Bulldogs Launch Indoor Competition: 2008-2009 Season Outlook

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

Dec. 5, 2008

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - This Saturday, the Bulldogs will kick-off the 2008 track season by hosting the Yale Season Opener at Coxe Cage. The meet will commence at 9:00 a.m. with the weight throw. The first men's running event will be the 5,000-meter run at 11:40 a.m. Buses will be available to transport spectators to Coxe Cage, and will be leaving Payne Whitney Gym every 15 minutes. The Bulldogs look forward to kicking-off another successful season.

2008-2009 Season Outlook
Expectations run high for the 2008 - 2009 Yale Men's Track and Field team. After last year's impressive results, which included third-place finishes at both the indoor and outdoor Heptagonal Championships, the Bulldogs will look to build upon the successes of the past with the goal of improving their league standings. Indoors, the men earned their highest team finish at Heps since 1991. The outdoor season was even more successful, with 10 Yale men earning All-East honors at the IC4A Championships, 10 athletes qualifying for the NCAA East Regional Championships and two of them advancing to the NCAA National Championship.

As always the Yale Track and Field team will be a force to be reckoned with in every event discipline. The Yale program has prided itself on turning out solid all-around teams and the 2008-2009 season should be no different, with returning Ivy champions in the pole vault and discus throw, and a solid corps of returning point scorers in every other event.

Sprints and Hurdles -- Over the last 15 years the sprints and hurdles have been one of the foundations of Bulldog Track and Field success. Despite the graduation of standout Victor Cheng `08, who won both the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash events at outdoor Heps and set school records in both the indoor 60-meter dash and the outdoor 100m, there a deep pool of sprinting talent left on the Bulldogs' roster. Senior Brandon Giles will lead the sprints group, in addition to leading the team as captain for the 2008-2009 season. The former record holder in the 100m with a time of 10.61, Giles was the 2005 Heps champion in the 100m, and placed fourth in the event last season. Giles also anchored the 2008 Heps-winning 4x100-meter relay, which clocked a 40.90 -- the third-fastest time in Yale history; three of the four members will return to the track this season to defend their title. Also in the short sprints, sophomore Nathan Molina has shown improvement over his first year, and has the potential to make a greater contribution to Yale's sprinting success this season. Juniors David Soiles, Ted Galligan and Remi Ray will lead the way in the longer sprints. Soiles ran a personal best 48.40 in the 400-meter final at outdoor Heps, and was the anchor of the 4x400-meter relay last season. Galligan, who specializes in the hurdles, placed in the top six in the 400-meter hurdles at Heps each of the past two years and holds a personal best of 53.33 in the event. While Ray was hindered by injuries in his first two years at Yale, he still managed to break the Yale freshman record in the indoor 500-meter dash. With a personal best of 48.1 in the 400m, Ray's return to competition will contribute significantly to Yale's performance in the longer sprints. Sophomore Marty Evans, the youngest member of the Heps-winning 4x100m relay and the 4x400m relay last year, will also be a key member of the sprints squad this season.

Middle-Distance -- After an outstanding finish to the 2008 season, junior Chris Labosky will lead the charge for Yale in the middle-distance events. A Heps finalist last year in the indoor 1,000-meter run and the outdoor 800-meter run, Labosky ran the fastest 800m time of any Yale runner since 1991, clocking 1:49.48 at outdoor IC4As to move up to No. 7 on Yale's all-time performance list. He will be the top returnee in the Ivy League for this event. The Bulldogs will also look for leadership from senior John Hinkle, a member of the All-East Distance Medley Relay during the indoor season, and a consistent performer during the recent cross-country season. The middle distance squad, along with select members from the distance group, looks poised to continue the strong relay tradition that Yale has established over the past decade. Indoors, the 4x800-meter relay placed second at Heps, and then went on to break the 18-year old school record en route to a second-place finish at the IC4A Championships. The 4x800m relay, which will return three of four members, earned All-East honors again with a fourth-place finish at IC4As.

Distance -- A trio of seniors will lead a talented distance squad with a tremendous range. 2008 cross-country captain Jake Gallagher has consistently led the distance men in Ivy competition, finishing third at Heps in the indoor 3,000-meter run last year after running a personal best 8:12 earlier in the season; he also clocked a personal best of 3:46 in the 1,500-meter run to qualify for NCAA Regionals. From scoring at Heps in the 5,000-meter run in 2007 to running on the record-breaking 4x800m relay, Gallagher's ability will place him among the top athletes in the league. After Jared Bell's impressive 3:44 in the 1,500m last spring -- one of the fastest times in the league last year and No. 2 all-time for Yale -- look for Bell to improve upon his fifth-place finish in the mile run at indoor Heps, making an impact in both the individual events and the relays. As the top returnee in the Ivy League for the 1,500m, Bell will be a key contender for the Heps title during his senior season. Also, don't overlook the potential of Murat Kayali to break into the ranks of Heps scorers, after placing second in the mile at the indoor IC4A Championships with a personal best time of 4:07. Junior Kevin Brown, who placed sixth in the mile at indoor Heps, will also add depth to this group. In addition to these seasoned veterans, the distance squad will draw strength from the new talent added to the team this year. Freshman Julian Sheinbaum was one of the nation's top high school milers last year, and has run 4:11 for the mile and 9:01 in the 3,200-meter run. Fellow freshman Conor Dooney, the Irish Junior Champion in the 3,000m in 2007, will strengthen the Bulldogs' presence in the 5,000m and 10,000m events. Another new face for the Bulldogs, junior transfer Jeff Perrella (formerly of William & Mary) brings with him a personal best of 14:35 in the 5,000m and the potential to boost Yale's presence in the longer distance events.

Jumps -- This group is led by a strong trio of upperclassmen across multiple events. Junior Eric DePalo won the outdoor Heps Championship, improving upon his second-place finish indoors. During the outdoor season, DePalo's personal best of 5.11m earned him a spot at the NCAA East Regionals, where he placed sixth and qualified for the NCAA National Championships for the first time in his career. In the vertical jumps, senior Sam Fox has been a presence in the league with a personal best of 2.07m in the high jump, and placed fourth at indoor Heps and sixth at outdoor Heps last season. Junior Reynolds Holmes has made a huge impact already for the Bulldogs, and placed second at Heps in the long jump outdoors after finishing fourth in the event at indoor Heps. Holmes' outstanding outdoor season was highlighted by a personal best of 24'-3" in the long jump, qualifying him for both IC4As and Regionals. He also ran the lead-off leg for the Heps Champion 4x100m relay. Look for freshman Adam Bao to make an impact in the triple jump early on in his Yale career with his personal best of 45'9". Bao, who started jumping just halfway through his junior year, placed second at the Massachusetts All-State meet in the event.

Throws -- Under the guidance of former Olympian Anna Mahon, the Bulldogs' throws group has grown into a formidable force. After placing fifth at the NCAA East Regionals, senior Jeffrey Lachman placed 21st in the discus throw at his first appearance in the National Championships. Lachman also placed fourth in the shot put indoors and outdoors at Heps, and fourth in the weight throw. Fellow senior Nathan Noll also leads the throws squad; most notably, Noll placed first in discus throw with a personal-best mark of 51.91 meters (170'4"), qualifying for the NCAA regional meet, where he placed 10th. Noll's new mark moves him up to No. 6 on Yale's all-time list. Last season, Noll threw personal best distances in all four throwing events. Also watch for senior Kevin Hickenbottom, who placed fifth at Heps in the javelin throw and owns a personal best of 61.97m in the event.

Report by Bevin Peters '09, Yale Sports Publicity