Last Home Meet of Indoor Season to Provide Good Competition
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - This Friday and Saturday Yale will host the annual Giegengack Invitational at Coxe Cage. The meet draws many NCAA Division I schools from around the area, and is always an exciting precursor to the championship season. The Yale women's track and field team is ready to show what they can do on their home track.
The Bulldogs last competed at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games on Jan. 29, hosted by Northeastern University. Highlights of that meet included All-American junior Kate Grace's ECAC-qualifying win in the mile run (4:56.34), and freshman Adele Jackson-Gibson's second-place finish in the 55-meter dash (7.24).
The Giegengack is a stepping-stone to the championship season; like the Heptagonals Championship and the ECAC Championship, the meet is two days long.
The Bulldogs will face some of the toughest competition they will see all season. The visitors include Ivy League rival Brown, Central Connecticut State, Colgate, Fordham, La Salle, Monmouth, New Haven, Providence, Rutgers, Sacred Heart, Southern Connecticut State, St. Joseph's, Stony Brook, UConn and UMass-Amherst.
Many Bulldogs will compete in their specialty event this weekend, rather than racing other similar distances as some have been.
Grace, for example, should be competing in the 800-meter run for the first time this season. Grace holds the school record in the event - 2:04.72 - from her performance in the qualifying round of the NCAA Championships last March. Grace has not yet reached her peak level of performance this season, and it will be interesting to see how she does in her signature event.
Senior Claudia Duncan has been running well in 400- and 500-meter dashes; she holds the school record in the 500-meter dash at 1:13.31, and was All-East last year. Duncan might run the 800-meter run this weekend, though freshman Annalies Gamble will certainly compete in the event. Gamble and Duncan have mostly run together this season, and Gamble made it onto Yale's all-time indoor top-10 list in a 1:16.57 performance - just .53 seconds away from an ECAC qualifying time, which she'll be trying to achieve this weekend.
Jackson-Gibson will also be trying to post impressive marks in the sprints (this weekend, the 60-meter and 200-meter dashes) and the long jump. Also competing for top spots in the sprints is sophomore Alexa Monti, who is on Yale's all-time list in the 200-meter dash (26.00).
Yale will be testing its relay teams. Last year the Bulldogs won both the distance medley relay and the 4x400 meter relay (there is no 4x800 meter relay at the meet). The team showed great depth in middle distance early on, and Yale will again be fielding three teams in the 4x4. As the last event of the day, the relay could go many ways.
The meet will begin at 5 p.m on Friday with the women's high jump and the 5,000-meter run, followed by the 200-meter dash and the distance medley relay. On Saturday field events will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the shot put, and running events commence at 11:50 a.m. with the 3,000-meter run. Competition will continue until 5:40 p.m., when the 4x400 meter relay will close the day. A complete schedule of events can be found here.
Report by Kyle Eichner '12, Yale Sports Publicity
The Giegengack Invitational is named in honor of legendary Yale track and field coach Bob Giegengack. In his 29 years at Yale, the USA Track and Field Hall of Famer led the Elis to 183 victories, four IC4A titles, and 13 outdoor and four indoor Heptagonal championships. Teacher, coach, philosopher, tireless storyteller and international leader in track and field, Bob Giegengack spent more than 40 fruitful, exciting years in a career he loved. Helping talented young people to excel, both in their sport and in their studies, met his highest ideals. He trained his athletes, encouraged them and taught them strategies for success, always with the goal of mens sana in corpore sano, a healthy mind in a healthy body. From each athlete, he demanded the best effort possible, not just for the sake of individual achievement, but also for the good of the team. Beginning with his high school students at Brooklyn Prep, then at Fordham and Yale, and as an Olympic coach in Melbourne (1956) and Tokyo (1964), "Gieg" worked to fulfill his personal ideals as a teacher, mentor and competitor. After his retirement in 1976, he coached Yale's first women's team. The Giegengack legacy of talent, devotion and high ideals lives on at Yale today.