Feb. 12, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Bulldog women's track and field team will close out the regular season on Saturday in the annual Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet held at the Gordon Track at Harvard. The meet will feature some of the top dual-meet competition of the year for the Bulldogs and is the last opportunity for the team to compete before the Heptagonal Championships, also at Harvard, on Feb. 28 and Mar. 1. The Bulldogs lost to both the Harvard and Princeton squads in 2008.
This year, the Bulldogs look ready to take on the tough competition that will be competing at the meet. The Bulldogs are coming off of many strong performances at the two-day Giegengack Invitational. While the meet was unscored, the team turned in a number of fast times and had ECAC Championships qualifying performances in four events, including a new school record for junior Claudia Duncan in the 500-meter dash.
This week, however, the team will not be just competing for absolute performances, but also picking up points against the competition. As such, the team will need to be ready to race against both the clock and the competition, which should be strong. So far this season, the Bulldogs have only competed in one other league meet situation, coming away with the win against Dartmouth and Columbia on Jan. 18. Neither Harvard nor Princeton have competed in dual-meet situations this year.
Last year at the H-Y-P meet, the Bulldogs lost to both Harvard and Princeton. Yale had 39 points while Princeton won with 62 points and Harvard closely followed in second with 58 points.
The best event for the Bulldogs last year was the 400-meter dash, with the team taking first, second and third. Duncan was the event champion, winning the race in an ECAC Championships qualifying time of 56.56. She was followed by Mary Kuder '08 and sophomore Kate Grace in third with a time of 58.29. Duncan should be in a good position to continue her success at the meet after turning in a fast time in the 500-meter run last weekend, an event that will not be run at the H-Y-P meet. Senior Jennifer Lin has run well in the 400-meter dash this year with a top time of 57.84 at the Terrier Invitational on Jan. 24-25. Freshman Gabriella Kelly should also have a chance to do well for the team after her third-place finish in a time of 58.33 at the Giegengack Invitational last week.
The only other win of the meet for the Bulldogs last year came in the 4x400-meter relay. The team of Duncan, Grace, Kuder and sophomore Erika Mansson turned in an ECAC Championships qualifying time of 3:49.14. This performance was good for second on the all-time Yale list. The Bulldogs are in a good position to repeat as the champions in the event this year. Last week at the Giegengack Invitational, the Bulldogs turned in a time of 3:51.48, another ECAC Championships qualifying performance. This time would put the Bulldogs more than three seconds ahead of the top team not from Yale at the H-Y-P meet last year.
The shot put could be a good opportunity for the Bulldogs to pick up points in the field events. Last year, sophomore Stephanie Scaramella was second in the event with a throw of 12.20 meters. This year, Scaramella has been throwing very well, reaching a distance of 12.79 meters in the tri-meet against Columbia and Dartmouth.
It could also be an exciting meet in the 800-meter run, with the Yale and Harvard squads boasting two of the top runners in the event. Grace, who has not yet run the event this season, qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the event last year. Last week, she competed in the mile, placing second in a new personal record time of 4:52.07. Harvard sophomore Hilary May is an outstanding performer in the event this season, running 2:08.70 in the event last week. That time was fast enough to be a NCAA Championships provisional qualifying performance. Last year, Ingrid Sproll '08 was second in 2:13.74. Junior Stephany Reaves was the top returning Bulldog in the event, running 2:14.78 to take sixth.
This year, the mile should be a very fast event. Last year, the top three runners in the event, all of whom were underclassmen at Princeton, had NCAA Championships provisional qualifying times. It should come as no surprise that the Tigers will be a strong force in the distance events again this year. The team took fifth at the NCAA Cross-Country Championships this fall. This year, the fastest time by a Bulldog was by Grace last week. Senior Kelli Buck, who ran a great race to qualify for the ECAC Championships in the 3,000-meter run last week, is the second-fastest Bulldog in the event this year, running 5:03.16.
The Bulldogs should have the opportunity to perform very well in the sprint events this week. Both freshman Alexa Monti and sophomore Becky Brown have run well in the 60-meter dash. Monti's time of 7.88 in the 60-meter dash at the Giegengack Invitational would have been good for third at the H-Y-P meet last year while Brown's 8.02 would have been good for fifth. In the 200-meter dash, Monti has already gone as fast as 26.00, good enough for the eighth fastest time in Yale history and a time that would have taken third at the H-Y-P meet last year.
The Bulldogs will be hardest hit by graduation in the field events. Olakitan Awolesi '08 won the triple jump and was third in the long jump, 60- and 200-meter dashes.
Competition will get underway with the women's weight throw at 11:00 a.m. Track events will start at 12:45 p.m. with the 60-meter hurdles. A complete schedule can be found here.
Report filed by Caleb Dorfman '09, Yale Sports Publicity