NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- At the annual track and field banquet honoring athletes' accomplishments during the recent campaign, the Yale women's track and field team elected junior Natasha Feshbach to lead the team next season.
Fresh off the thrill of the Ivy League Championship and the grind of finals, the Bulldogs met for an evening of recognition of the 2019-2020 season at Carol Roberts Field House. Per tradition, the first event on the agenda is to select the coming season's captain by a team-wide vote. Multi-event athlete and California native Feshbach was selected as the team captain for the 2019-2020 indoor and outdoor seasons.
Feshbach holds a unique position on the team as the only multi-event athlete, arguably one of the most challenging events in all of track and field. In the multis, she has to develop expertise across all the events: jumps, throws, and running events. What is more, during a full heptathlon, she has to compete in seven events over the course of a competition, while most athletes generally compete in less than three on a normal competition day.
Not only does Feshbach compete in an intensely challenging event, but she is committed to succeeding at the highest tier of Division I athletes. Mark T. Young '68 Director of Track and Field David Shoehalter has observed the ways in which her commitment extends beyond herself.
"[Feshbach] has an intense desire for success not just for herself but for the entire roster," Shoehalter says. "She holds herself to a high standard in everything she does."
Feshbach's physical and mental toughness as a multi-event athlete has carried over to other aspects of her life. In addition to balancing the commitments of a student-athlete at Yale, she has also developed her leadership skills off the track as the co-president of the Yale Women's Athletic Council (YWAC), the brainchild of current captain Emma Lower '19.
Lower sees this as a strength as Feshbach inherits the roles and responsibilities of team captain.
"She has done an incredible job gathering support and building internal leadership in YWAC, and I know she will translate that experience into her role as captain," Lower said.
Despite struggling with a nagging injury that kept her sidelined during the indoor season, Feshbach displayed commitment and determination with her return to competition toward the end of the outdoor season.
Through the frustrations of injury, Feshbach remained a foundational member of the Yale women's track and field team, which did not go unnoticed by her teammates.
"Although she was injured, she fully committed herself to the athletics community," Lower noted. "[Feshbach] continued to be a positive presence for the team throughout the season, and cheered at away meets when she wasn't competing."
Nor is Feshbach letting the challenges of injury dampen her spirits: "My collegiate career has been a bit derailed with the ups and downs of injuries, but I am coming back full of spirit, ready for redemption for myself and success for this team."
The team is coming off improvements in performances in the Ivy League Championship meets. Multiple school records fell during the indoor and outdoor season, and more Bulldogs earned All-Ivy distinction than have in recent memory. However, Feshbach still recognizes that there is more work to be done.
"The team is so close to a breakthrough in the league and there are some big goals we can achieve this coming year," Feshbach noted.
Lower also sees Feshbach as up for the task for rallying such a large roster around a common cause. Lower is "confident that the positive momentum we built this year will expand even further under Feshbach's leadership."
In the work that is yet to come, Shoehalter is looking forward to what will come with the new leadership. "I am excited about working with [Feshbach] as we begin to prepare for next year."
Feshbach's belief in the Yale women's track and field team will embolden her to lead the team to big things for the next indoor and outdoor seasons.
"I am so honored to be elected and to have the opportunity to lead such a strong and empowering group of women," Feshbach explained. "I am in awe of each and every woman's hard work and dedication to our sport and to their teammates… and I am thrilled for what's in store over the next year."
Feshbach is an Environmental Studies major and member of Grace Hopper College.
Report by Gabrielle Rinne '19, Yale Sports Publicity.