Bulldogs Start NCAA Competition Thursday

Kate Grace and Nihal Kayali. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Kate Grace and Nihal Kayali. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Four Yale Athletes Will Compete in Regional First Round

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Four members of the Yale women's track and field team will take part in NCAA First Round competition, which starts Thursday in Bloomington, Ind. Events will last from May 26-28. Athletes are competing for the chance to race at the NCAA National Championship meet on June 8-11.

All-American senior Kate Grace and sophomore Annelies Gamble will compete in the 800-meter run. The first round will take place at 7:30 p.m. on the 26th, with the top three from each of six heats plus the next six fastest advancing to the national quarterfinal at 6:30 p.m. on the 27th. Grace has the 10th-fastest seed time in the meet in 2:05.48, just a second slower than the fastest. Gamble has the 45th-fastest time, 2:08.91. All qualifying times were under 2:10.

Gamble commented on the meet's significance for her team: "It has been a remarkable season in many ways, and particularly poignant because it's Coach Mark Young's '68 last season. I hope to race hard and look forward to cheering on my great teammates."

Sophomore Nihal Kayali will compete in the 1,500-meter run. She is seeded as the 21st-fastest athlete in the event in 4:21.98, thanks to her second-place performance at ECACs last weekend. Her first race in the meet will occur at 4:30 p.m. on the 26th. The top five from each of four heats plus the next four fastest will advance to the national semi-final on the 28th at 6:30 p.m.

"I cannot wait to compete at the NCAA First Rounds next week," said Kayali. "The level of competition is going to be higher than any meet I've competed in before and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to race some of the nation's best runners. The majority of the season I was hitting the same times in my event, which tested my patience a bit, but now I've got some really positive momentum coming off of some strong Heps and ECACs performances and I hope to carry this momentum through to this week!"

Sophomore Elizabeth Marvin will compete in the 5,000-meter run. Her time of 16:37.04 is the 42nd-fastest of the competitors. The race will occur at 8:05 p.m. on the 28th, with the top five from each of two heats advancing to the National Championship.

"I am really excited for my race this weekend. The spring season has been particularly exciting because it was my first time ever competing in the 5k in track," said Marvin. "Overall, in spring track we've had some great performances on both the men's and women's teams. This weekend I'm sure we will see some more great races."

"This has been a great building year for our middle distance and distance girls, and it's so rewarding for the four of us to have the chance to represent Yale on the regional stage," Kayali commented.

Report by Natalie Villa '13, Yale Sports Publicity