First Bulldog to Qualify in Six Years
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Senior Jeff Perrella will run his final race in Yale uniform at the NCAA National Championships next Monday in Terre Haute, Ind. Perrella placed eighth at the NCAA Northeast Regional last Saturday to notch an automatic qualifying spot for the national meet, which will feature more than 31 teams and 255 runners.
Perrella is the first Bulldog to qualify since Lucas Meyer '05 in 2004. Perrella will try to best Meyer's time of 31:23.9 on the Indiana University course, the fastest time of any Ivy League athlete since 2002. Another goal Perrella will aim for is to place in the top 40 finishers to be named All-American.
Yet head coach Dan Ireland said Perrella was not even sure if he could qualify for the national meet at the beginning of the season.
"It was our goal during the summer, but there were a couple minor setbacks. So when we came into the season, we weren't at the point where we wanted to be," Ireland said.
Nevertheless, Perrella proved he could compete with some of country's best runners with an eighth-place finish at Penn State National. Even though his ninth-place finish at Heptagonals Championships was short of his goal, Perrella came back two weeks later to beat several of the runners who had placed higher at Heptagonals in order to qualify for nationals at the regional meet.
"Anytime you can make it into the NCAAs with over 300 programs competing, it's an incredible thing," Ireland said.
The men's 10K race will kick off at 12:48 p.m. with the awards ceremony at 1:45 p.m. A full list of participants and other meet information is available at NCAA.com. Results will also posted at Yalebulldogs.com and NCAA.com after the meet.
Report by Miriam Cho '13, Yale Sports Publicity