Track and Field Hosts First Home Meet of Outdoor Season

Elle Brunsdale and Amanda Snajder. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Elle Brunsdale and Amanda Snajder. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Individuals Bring Promise to Yale Mark Young Invitational

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—The Yale women's track and field team will host its first home meet of the outdoor season this Saturday—the annual Yale Mark Young Invitational, named for the team's former coach who retired in 2010. The meet will take place at Yale's Cuyler Athletic Complex and Dwyer Track, with buses departing to the facility from Payne Whitney Gym every 15 minutes. A complete schedule can be found here and results will be posted when available.

As has been the case the past few weeks, the largest group of Yale competitors will take to the 1,500-meter run. Any number of distance runners, including freshman Emily Barnes, senior Sarah Barry, freshman Jennie Callan, junior Anna Demaree, senior Liana Epstein, sophomore Elizabeth McDonald, sophomore Shannon McDonnell, sophomore Emily Stark and freshman Emily Waligurski may take their place at the event's starting line. Barry, Demaree, McDonald and Stark have emerged as four of the team's standout distance runners this season. Barry has consistently led a pack in the 1,500-meter run at each meet. Stark performed well in the 10,000-meter at the recent Stanford Invitational, while McDonald and Demaree took first and fourth, respectively, in the 3,000-meter run last weekend.

Yale will likely enter a 4x400-meter relay squad. Runners who may compete in the distance include McDonnell, sophomore Grace Brittan, junior Elle Brunsdale, junior Emily Cable, senior Kelsey Lin and senior Kristen Proe. Furthermore, short sprinters Cable, Lin and freshman Katerra Logan will all have the opportunity of racing in the 200-meter dash. Cable still remains one of Yale's most formidable contenders, as she tops the team's list of best marks in the 200-meter and 400-meter dashes. Lin's list may also include the 100-meter dash, alongside sophomore Mackenzie Mathews.

Moreover, Mathews is sure to compete in the 100-meter hurdles, her best event. Last week, Mathews excelled, nearly reaching the record-breaking time she earned as a freshman, 14.44. In preparation for the heptathlon, senior captain Amanda Snajder and Brunsdale will likely compete in the 100-meter hurdles, as well. Of the many events Snajder competes in during the course of a meet, the 100-meter hurdles has become one of her best. In fact, her race at the Harvard dual meet last week earned her a personal best. In addition to the 100-meter hurdles, the duo will continue to build their stamina in any of the high jump, long jump, shot put or 800-meter run.

Those joining them in the 800-meter run may include Brittan, McDonnell, Waligurski, junior Alyssa LaGuardia and freshman Frances Schmiede. As most athletes usually limit themselves to one event per meet, many runners comfortable in both the middle and long distance ranges will choose to compete in either the 1,500-meter or 800-meter run. McDonnell will certainly look to lead the pack in either event, as she has had commendable performances in both this season. At last week's Harvard dual meet, she stole second in the 800-meter run. The previous week, she snagged a personal best time in the 1,500-meter run. As a result, she currently holds the best times in both of any Bulldog this season. 

One event not to miss will be junior Kira Garry's race in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. She enters the event just off a record-breaking performance at the Stanford Invitational. Garry has been recognized for her prowess in the event in the past, qualifying for NCAA Regionals and competing in the U.S. Junior Nationals in 2012. Her record of 10:21.01 breaks the former one she set her freshman year. 

In the field events, high jump competitors will include freshman Lillian Foote and sophomore Megan Toon. Toon will further compete in the javelin throw. Junior Alisha Jordan should not be missed as she competes in her primary event, the triple jump. Jordan currently holds the team's best mark of the season, 11.92m. She can be counted on to finish consistently as one of its highest-ranking members. Senior Teresa Parent and freshman Rachel Wofford are among her fellow competitors. Meanwhile, senior Emily Urciuoli and sophomore Renee Vogel will both be competing in the pole vault.

Yale's three person throwing squad, comprised of junior Taylor Eldridge, freshman Kate Simon and sophomore Karleh Wilson, will compete in any combination of the hammer throw, discus throw, shot put and javelin throw. While Wilson has consistently shined in the shot put for the past two years, she recently threw the second-best discus mark in Yale history, demonstrating the depth of her talents. Eldridge's recent outstanding marks in the hammer throw have also landed her on Yale's top-10 lists this season.

Report by Maria Seravalli '16, Yale Sports Publicity

The Mark Young Invitational is named for Yale's legendary Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Mark T. Young '68, who coached at the school for 31 years between 1980 and 2011. Young served as captain of Yale's track and field team as a student and led the team to an outdoor Ivy League Heptagonal Championship during his senior year. As coach at Yale, Young led the Bulldogs to six Ivy League Heptagonal Championships and four top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships in women's cross country. The Elis also won four ECAC titles under Young's guidance. Young was named the national Cross Country Coach of the Year and NCAA District I Outdoor Track Coach of the Year in 1987, when he led Yale to a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships and a first-place finish in the outdoor Ivy League Heptagonal Championships. Young's influence and tremendous success extended well beyond New Haven, and he served as an assistant coach for the United States Track and Field Team in the 2000 Olympics.