season winds down, the Bulldogs are gearing up for their biggest meet of the season so far: the Indoor Heptagonal Championship, or "the Heps." This Ivy League championship meet will be held at Harvard's Gordon Track in Cambridge, Mass. on Saturday and Sunday, Feb.28-Mar.1. The Bulldogs will bring a squad with strengths across a wide range of events, and will look to build upon last year's strong third-place finish.

Last year at Indoor Heps, Yale finished third with 58 points, behind only Cornell and Princeton. This was the highest men's team finish for Yale at this meet since 1991. The Bulldogs have already defeated Dartmouth, Columbia and Harvard in league competition earlier this season, and they hope to continue this success in the post-season.

While two of Yale's top performers in the short sprints, Victor Cheng '08 (second in the 60-meter dash last year at Indoor Heps) and Dan O'Brien `08 (third in the 60-meter hurdles last year at Indoor Heps), have graduated, the Bulldogs still have a slew of returning Heps scorers, in addition to a group of newcomers.

In the fields events, the Bulldogs have plenty of veteran Heps scorers. Junior Eric DePalo was second in the pole vault at indoor Heps last year; outdoors, he was Heps champion and an NCAA qualifier in the event. Also performing well in the jumps are junior Reynolds Holmes (fourth in the long jump last year) and senior Samuel Fox (fifth in the high jump last year). Senior Jeffrey Lachman returns as one Yale's top throwers after placing fourth in both the weight throw and the shot put last year.

While the Bulldogs' sprints do not have any returning Heps scorers, they have plenty of outstanding Ivy League performances so far this year. Senior Brandon Giles, this year's captain, is ranked first in the Ivy League with his time of 6.87 in the 60-meter dash, and he is also ranked second in the 200-meter dash. Holmes is also ranked top-ten in both events, and sophomore Marty Evans is ranked seventh in the 200m dash.

In the longer sprints, watch for juniors Remi Ray and David Soiles, who are both ranked top-three in the league for the 500-meter dash. At the BU Terrier Classic in January, Ray set a new Yale record of 1:02.09, beating the old record of 1:02.43 set by Olympian Larry Miller in 1986. Ray's time in nearly 1.5 seconds faster than the next fastest time in the league this year. Soiles ranks third in the Ivies in the event with a time of 1:04.02.

The middle distances could be a source of points for the Bulldogs as well. Senior Jared Bell is currently ranked sixth in the 3,000-meter run and ninth in the mile run; last year, he was fifth in the mile run, and a member of the 4x800-meter relay team that placed second. Fellow senior Murat Kayali has also been running well this season, and is currently ranked eighth in the 1,000-meter run and seventh in the mile run. Also watch for other scorers from last year's indoor Heps: junior Chris Labosky (fifth in the 1,000-meter run and anchor of the second-place 4x800m) and senior Jake Gallagher (third in the 3000m run).

All three of Yale's relays could be in contention for a top-three spot. In the 4x400-meter relay, Yale's team is ranked third, with the top-three teams being separated by a mere 0.3 seconds.

Event information, Heps records, and previews for every Ivy team can be found on the Ivy League Heps Track & Field Blog.

The majority of Saturday's events will be preliminary heats, with the women competing in the morning session, and the men competing in the afternoon session. A few men's finals will also take place on Saturday: the weight throw (1:30 p.m.), pole vault (2:30 p.m.), long jump (3:30 p.m.) and the 3,000-meter run (6:10 p.m.). The men's running events will start at 4:00 with the 60-meter hurdle prelims. A complete schedule of events for the two-day meet can be found here.

Results will be posted on www.yalebulldogs.com after each day of competition.

Report by Bevin Peters '09, Yale Sports Publicity