Bulldogs Show Their Medal At Pan Am Games
Aug. 1, 2007
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil--The Pan American Games concluded on Sunday and four of Yale's eight participants claimed medals at the quadrennial regional championships. Swimmer Alex Righi '09 took home a pair of medals as a member of American relay squads. Righi swam in the preliminaries of the gold medal-winning 4x100 meter medley relay and won a silver with the 4x100 meter freestyle relay team. Yale also won a pair of silver medals in squash. Julian Illingworth '06 won the silver in men's singles competition, while Michelle Quibell '06 took a silver in the women's team event. Andrew Liverman '02 won a silver medal in the men's lightweight double scull.
Righi swam in the preliminaries of both relays. His split of 49.76 seconds in the 4x100 meter freestyle relay was the fourth-fastest split of the preliminaries, but two other Americans had faster times, so Righi did not swim in the finals. Brazil won the gold in the event. In the medley relay, Righi swam the freestyle anchor leg, posting a split of 49.96, the fastest freestyle leg of the prelims. In a 50-meter freestyle time trial, Righi posted a lifetime-best time of 22.98, meeting the qualifying standard for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials.
Illingworth defeated Rodrigo Pezzota of Argentina in the round of 16 and Canada's Shahier Razik in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, he rallied from a two-games-to-one deficit to beat Colombia's Miguel A. Rodriguez, 9-7, 4-9, 8-10, 9-1, 9-6. Already guaranteed of a medal, Illingworth lost to Mexico's Eric Galvez 9-0, 9-4, 9-7 in the final. He avenged the loss to Galvez with a four-game victory over the Mexican in the team competition. The Americans went 1-1 in pool play in the team event, beating El Salvador 2-1 and losing to Mexico 2-1. In the quarterfinals, Brazil eliminated the U.S. with a 2-1 win.
Quibell lost in the quarterfinals of the singles competition to teammate Natalie Granger, the eventual gold medalist. They were joined by Latasha Khan in the team event. In pool play, the Americans posted 3-0 victories over Colombia and El Salvador. Quibell swept Colombia's Silvia Angulo 9-0, 9-0, 9-0, and beat El Salvador's Mariana Pontalti 9-5, 9-1, 9-6. In the semifinals, the United States beat Mexico 3-0. Quibell again won in straight sets, beating Nayelli Hernandez 9-6, 9-2, 9-2. The Americans lost the gold medal match to Canada 2-1, and Quibell was beaten 3-9, 9-2, 9-4, 9-5 by Carolyn Russell.
James Jones, The Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of Men's Basketball, was one of the assistants for the American squad. After losing its first two games, the U.S. team, featuring such players as Georgetown's Roy Hibbert, Michigan State's Drew Neitzel and Indiana's D.J. White, rebounded to finish fifth. The Americans had a 3-2 record, losing to Panama and bronze-medalist Uruguay, and posting victories over Argentina, the Virgin Islands and Panama.
Softball captain Aracelis Torres '08 played for her native Puerto Rico. Rain washed out the first two days of scheduled play, so each team played three round-robin games instead of the originally-scheduled seven. Puerto Rico was in group B with Canada, Venezuela and Argentina, but went 0-3 in pool play. Torres had a base hit in Puerto Rico's 1-0 loss to Brazil in the consolation round.
Three Bulldogs represented the Virgin Islands in Rio. Sophomore sailor Thomas Barrows finished eighth in the laser event with 52 points. His best individual performance in the eight races was a fifth-place finish in race three.
Senior Morgan Locke swam in five events for the Virgin Islands, while his brother Kieran '06 was entered in four. Morgan finished 16th in both the 200 and 400-meter individual medleys. Kieran was 16th in the 200 meter backstroke. The brothers were both members of all three Virgin Islands relay squads. The 4x100 meter medley relay team reached the finals, finishing seventh in a time of 3:59.59. Kieran's leadoff backstroke leg was timed in 59.49 seconds, while Morgan clocked a 58.39 butterfly on the third leg. Kieran turned in a split of 53.17 and Morgan a 53.70 on the second and third legs of the 4x100 meter freestyle relay, which finished ninth in 3:35.06.
Liverman and his doubles partner, Rich Montgomery, finished four seconds behind gold medal-winning Cuba. They will also represent the United States at the 2007 World Championships in Munich.
The Pan American Games are the regional championships of North and South America and the Caribbean, held every four years in the year before the Olympics. The 2011 edition will be in Guadalajara, Mexico.