December 6, 2007

Yale Women Kickoff Track Season at Yale Season Opener

Dec. 6, 2007

NEW HAVEN, CONN. - The Yale women's track and field team will compete at the Yale Season Opener on Saturday, December 8th at Coxe Cage on the Frank Shorter '69 track, the first meet of a track season that could extend into June.

With the distance runners just finishing a grueling cross country season, the Season Opener is traditionally a test for sprint and field athletes, who have been training since September to prepare for the 2007-2008 track and field season. Due to the facts that this is the first meet of the season and the Season Opener is more than a month before any other meet, it is typical that this meet sees many athletes running "off events" as well as doubling and sometimes tripling in what will most likely be an exhausting day.

"It's been a tough pre-season [of training] leading up to the Season Opener. This is a great opportunity to see our athletes' progress from the beginning of the year" said Associate Head Coach David Shoehalter. "We realize that many of them will be tired from months of solid training, but it's important that we get some race experience now as we build up to more important meets later in the season."

The 2007-2008 women's sprint and field squads are full of untapped and young talent, which will look to its three returning Heptagonal Championship scorers (seniors Olakitan Awolesi, Catherine Bader and junior Jennifer Lin) as well as junior pole-vaulter Bryna Harrington, back from injury, for guidance through what could be a very exciting season. Senior J. Sterling Evans and junior Elizabeth Fulton also return to fill out the upperclassmen sprints.

Sophomore 500-meter school record holder Claudia Duncan headlines a sophomore class that, while injury riddled last year, comes into the first meet this year healthy. Sophomores Kristin Baxivanos, Bailey Carroll, Faith Briggs and Courtney Miller, joined by middle distance sophomores Stephany Reaves and Erin Walsh, constitute the core of a sophomore-heavy program.

Ten freshmen will get their first taste of collegiate track and field action on Saturday. Sprinter Constance Collins and middle distance runners Kate Grace and Erika Mansson are the exceptions in a field-oriented freshman class. Jumpers Emily Standish, Eve King, Ivuoma Onyeador, pole-vaulter Naomi Weiss-Goldman and throwers Stephanie Scaramella, Lydia Maurer and Rachel Kuschner form the bulk of the freshman class. Scaramella, Maurer and Kuschner are also the entire Bulldog throwing team.

"This is a great opportunity for the newcomers to get their feet wet", Assistant Coach Marc Davis said. "While we don't expect the fastest times from our athletes at this point in the season, we do expect them to compete hard."

After the Yale Season Opener, the Bulldogs will compete at the Yale Invitational, also at Coxe Cage, on January 12th.

Results will be available race-day at www.yalebulldogs.com.

report by Ted Galligan '10, Yale Sports Publicity