March 18, 2009
IRVINE, Calif. - This weekend, the Bulldogs will kick off their outdoor track season in sunny Southern California at the Spring Break Collegiate Invitational. The meet is hosted by UC-Irvine, and will take place Friday and Saturday, Mar. 20-21. The Bulldogs have already been putting in hard training in Irvine for the past week, and will have one final chance to take advantage of the favorable weather for competition before returning to New Haven on Sunday.
Less than two weeks ago, the Bulldogs finished off the indoor track season at the IC4A Championships in Boston. It marked the end of a solid season which saw the Bulldogs place fourth at the indoor Heptagonal Championships despite the absence of senior Brandon Giles, a key contributor in the sprints who ran the fastest 60-meter dash time in the Ivy League this past season.
The return from injury of key members like Giles should bolster the Bulldogs' performance this outdoor season. The Bulldogs could also benefit from the addition of new events for the outdoor season, including the 4x100-meter relay.
Yale's 4x100m relay team should be a force to be reckoned with this season. Last year, the team of junior Reynolds Holmes, Victor Cheng '08, sophomore Marty Evans, and Giles won Heps in the relay, running the third-fastest time in Yale history (40.90) to edge out Cornell by two hundredths of a second.
Outdoor throwing events could also net a significant amount of points for the Bulldogs this outdoor season. In the discus throw, seniors Jeffrey Lachman and Nathan Noll have been top performers in both the league and the region. Lachman finished fifth at the NCAA East Regional meet, and 21st at Nationals, in the discus. Noll finished 10th at Regionals in the discus, and was also the Heps Champion last outdoor season. Another senior, Kevin Hickenbottom, has been a Regional qualifier in the javelin.
Junior Ted Galligan will also benefit from the new outdoor events, as he specializes in the 400-meter hurdles, which is not run indoors. He has scored at Heps in this event for the past two years, and will look to improve on his third-place Heps finish in 2007.
The 3,000-meter steeplechase is another event being added to the outdoor repertoire, and will be contested by several up-and-coming distance runners including sophomore Matt Bogdan.
Several other athletes could be significant contributors this season as well.
In the distance events, look for the senior trio of Jared Bell, Jake Gallagher and Murat Kayali, who were top performers during the past indoor season. All three seniors, in addition to junior Chris Labosky, ran on the 4x800-meter relay team that placed second at indoor Heps. Labosky ran sub-1:50 in the 800-meter run last outdoor season, qualifying for NCAA Regionals while clocking the fastest time in that event by a Yale runner since 1991. Also watch for sophomore Max Walden in the longer distances; he recently placed sixth at the indoor IC4A Championships, running the fifth-fastest indoor 5,000-meter run in Yale history.
Also look for big contributions in the jumps from junior Eric DePalo and senior Samuel Fox. DePalo was the outdoor Heps Champion in the pole vault last year, and also a qualifier for the NCAA Championships with his impressive vault of 5.11 meters. Fox placed third at indoor Heps a few weeks ago with a personal-best mark of 2.08 meters in the high jump, which was only one half of an inch off of the Yale indoor record.
With a team packed full of talent, the Bulldogs have the potential for a great outdoor season this year. The first test of the year at the UCI Spring Break Invite should be an exciting way to build momentum for the rest of the season.
The first event of the day will be the hammer throw; the women's hammer will start at 2:00 p.m., and will be followed by the men's hammer. The first men's running event is the 1,500-meter run at 6:40 p.m., which will be followed by the 3,000-meter run and the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Saturday's competition will begin at 10:30 a.m. with the javelin throw. A complete schedule of events can be found here.
Report by Bevin Peters '09, Yale Sports Publicity