2016 Lands in New Haven Ready to Make Waves

The Yale men's cross country team. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
The Yale men's cross country team. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

New Arrivals Will Have Immediate Impact for Bulldogs

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale cross country and track and field teams are thrilled to be welcoming one of the deepest freshman classes in recent memory. With academics underway, the class of 2016 is settling in to life at Yale and eagerly awaiting its first taste of collegiate competition. With their arrival, the cross country team adds nine names to its roster and the track and field team adds 12.

By all accounts, the freshmen are an extremely accomplished group. The following is a glimpse at their high school athletic achievements:

Ahmad Aljobeh completed the conference, sectional and regional championship trifecta in the 3200-meter run, and went on to attain All-State honors. He was also All-State in cross country in 2010, and in 2011 was awarded the IHSAA Mental Attitude Award. He holds several individual school records and several more as a member of relay teams.

Will Wilde Botta was a four-year state qualifier in cross country – twice individually and twice with his team. He was elected captain as a sophomore, a title he held for three years, and was the CIF San Diego Division champion for each of them, twice placing 4th at the state championships. In track, Botta owns school records in both the 1600-meter and 3200-meter runs, and was team captain for two years as an upperclassman.

Alex Conner competed in the state meets for both cross country and track and field (3200-meter run), finishing 6th in the former and 20th in the latter. He was a mainstay on the All-Area team for both track and cross country and was also named to the All-Norcal team in cross country. Conner was the cross country team captain and holds the school record in the 3200-meter run.

Kevin Dooney, brother of recent graduate Conor Dooney '12, was the All-Ireland Schools cross country champion and 5000-meter run champion in 2012. He went on to represent Ireland at the World Junior Track and Field Championships in the 10,000-meter run this summer in Barcelona, and previously represented his home nation at the European Cross Country Championships in 2010 and 2011.

Hurdler Adam Lundquist was a three-time Sonoma County League champion and two-time Redwood Empire Area champion in both the 110-meter high hurdles and 300-meter intermediate hurdles. He was an All-Redwood Empire selection all four years of his high school career, and holds the conference record in the 55- and 60-meter high hurdles and the third-fastest 110-meter high hurdles time in conference history. Lundquist is listed on school records in the 55-, 60- and 110-meter high hurdles, the 300- and 400-meter intermediate hurdles, the 600-yard dash, and 4x100-meter relay.

John Mahoney captained his high school track and cross country teams and also the 2012 North II Group I sectional championship team. A four-time individual sectional state champ, he was named First Team All-Group in 2012. Mahoney owns individual school records in the 800- and 1600-meter runs and is a part of seven others.

Alexander McDonald was All-League in the 55-meter high hurdles and 300- and 400-meter intermediate hurdles. As captain of the track and field team, he led his 4x800-meter relay team to a state championship and a 6th-place finish at Nationals.

Pete Merritt competes in the high jump and runs the 400- and 800-meter runs. During his senior year, he went undefeated in the latter event and anchored the 14th-fastest 4x800-meter relay team in the nation. A two-year track captain, Merritt was named the Baltimore Sun track athlete of the year in 2012.

As team captain, Max Payson led his cross country team to an undefeated season and a NEPSTA Division I championship his senior year. He was also the captain of the track team and an individual NEPSTA champ in the 1500-meter run.

Two-time state champion Brendan Sullivan set a mark of 16 feet in the pole vault that currently stands as a Massachusetts state record. In 2012, he proceeded to add a New England championship to his medal collection. Sullivan was also the state runner-up in the 55-meter high hurdles.

Martin Tolentino has been competing on the national scene since his mid-teens. His 4x100-meter relay team placed 4th at the 2009 USATF National Youth Outdoor Championships and 7th at the 2009 Junior Olympics Outdoor National Championships. In 2011, he won the 55-meter dash at the USATF National Youth Indoor Championships and his 4x100-meter team finished in the top 8 at the Junior Olympics Outdoor National Championships.

2012 CIF/Farmers Scholar-Athlete of the Year Duncan Tomlin is not only quick on his feet, but in the water and on wheels as well. Tomlin won his age group at both the San Diego ITU Olympic Distance Triathlon and the San Diego International Triathlon. On the track, he placed 6th overall and first in Division II in the 3200-meter run at the CIF sectional championships, and also finished 9th at the cross country state meet.

The cross country team received significant contributions from the freshman in its opening day victory at the Fordham Fiasco meet. The team hosts Harvard this Friday. Meanwhile, the track and field team anxiously awaits the Yale Season Opener in December.

Report by Eian Katz '13, Yale Sports Publicity