Many Season-Bests at the Larry Ellis Invitational

Emily Shulan. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Emily Shulan. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Grace Wins 800-Meter Run

PRINCETON, N.J. – Yale was one of 35 teams to compete in the Larry Ellis Invitational hosted by Princeton this weekend. The meet consisted of the Friday Night Races, a more selective crop of racers who need to achieve meet standards before entering, and Saturday's events. Many events fielded over 60 athletes, making for a competitive atmosphere. Even so, the Bulldogs were able to run many season-best times and even win several heats.

On Friday, senior Kate Grace stole the show in the 800-meter run, besting the other 73 participants, including two professional athletes, by at least half of a second. Most other margins were much narrower, given the size of the meet. Grace ran a season-best time of 2:05.48, while her closest competitor finished in 2:06.03. This is the fastest Grace has run all season by over four seconds, most recently completing her race in 2:09.92 at the Harvard-Yale competition last weekend. It is also currently the 11th-fastest time in the nation. 

In the fourth of seven heats, sophomore Annelies Gamble bested the 12 other competitors. She won by just 0.03 seconds, finishing in 2:11.27. Junior Gabriella Kelly also won the fifth heat, while freshman Sarah Barry placed right behind her and sophomore Nihal Kayali finished in fifth place. Kelly's time of 2:12.62 was just a second off of her season-best, while Barry (2:12.85) and Kayali (2:13.90) both ran season-high times. Barry's time places her in the Yale record books; it is the 10th-fastest time in school history. Grace (first), Gamble (sixth) and Kelly (eighth) are already on the list.

In the 1,500-meter run, sophomore Elizabeth Marvin and freshman Melissa Chapman placed second and fourth, respectively, in the fourth of six heats. Both were competing in the race for the first time this season; they usually run longer distances. Marvin finished just 0.22 seconds out of first in the heat, completing her race in 4:31.34. Chapman was right behind in 4:32.84, again just 0.03 seconds behind the third-place finisher. Junior Jacque Sahlberg finished sixth in the fifth heat in 4:40.66. In all, there were 69 athletes competing in the event.

The Bulldogs finished up their second day of competition at Princeton's Larry Ellis Invitational on Saturday afternoon. Though rain and the size of the meet lead to many scratches, several athletes were able to run season-best times, continuing the pattern of Friday's performances.

All four Bulldogs who competed in the 400-meter dash ran season-best times. Grace was sixth overall out of 61 runners in 56.49. She won the second of nine heats with the time, which would have been the fourth-fastest time in school history if she did not already hold the second spot (55.98). Although Grace does not train for the 400-meter run, she is still able to hold her own against athletes who do. In the third heat, Kelly placed fourth in 57.00, which launched her from tenth to fifth all-time in the school record books. Sophomore Allison Rue finished second in the fourth heat in 57.56. In the sixth heat, Gamble was also second, finishing in 59.70.

Junior Jennifer Downing raced a season-best in the 3,000-meter run. She placed fourth overall in 9:59.96, which is almost 10 seconds faster than her previous season-best time. It is also only three seconds off of the ECAC qualifying time.

In the 100-meter dash, junior Emily Shulan also ran a season-best, placing 21st of 48 athletes in 12.83. Shulan and Rue both competed in the same heat of the 200-meter dash as well. Shulan placed third in 25.93 and Rue was fifth in 26.99.

Sophomore Dakota McCoy and freshman Amanda Snajder competed in the hurdles events. In the 100-meter hurdles, Snajder placed third in the fourth of eight heats, finishing in 15.27. McCoy finished in 16.32, good for fifth in her heat. She also competed in the 400-meter hurdles, placing fifth in her heat in 1:06.73.

Due to the size of the meet, none of the Yale throwers attended. Only two athletes competed in field events. Freshman Emily Urciuoli was 10th in 3.50 meters, just 0.05 meters off of her season-best. Senior Emily Standish tied for 13th in the high jump. She was able to clear 1.60 meters.

In this weekend's meet, the Bulldogs proved that they can hold their own with competitive times in the middle distance races. The championship season is less than two weeks away, so the team will look to build on its work so far. Next weekend is the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, where select Bulldogs will compete in a number of different events.

Report by Natalie Villa '13, Yale Sports Publicity