Bulldogs Look to Freshmen for New Talent
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women’s track and field team is gearing up for the 2009-10 season, and the Bulldogs’ first meet will be the Lidlifter Invitational on Dec. 5, hosted at Yale’s own Coxe Cage. The distance runners will be taking a short break now that cross country championships are all over, but for everyone else the year is just beginning.
The indoor season will include three home meets, which is very exciting for the Bulldogs and for their fans: first the Lidlifter, then the College Invitational Jan. 9, which will be the first meet after winter break. The Giegengack Invitational, Feb. 5 and 6, is the biggest meet, as Yale will host more than 15 teams over two days. Heptagonal Championships will be Feb. 27 and 28 at Dartmouth. The ECAC Championships will be at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston Mar. 6 and 7, and runners who qualify will end the indoor season by compete in the NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., Mar. 12 and 13.
The Bulldogs will compete at the William and Mary Spring Break Invitational as their first foray onto an outdoor track, followed by the Princeton Invitational Apr. 2 and 3. Yale will return to Princeton for the annual Yale-Penn-Princeton meet on Apr. 10. The Bulldogs will travel to compete at the fabled Penn Relays Apr. 22-24, and host two outdoor meets on either side of that: a dual meet with Harvard on Apr. 17 and the annual Springtime Invitational Apr. 25. The outdoor season will conclude with a series of championships, including the Heptagonal Championships on May 8-9 at Princeton, the ECAC Championships May 14-16 at Princeton and then NCAA Regionals May 28-29 in Greensboro, N.C.
The Yale team looks promising heading into the long season, and the Bulldogs are optimistic about what they can achieve.
In addition to relying on the strength of their experienced upperclassmen, Mark Young ’68, the Mark T. Young ’68 Director of Cross Country and Track and Field, said, “We’re really looking for an infusion of talent from the freshman class.”
Sprints and Hurdles
Yale’s sprinters have fresh legs and will be excited to explode onto the scene at the beginning of the season. Sophomore Alexa Monti should do very well in the short sprints. Last year she finished ninth in the 60-meter dash at the Heptagonal Championships, just barely missing the chance to compete in the finals. She is on Yale’s top-ten all-time list for the 200-meter dash for her 26.00 finish. She also finished seventh in the 100-meter dash at the outdoor Heptagonal Championships in the spring, and made Yale’s top ten all-time list with a 12.22 finish earlier in the season. Fellow sophomore Marieme Mbaye is on Yale’s top-ten all-time list for her 12.22 finish in the 100-meter dash.
Freshmen to look out for include Adele Jackson-Gibson, who has a high school best of 11.8 in the 100-meter dash, and 25.2 in the 200-meter dash, which would place her among Yale’s best times. Jackson-Gibson played soccer for Yale this fall.
In the longer sprints, senior Claudia Duncan is the outstanding leader of the pack, after her amazing indoor season last year, when she kept breaking and re-setting the school record in the 500-meter dash. She eventually reached 1:13.31 on the second day of ECAC Championships for fourth place, with the fastest time in the Ivy League. Outdoors, she finished third in the 400-meter dash at Heptagonals with a time of 55.49 to reset the school record.
Duncan will have several people joining her in the 400-meter dash, and Yale should have a good pool to draw from for the 4x400-meter relay, including captain Faith Briggs, who should be coming back into this season with strong times.
Yale might miss last year’s captain, Jennifer Lin ’09, in the hurdles, but freshmen Jenna Poggi and Dakota McCoy will step up to fill her shoes. Poggi will be a force to be reckoned with in the short hurdling events; she was the indoor high school New England 55-meter hurdles champion last year, and was third in short sprints. McCoy will be stepping up for the longer hurdles.
"Initially we were really looking at Jenna as a pole vaulter, but after she won the New England Championship in the 55-meter hurdles and was third in the 55-meter dash we became aware of her hurdling and sprinting ability. We'll definitely be using her in a variety of events," said Coach Young.
Middle Distance and Distance
Yale’s middle-distance team will be lead by All-American junior Kate Grace, who has quite a string of awards to her name. Indoors she is the holder of the school record in the 800-meter run: she ran 2:04.72 at the NCAA Championships last March, where she scored eighth place. She is also on Yale’s all-time top-ten list in the 1,000-meter run and the one mile run. She was the Ivy League Champion in the 800-meter run both indoors and outdoors for All-Ivy recognition. She made it to the semifinal round at the outdoor NCAA Championships in Arkansas in May.
Grace will not be Yale’s only middle distance runner; other people to look out for are senior captain Stephany Reaves and freshmen Caitlin Hudson, Victoria Flannery and Annalies Gamble.
Coach Young said of Annalies Gamble: “She is really more of a short-middle distance runner than a long distance runner; she was second at New Englands last year in the 600-meter run. We don’t run 600 meters often in league competition, but she should be good in either the 400- or 800-meter relays.”
For distance events, the Bulldogs will look to runners such as senior Stephanie Pearl and sophomore Anne Lovelace, as well as sophomore Madeline Adams and senior Alexandra Cadicamo.
According to Coach Young, Lovelace “had a really good start to the steeplechase outdoors last year. Indoor she’ll mostly run 3k. Stephanie Pearl has run under 10:00 in the 3k before, so she will be running too. I’m also excited to have Madeline Adams back after being injured. She will probably compete in the mile.”
Freshmen who have stood out during the cross country season include Elizabeth Marvin and Nihal Kayali, who will probably compete in the mile run on the track.
Yale had some great success last season in the relays, and the Bulldogs hope to continue that. Last year Grace anchored the 4x800-meter relay team that won the Ivy League Championships. Other people who might join her this year include Reaves, Gamble, and Hudson.
The pool to draw from for Yale’s 4x400-meter relay team will most likely include Duncan, sophomore Gabriella Kelly, captain Briggs, Gamble and Grace.
Outdoors, the 4x100 meter relay should also be a strong event for the Bulldogs with contributions from Monti, Mbaye, Jackson-Gibson and others.
The Bulldogs’ jumpers include junior Emily Standish, who tied for seventh in the high jump at Heptagonals in the spring. She is on Yale’s indoor all-time top-ten list for her 5’5.00” high jump, and is also on the outdoor all-time list for the high jump (5’5.75”) and the triple jump. Junior Eve King is another strong jumper, who has made her mark in the high jump, the heptathlon and the pentathlon, making the all-time top-ten list in all three events. Freshman Jackson-Gibson will also be competing in the long jump for Yale; her high school best in the event was 18’10.
Senior Bailey Carroll is Yale’s veteran pole vaulter, making Yale’s all-time top-ten list both indoor (10’10”) and outdoor (10’8”). Junior Eva Uribe is Yale’s other upperclassman pole vaulter. She and Carroll be joined this year by freshman Poggi, who vaulted 12’0” at the National Scholastic Indoor Championships.
Junior Stephanie Scaramella will lead the Bulldog throwing team. She is on Yale’s all-time indoor top-ten list for both the shotput (42’1.25”) and the weight throw (47’9.25”), and is on the all-time outdoor top-ten list for her 138’1” performance in the hammer throw. Junior Rachel Kuschner is Yale’s other steady thrower, with an all-time performance in the discus of 131’0”.
According the Coach Young, throwing coach Anna Mahon “thinks that Stephanie and Rachel are making big progress from last year to this year.”
They will be joined by freshmen Emily Anderberg and Antonia Renker, who should be valuable additions to Yale’s throwing squad.
The Lidlifter Invitational will be hosted by Yale on Dec. 5 at Coxe Cage. More information can be found here.
Report by Kyle Eichner '12, Yale Sports Publicity