April 2, 2009

Bulldogs Split Up to Compete at Colonial Relays and Sam Howell Invitational

April 2, 2009

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - This weekend the Yale women's track and field team will split up: some runners will head to the Colonial Relays hosted by William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., while others will head to the Sam Howell Invitational hosted by Princeton in Princeton, N.J. This Friday and Saturday will mark the first competition of the outdoor season for a few runners, while serving as the first run on the east coast for team members who competed at the University of California-Irvine Spring Break Invitational Mar. 20 and 21.

Yale will mostly send distance runners and field competitors to the Sam Howell Invitational. The Bulldogs will compete with 16 other schools from the northeast, including Ivy League rivals Columbia and Dartmouth.

Field competitors will look to continue and improve on their results from the UCI Invitational. In the high jump sophomore Emily Standish took second place, clearing 1.60 meters, and sophomore Eve King cleared 1.50 meters. Both Bulldogs should perform well in jumping events on Saturday.

Events start at 4 p.m. on Friday with the women's hammer throw, followed by distance events later in the evening. Events will resume Saturday at 11 a.m. with the men's hammer throw, and jumping and running events will continue throughout the afternoon. A complete schedule of events can be found here.

The rest of the team will head to slightly warmer weather at the 44th Annual Colonial Relays. They will compete against 24 other teams, many of them from southern schools that the Bulldogs rarely see. Last year the meet was plagued by thunderstorm warnings, and though there is a slight chance of thunder on Friday, the competition should be able to go on.

At last year's Relays, distinguished Bulldog performances included the debut of senior Bevin Peters in the steeplechase, when she finished in a time of 11:20.42 to take sixth place. Look for her to improve on that considering that she ran 11:07.95 in the event two weeks ago. Freshman Anne Lovelace made her impressive collegiate debut in the event in California as she finished third in a time of 10:54.87. This qualified her for ECAC Championships, and is just over four seconds off the NCAA Regional qualifying time. Lovelace could be trying to prove herself in this and other distance events this weekend.

Senior captain Jennifer Lin also posted a near-qualifying time in California. She finished third in the 400-meter hurdles in 62.29, less than 1.5 seconds over regional qualifying standard. Lin should lead the team well in short and middle distance.

In other individual races, sophomore Kate Grace will make her outdoor season debut. Last year she placed 24th in the 800-meter run at NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, and this winter she earned All-American status when she placed 8th at the NCAA Indoor Championships. At the Colonial Relays last year, Grace came in 5th place, and she should be a strong force for the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs' middle-distance team is deep: juniors Claudia Duncan and Stephany Reaves both ran well in the 800-meter run in California, with respective times of 2:15.03 and 2:13.85, as did senior Kathryn Schleckser.

The Yale women are also adept in sprints. Freshman Alexa Monti has been continuously fast in the short sprints, and she finished the 100-meter dash two weeks ago in a time of 12.80, followed close behind by fellow freshmen Marieme Mbaye (12.95) and Emily Shulan (13.16). Sophomore Jennifer Parker recorded good times in the 200- (26.12) and 400-meter dashes (59.64). Freshmen Carys Johnson and Gabriella Kelly should also contribute well to the sprinting squad.

The depth of the team will serve them well on the second day of competition, which lives up to its name in the proliferation of relays.

Last year the distance medley relay finished second with a time of 11:50.33, and the 4x800-meter team finished third in 9:08.74. The Bulldogs should be impressive again in relays this weekend, especially coming off a fourth place finish in the 4x400-meter relay (3:51.34) and third in the 4x100-meter (47.95) at the UCI Invitational.

Events in Williamsburg start at 11 a.m. on Friday with the women's pole vault, and will end Saturday with the women's 4x400-meter relay at 4 p.m. A schedule of events and live results will be posted here throughout the day.

report by Kyle Eichner '12, Yale Sports Publicity