April 16, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - This Saturday Yale will travel to Cambridge, Mass., for the annual Harvard-Yale Dual Meet. Last weekend the two teams joined together to compete in the biennial Harvard-Yale vs. Oxford-Cambridge meet, but this weekend everything is back to normal as the rivals go head to head, giving each other the chance to see what the Heptagonal Championships might look like in May at Penn. This is the last dual meet for the Bulldogs, and they have only two meets left (Penn Relays next Thursday through Saturday and the Springtime Invitational at Yale on the 26th) before Heptagonal Championships at Penn on May 9-10th.
This Saturday will be a good chance to see how Yale and Harvard measure up in the outdoor season. Last year, when the meet was in New Haven, the Bulldogs trailed behind the Crimson, ending the day with 65 points to the Crimson's 96. In the indoor Harvard-Yale-Princeton contest this winter, Yale also had a disappointing finish (23 points to Harvard's 77). The Bulldogs look to improve upon that this weekend.
The Bulldogs should measure up more favorably in the outdoor season. Many of Yale's top runners excel in exclusively outdoor events, such as senior Bevin Peters, who competes in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, and captain Jennifer Lin, who runs the 400-meter hurdles.
Last year at this dual meet Yale did very well in field events. Sophomore Stephanie Scaramella was the largest point-earner for the Bulldogs, earning 11 points from a second-place finish in the discus throw, second-place in the hammer throw and first-place in the shot put.
Freshmen Emily Standish and Eve King also earned points for Yale in the triple-jump, in which they finished first and second, respectively. Standish also finished second in the high jump (she was named second-team All-Ivy in the event last spring).
Throws and jumps were Yale's main scoring events last year, but Harvard's team is looking strong in those areas this spring, building on their success later in last season.
The Crimson's Becky Christensen was first-team All-Ivy last year in the high jump, Jessica Fronk in the javelin throw. Eda Karesin was second-team All-Ivy in the event. Brittan Smith was second-team All-Ivy in the long jump. Many of these athletes performed well last Friday (Christensen and Smith won their respective events), and should be ready to compete on Saturday.
In the running events, Yale should have more of an advantage, in middle distances in particular.
Harvard has some very good athletes running sprints. Senior Favia Merritt won both the 100- and 200-meter dashes on Friday by a good margin. The winning American 4x100-meter relay team consisted mostly of Harvard runners, but Yale's relay team is also good, and it should perform well. It finished in 48.29 in bad weather at Colonial Relays two weeks ago, and the women ran a ECAC qualifying time of 47.95 when they competed in California nearly a month ago.
Yale definitely has an advantage in hurdling events, as Lin won both the 100- and 400-meter hurdles last Friday, in times of 15.47 and 1:02.04, respectively. The latter time is a season best and qualifies her for the ECAC championships, leaving her just over one second over the NCAA regional qualifying standard.
Yale is also very strong in slightly longer distances. Junior Claudia Duncan won the 400-meter dash in 56.26 seconds on Friday, and the 4x400-meter relay team that finished first in 3:48.89 was composed mostly of Yale runners (Lin, Duncan and sophomore Kate Grace). When Yale's 4x400-meter team competed at Colonial Relays they finished in 3:49.75, good for the ECAC Championships.
Harvard sophomore Hilary May had a good 800-meter run, but she was more than two and a half seconds slower than Yale's Grace, who set a meet record in 2:08.40 (qualifying her for NCAA regional championships in the event). Grace was one of three freshmen in the country to compete at the NCAA championships in the event last May, and she also competed in this distance at the NCAA indoor championships this March.
In distance races, Harvard's Claire Richardson competed very well last Friday in the 1,500-meter run, earning an ECAC qualifying time; Richardson earned first-place All-Ivy honors for her performance in the 5,000-meter run this winter. Yale will have to put its best feet forward in the 1,500-meter and 5,000-meter events on Saturday.
Of course, the other distance event looks easy for the Bulldogs: senior Bevin Peters won the 3,000-meter steeplechase by a wide margin on Friday in a personal best of 10:50.48, which is tantalizingly close (.23 seconds) to the cutoff for the NCAA regional championships.
This Saturday should be a closer competition between Yale and Harvard than it has been in other recent meetings.
Report by Kyle Eichner '12, Yale Sports Publicity