February 28, 2012

Select Bulldogs to Compete at ECACs

Track Team Will Conclude Its Season in Boston

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's track and field team will take a select contingent to Boston this weekend to compete in the ECAC Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Reggie Lewis Center. After a slightly disappointing eighth-place finish at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships last weekend, the Bulldogs are looking to rebound, focus on running their best times and head into the outdoor season with their heads high.

Junior Nihal Kayali, who is qualified to compete in the 1,000-meter run and the one mile run, commented on the transition between the two races: "ECACs is an opportunity for us to leave the strategic running of Heps behind us, where our primary concern is placing rather than running personal bests, and instead to try to run some fast times," she said.

Kayali is currently ranked the highest of any Bulldog in a track event in the pre-ECAC qualifications. She has clocked the 19th-fastest time out of 98 athletes in the 1,000-meter run. She ran 2:49.67 in the event at the Terrier Invitational to record a personal best last month. Sophomore Sarah Barry has the 50th-fastest time in the event (2:53.82) and junior Annelies Gamble has qualified with the 90th-best time (2:55.86). Barry was fifth overall in the event last year.

Gamble is usually an 800-meter specialist in outdoor track, and has qualified to compete in that event this weekend. Her recent season best of 2:10.23 at Heps is good for the 24th spot on the list of ECAC qualifiers. Last year, she placed fifth in the ECAC final for the 800-meter run in 2:11.39.

Kayali is also qualified in the one mile run; her season best of 4:49.96 is the 31st-fastest of all ECAC qualifiers and the best of the Bulldog squad. Her personal best of 4:45.04, from last season, would place her 20th on the list. Barry joins her on that list, with a 4:50.56 that is the 50th-fastest time posted this season. There is less than a second separating Kayali and Barry, indicating the large number of athletes who have similar times. This foreshadows a close race this weekend, though not everyone who has qualified will choose to compete. Adding to the excitement, the ECAC has a deep field in the event, boasting three of the nine athletes who have met the automatic qualification for the NCAA Championship meet. Last year, Kayali won the event in 4:47.68.

Yale will also have ample representation in the two distance events. Four Bulldogs have qualified in the 3,000-meter run and three have qualified in the 5,000-meter run. Senior Lindsey Raymond has the best time of the Bulldogs with the 9:35.49 that she turned in at Heps last weekend, which is the 39th-fastest qualification. Junior Elizabeth Marvin ran 9:45.02 at Heps, which is the 66th-fastest time, freshman Kira Garry (94th) ran 9:51.40 and sophomore Liana Epstein (136th) qualified with 9:57.57 (after conversion for track size).

Marvin, Raymond and Garry also have the option to compete in the 5,000-meter run. At the Terrier Invitational, Marvin ran a season-best 16:56.03 (37th), Raymond finished in 17:03.07 (45th) and Garry crossed the line in 17:03.52 (48th). Last year, Marvin competed as a member of the distance medley relay team that placed third overall.

Sophomore Emily Urciuoli is the only Bulldog to qualify in an event other than a middle distance or distance race. She will compete in the pole vault, having cleared the 19th-best height of all ECAC qualifiers (along with three other athletes). She cleared 3.75m (12'3.5") for the first time in her collegiate career at the Yale Giegengack Invitational earlier this month, and will hope to have a repeat performance this weekend. Ivy champion Tory Worthen of Princeton has the highest seed in the event at 4.12m.

Additionally, Yale has qualified teams in the 4x400-meter relay (40th), the 4x800-meter relay (20th) and the distance medley relay (16th).

Kayali said she thinks the team has the potential to do great things this weekend: "Our team has the drive and desire that is required to turn things around, and I am unbelievably excited to see what we can do outdoors. Even since December we have seen a number of our competitors improve substantially and have seen a handful come back strong from injuries, and if we continue along this trajectory of improvement I fully believe that better results await us," Kayali said.

"The Reggie Lewis Center is a great facility and we're all looking forward to competing there this weekend," she added.

The ECAC Championship meet will follow a typical championship schedule, with Saturday comprising mostly preliminary and semi-final heats, although the final of the 5,000-meter run will also be contested on Saturday at 3:35 p.m. The one mile run will have trials at 1:40 p.m., the 800-meter run will have trials at 2:50 p.m. and the trials of the 1,000-meter run will be contested at 3:05 p.m. Final heats will occur on Sunday, and the pole vault will begin at 11:00 a.m. The 3,000-meter run final will start at 2:40 p.m. A full schedule, along with meet information, can be found here. Results will be posted on www.ecacsports.org and www.yalebulldogs.com when they are available at the conclusion of each day's events.

Report by Natalie Villa '13, Yale Sports Publicity

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