Bulldogs Close Out Home Indoor Season By Hosting Giegengack Invitational

Kate Grace.
Kate Grace.

Feb. 6, 2009

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Bulldog women's track and field team will compete at home for the last time during the indoor season on Friday and Saturday at the Giegengack Invitational. The meet, which will take place at Coxe Cage on the Frank Shorter '69 track, will offer some of the strongest competition of the year for the Bulldogs. The team, which last competed at the Terrier Invitational on Jan. 23, is ready to take on the tough competition and hopefully turn in some more fast times.

The current indoor season has gotten off to a strong start for the Bulldogs. At the Terrier Invitational, sophomore Kate Grace led the way for the Bulldogs with a seventh-place finish in the mile in a time of 4:58.35. This time was good enough to qualify Grace for the ECAC Championships in the event, to go along with her qualifying time in the 1000-meter run.

This weekend, Grace will be competing in the 800-meter run. Last year, as a freshman, Grace placed 24th in the 800-meter at the outdoor NCAA Championships. Senior Kelli Buck also turned in a strong performance in the mile at the Terrier Invitational, finishing ninth in a time of 5:03.16, just more than two seconds off of an ECAC qualifying time. This weekend, Buck will move up to compete in the 3,000-meter run, an event that she won at the Yale-Columbia-Dartmouth tri-meet held on Jan. 18. Senior Bevin Peters, who placed third in the 3,000-meter run at the Giegengack Invitational in 2008, will also compete in the event. Junior Stephanie Pearl, who was third last year at the Giegengack Invitational in the mile, will again race in the event. The first- and second-place finishers from last year will not be returning.

The Bulldogs should also expect to do very well this weekend in relay events. At the Terrier Invitational, the team achieved an impressive time of 9:01.89 in the 4x800-meter relay, a time that was almost 24 seconds under the ECAC standard and was the sixth-best time in Yale history. This effort, which was good for a second-place finish, was the highest finish in any event for the Bulldogs at the meet.

In the sprint events, freshman Alexa Monti has turned in some very impressive times this year. At the Terrier Invitational, Monti ran the 200-meter dash in 26.00, good for eighth on the all-time Yale list. She has also run as fast as 7.79 in the 60-meter dash, only eight- one-hundredths off of an ECAC qualifying time. She will have an opportunity to improve on both of these times this weekend as she is scheduled to compete in both events. Junior Claudia Duncan also has the chance to pick up an ECAC qualifying time. Duncan, who will be running the 500-meter dash, ran 1:16.11 at the season-opening Lidlifter Invitational at Coxe Cage. Her time was only 11 one-hundredths off of an ECAC qualifying performance.

Junior Stephany Reaves also has the opportunity to make a large impact at the meet. Reaves, who won the 800-meter run at the Yale-Columbia-Dartmouth tri-meet and helped the Bulldogs to second in the 4x800-meter relay at the Terrier Invitational, will compete in the 1000-meter run. She last ran the event at the Terrier Invitational, where she placed 13th in 2:57.44, just more than one second off of an ECAC qualifying time.

The Bulldogs should face some of the toughest competition of the year at the meet. Teams from Albany, Brown, Central Connecticut State, La Salle, Monmouth, New Haven, Providence, Sacred Heart, Southern Connecticut State, St. Joseph's, Stony Brook, Trinity College, UConn, and UMass-Amherst will be competing. Complete heat sheets are available here.

The meet, because of the tough competition and two-day layout, will be a perfect opportunity to tune up for the championship portion of the season. The two-day format is a good experience for the Bulldog athletes because the upcoming Heptagonal Championships and ECAC Championships both utilize two-day schedules.

For Associate Head Coach David Shoehalter, the Giegengack Invitational can be viewed as the beginning of the championship season.

"We use this meet as preparation for the Heptagonal Championships in that it is a two-day format," Shoehalter said. "We really look at the Giegengack as the beginning of our championship season. We've put in the hard work necessary for tapering, and usually begin to cut back on our training in the week leading up to this meet. The meet is in a two-day format, which will prepare our athletes for the rigors of the Heptagonal Championship schedule. Athletes will have to be prepared for a second day of competition. For the seniors, it will be the last chance to compete in Coxe Cage."

Competition will get underway at 5:00 p.m. on Friday with the men's long jump and weight throw, which will be followed by the women's long jump and weight throw. The women's high jump will begin at 6:00 p.m. Running events will start at 6:15 p.m. with the women's 5,000-meter run. Field events will begin on Saturday morning with the women's shot put at 9:30 a.m. The women's 60-meter hurdles will start off the track events at 12:40 p.m. A complete schedule of events can be found here. Buses will be available to transport spectators to and from Coxe Cage, and will be leaving Payne Whitney Gym every 15 minutes. Results will be posted on the Yale Athletics website at the conclusion of each day of competition.

The Giegengack Invitational is named in honor of legendary Yale track and field coach Bob Giegengack. In his 29 years at Yale, the USA Track and Field Hall of Famer led the Elis to 183 victories, four IC4A titles, and 13 outdoor and four indoor Heptagonal championships. Teacher, coach, philosopher, tireless storyteller and international leader in track and field, Bob Giegengack spent more than 40 fruitful, exciting years in a career he loved. Helping talented young people to excel, both in their sport and in their studies, met his highest ideals. He trained his athletes, encouraged them and taught them strategies for success, always with the goal of mens sana in corpore sano, a healthy mind in a healthy body. From each athlete, he demanded the best effort possible, not just for the sake of individual achievement, but also for the good of the team. Beginning with his high school students at Brooklyn Prep, then at Fordham and Yale, and as an Olympic coach in Melbourne (1956) and Tokyo (1964), "Gieg" worked to fulfill his personal ideals as a teacher, mentor and competitor. After his retirement in 1976, he coached Yale's first women's team. The Giegengack legacy of talent, devotion and high ideals lives on at Yale today.

Report filed by Caleb Dorfman '09, Yale Sports Publicity