June 1, 2006
Jihad Beauchman (San Jose, CA - High Jump) and Kevin Alexander (Birmingham, AL - 400-Meter Dash) have had stellar seasons so far and have moved on to the next level of competition. Next week they will head to the A.G. Spanos Sports Complex in Sacramento, where the 2006 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships will be held. The top five finishers in each individual event at the NCAA East Regional Track Meet are given an automatic bid, while others still have a chance for the at large bid, depending on their best mark for the season.
Alexander received an at large bid for his 46.26 performance at Heps in the 400-meter dash. This time puts him at 29th out of 120 competitors. Beauchman received an automatic bid for his stunning second place finish at the NCAA East Regional in the high jump at a height of 2.11 meters. His best this season has been 2.13 meters and this puts him at 31st out of 85 possible contenders at nationals.
In his four years at Yale, Beauchman has always been the team's best triple and high jumper. He currently holds the school record in the high jump both indoors (2.09 meters) and outdoors (2.13 meters), and in the triple jump indoors (15.35 meters). He also owns the second farthest distance in the triple jump outdoors (15.24 meters). He showed his versatility when he began running on the 4x400-meter relay team last year and really made an impact on the relay team this year. Behind Alexander, he was the next fastest leg, splitting in the 47s to help Yale to a Heps crown with a time of 3:10.84. This time was second fastest in school history and the fastest a Yale team has ever run at Heps.
Last year, Beauchman barely missed qualifying for the NCAA Championship in the high jump.
"I was determined to put in the extra work during the summer, fall and winter to make sure I made it this year," Beauchman said. "Finishing second at regionals was a satisfying moment, realizing that the hard work day-in and day-out had paid off."
"He still has yet to reach his potential," said head coach David Shoehalter.
Alexander has also surpassed everyone's expectations. When he first walked into the track office as a freshman to ask if he could join the team as a walk-on, no one knew of his potential, including himself. He ran under 50 in the 400-meter dash for the first time his sophomore year at Harvard-Yale indoors.
"I was really pumped after that," said Alexander.
His junior year, he ran 47 for the first time and split 46 on the 4x400-meter relay. He was also second leg on the 4x100-meter relay team both his junior and senior years, helping the team win Heps both times and post a time of 40.92, which is fourth fastest in school history. This year, he placed second at Heps in the 400-meter dash with a time of 46.26, which is second fastest in school history. He also anchored the same winning 4x400 relay team that Beauchman was on, splitting 45.8 for a come-from-behind victory.
"It didn't feel that fast," said Alexander of his relay split.
"I'm really excited to have a chance to run with good competition," Alexander said of his trip to the NCAAs. "It's a great way to end my four years at Yale."
Competition begins next Wednesday.
Report by Victor Cheng '08, Yale Sports Publicity