November 13, 2010

Perrella Qualifies for NCAA Nationals

Bulldogs Finish Eleventh as a Team

MADISON, Conn. – Senior Jeff Perrella became the first Bulldog in six years to qualify for the NCAA National Championships at the regional meet on Saturday. Yale co-hosted the meet with Fairfield on a new course at Hammonassett State Park with more than 38 teams competing. The Bulldogs finished eleventh overall with 304 points. 

Perrella, nicknamed the "The Quiet Storm" by his teammates, led most of the race for the first two miles but dropped back to eleventh with 400 meters to go. In the last 200 meters, he passed Columbia's Tom Poland to place eighth and clinch the last automatic qualifying spot. Junior Julian Sheinbaum also ran strong, placing 42nd in 31:14.0. Junior Nathan Richards spliced his foot early in the race but still finished in 73rd (31:46.5). Senior captain Max Walden came in next in 84th place (31:55.6), followed by sophomore Demetri Goutos in 97th place (32:07.9) and sophomore Kevin Lunn in 133rd place (32:42.4). Head coach Dan Ireland said several runners had side stitches that hindered the team from placing in the top 10, but overall, the Bulldogs left the meet on a positive note.

"It was a tough day, but Jeff's performance gave the other guys a lift, that they could accomplish the same thing," Ireland said.

The Bulldogs also defeated Harvard by one place, a reversal of the team results at Heptagonals Championships two weeks ago. No. 14 Syracuse upset No. 4 Iona by taking the team title with 56 points. 

Perrella's qualification is no small feat as the last Bulldog to compete in the national meet was Lucas Meyer in 2004.

"That was going to be (Perrella's) last race in Yale uniform, but now he has another week," Ireland said.

The top two teams and the next four individuals at the regional meet automatically qualify for the national meet on Nov. 22 at Terre Haute, Ind. A list of qualifiers, including at-large selections, will be posted on the NCAA.com by 7:00 p.m. on Nov. 14.

Report by Miriam Cho '13, Yale Sports Publicity