February 28, 2010

Grace Wins 800-meter Run the Second Year in a Row

Heptagonal Championships Close Indoor Season

Complete Results

HANOVER, N.H. - The Heptagonal Championships, the most important meet of the indoor season for the Bulldogs, drew to a close on Sunday with some great Bulldog performances. Junior Kate Grace won the 800-meter run for the second year in a row, and the 4x800 meter relay placed fourth to give Yale 16 points total and tie for seventh place.

Points were awarded to the top six finishers in each event: 10 points for first place, 8 for second, and 6, 4, 2, and 1 points for the following four places. Princeton won the Ivy League banner as a fine follow-up to their win at cross country Heps in the fall.

Junior Kate Grace pulled off an amazing race to win the 800-meter run in her best time of the season. She finished strongly in Saturday's heat with the fourth-fastest qualifying time, but came in on Sunday to win. She finished in 2:07.77, her best time of the season by three seconds, and .6 seconds faster than she ran last year at Heps. Right behind her were Kim Standridge of Cornell (2:08.14), who ran the fastest qualifying time on Saturday, and Carlyle Davis of Harvard (2:08.26), who attended the same high school as Grace. The rest of the field was three seconds behind.

"The race plan was for Kate to take the lead at the beginning and hold onto it," said Coach Mark Young, the Mark T. Young '68 Director of Cross Country and Track and Field. "And that's what she did. She was in control the whole time; she was in the lead from the first step, and she's hard to pass because she's so quick. It's also a track with wide turns and short straightaways, so there's not a lot of passing room. She was holding off the Cornell runner and the Cornell runner was holding off the Harvard runner. I was still holding my breath the whole time,  but she had it. It was a nice moment for Yale because Kate's race was back-to-back with Chris Labosky's win in the 1,000-meter run."

2:07.77 is a provisional qualifying time for NCAAs, which means that in order to compete at the NCAA Championships March 12-13, she must wait until Monday, March 8 for the committee to announce whether she qualifies (which depends on how many runners meet the automatic qualifying time of 2:06). Of course, she also has the chance to improve her time next weekend at the ECAC Championships. She will be racing against the top Ivy League competitors as well as runners from all over the east coast.

"I think she's in better shape this year," said Coach Young. "The times are similar to what they were last year, so she's in at least as good of a spot as she was."

The 4x800 meter relay was another high spot for Yale; the Bulldogs finished fourth in 9:01.33 to earn four points. The team was led off by senior Stephany Reaves, then junior Claudia Duncan picked up the baton, followed by freshman Annalies Gamble, and Grace brought the team to the finish. She was right behind the third-place team, which finished in 8:59.80, but Princeton won the event.

The other points scored for Yale were from Saturday, when junior Eve King earned fifth place in the pentathlon.

"She competed very well," said Coach Young. "In the 800-meter run in particular. They all went out hard, but she hung in where some of the runners didn't. It was great to watch her face when they announced the results, because we hadn't tallied up the points; her face lit up when they announced that she was fifth. It was a nice way to finish the day."

Other events the Bulldogs competed in on Sunday afternoon included the 4x400 meter relay. The Bulldog team of freshman Jenna Poggi, freshman Allison Rue,  senior captain Faith Briggs and freshman Dakota McCoy finished in 3:59.57 for seventh place.

The 3,000-meter run featured three Bulldogs. Senior Alexandra Cadicamo finished 10th in 9:54.89; she had already qualified for the ECACs at a previous meet, but this time would have qualified her as well. Senior Stephanie Pearl ran 10:21.09 for 16th, and sophomore Jennifer Downing came in behind her in 10:24.46 for 17th.

In Sunday's field events, junior Emily Standish was 11th in the high jump at 1.64m. In the weight throw, junior Rachel Kuschner was 13th at 11.38m, and freshman Antonia Renker was 14th at 11.27m.

This was the last meet of the indoor season for most of the team. Grace and Cadicamo will be competing at the ECAC Championships next weekend in Boston, as well members of Yale's relay teams.

Report by Kyle Eichner '12, Yale Sports Publicity