STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – This past evening, the women's track and field team competed in the annual Harvard-Yale-Princeton tri-meet, coming in third place with a total of 28 points to Harvard's 62 and Princeton's 90. The Bulldogs were simply outmatched this afternoon, facing two very thorough rosters. According to the NCAA's computer rankings from this past week, Harvard is ranked as the top women's track and field team in the Northeast region, while Princeton's roster ranks 6th in the Mid-Atlantic.
This does not in any way mean to discredit the team's ability, especially considering the team's many gains over the past couple of meets. In fact, even though the Bulldogs were handed a tough loss at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex, this past afternoon was still riddled with many big wins for the team. Many of the athletes that competed today ran better and threw better than they have in their collegiate careers. Taken in context of the level of competition the Bulldogs faced today, the wins are of even greater significance. The 28 points the team earned are a testament to the dedication these women have put in throughout the past couple of months and multiple years of training.
The highlight of the afternoon came when junior Frances Schmiede broke a five-year school record. Schmiede's historic time of 4:38.87 not only secured her the top time in this event; it also makes her the third-fastest miler in the nation. Not having run this event since freshman year, this result presents almost a 40 second improvement. Scmiede said regarding her race, "The atmosphere of HYP indoors is really special as you are there with your biggest rival schools and with no one else to worry about. It helps us get into the right mindset for Heps, which is only in a few weeks."
"I had an alum tell me that the previous school record was actually set at HYP in a race where Kate Grace also battled it out with a Princeton runner, which just goes to show the legacy our team is part of and how important these rivalries can be for motivating fast running," said Schmiede. The previous record of 4:39.52 was held by Kate Grace '11, one of Yale's finest athletes who still holds the record in the 800-meter run, among many other top performances in the school's history. . Grace also ran in the NCAA National Championships that year, where she placed seventh overall. With Schmiede's time currently ranked at No. 3 in the nation, it's fairly feasible that she might make the trip to Birmingham, Ala. in March. Of course, the big difference between the two is that Grace was a senior at the time, while Schmiede is currently a junior.
Even more mind-blowing is the fact that later on in the meet, the 4x800-meter relay team of junior Meredith Rizzo, followed by sophomore Katherine Raphael, Schmiede and senior Shannon McDonnell, not only won the event but also ran the fifth-best time in Yale history.
However, Schmiede's record-breaking run comes to no surprise considering that last week she actually ran the 6th fastest time in Yale history in the 1000-meter run. Considering that that race was run on a flat track, it is fairly feasible she might be on the hunt for that record next, among others. There seems to be nothing that can stop Schmiede, who also led the cross-country team to second place at their Heptagonal meet and fifth at regionals. And all four races in which she has competed this season (two this week and last week) have ended up with a victory for the future cross country captain. Needless to say, Schmiede is definitely an athlete to watch for over the course of this season and the next.
Sophomore Melissa Fairchild also had a fine race in the mile run, improving her time to 4:58.11 and placing eighth overall. Fairchild has made a lot of progress this season, especially considering that she has run two consecutive personal best times in this event. A step behind Fairchild was Kate Raphael, who ran for a time of 4:58.16. The other four Bulldogs in this event, sophomores Claire Ewing-Nelson and Katrina Garry and juniors Jennie Callan and Rachel Jones, all finished with new personal bests in the mile run.
Besides running in the 4x800-meter relay, Shannon McDonnell also ran a spectacular race in the 800-meter run. With a time of 2:09.12, McDonnell also made strides on the national rankings by running the 15th fastest time in the nation thus far. McDonnell has had a marvelous start to her senior season, having already run a personal best in the 1000-meter run and finished in the top 3 in all of her races. Freshman Emma Lower also ran well in the 800-meter run, finishing in 2:15.02 and grabbing a new personal best.
After a first place finish in the mile last month, sophomore Dana Klein destroyed her own personal best in the 3000-meter run by over 30 seconds, en route to a solid second place finish. Her time of 9:33.47 places her as the 29th best athlete in the nation for this event, a very commendable achievement. Sophomore Kelli Reagan finished right after Klein, coming in at 9:42.02 for a new personal best and a 20-second improvement over her run last week. Freshman Andrea Masterson finished right after, with a dazzling time of 9:43.11 for fourth place and a new personal best. Senior Elizabeth McDonald also ran well, finishing in sixth with a time of 9:48.36.
In the 1000-meter run, Meredith Rizzo finished in third place with a new personal best of 2:53.06. Senior Grace Brittan also had a commendable race, finishing in 2:55.51 for sixth place.
Freshman Lindsey Combs performed very well in the 60-meter hurdles, running 9.33s in the prelims and 9.10s in the finals, placing fifth place overall. Still just a freshman, Combs actually ran the sixth-best time in Yale history for this event. She narrowly edged out senior Mackenzie Mathews, who ran 9.09s in the prelims and 9.16s in the finals. With Mathews's imminent departure this season, Combs seems to be slowly looking to fill the tremendous legacy she leaves behind. The two also competed in the 200-meter dash, where Mathews slightly edged out Combs for fifth place. Combs and Mathews ran 26.36s and 26.53s, respectively.
Meanwhile, in the sprinting events, freshman Bridget Tobias dropped a few hundredths of a second off her time in the 500-meter run, finishing in third place.
In the 60-meter dash, freshman Alexandra Lee stepped it up and made it to the finals by running 7.91s in the prelims. She then ran even faster in the finals, finishing in 7.84s for a new personal best and fifth place overall. Lee might have also made it onto the top-10 list in that event, but it is not fully clear since some of the times listed are converted to the 55-meter dash. Nonetheless, Lee outdid herself with a spectacular finish. Senior captain Sydney Cureton finished ahead of Lee with a time of 7.80s, placing fourth overall. Junior Katerra Logan finished behind Lee in the finals with a time of 7.91s. Freshman Aja Thorpe ran in the preliminary round for the 60-meter dash, finishing in 8.34s. Thorpe also competed in the 60-meter hurdles, finishing in 9.80s
Lastly, in the 4x400-meter relay, the team of Lee-Tobias-Logan-Combs finished with a time of 3:58.80, placing fifth.
On the field, junior Kate Simon had another great afternoon, throwing for 12.16m (39-10.75) in the shot put, earning a point for the Bulldogs with her fourth-place finish. Meanwhile, in the weight throw, she got a mark of 15.79m (51-09.75), good for third place and a couple of more points. However, this doesn't speak justice to the fact that her performance represented an unprecedented improvement of over three and a half feet. With her new personal best, Simon jumps up to the slot of fifth best in the weight throw in Yale history. Freshman Evelyn Roberts also competed in the weight throw, improving to 13.32m(43-08.5) and placing fourth.