NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Despite the graduation of several talented athletes from last year, the Bulldogs are ready to challenge themselves again this season. After a respectable fourth-place finish at indoor Heptagonals Championships last year, the Bulldogs will continue working on dominating multiple events within their conference. As always, they expect to qualify a number of individuals for NCAA post-season meets; l ast season, five members advanced to the NCAA East Regional. The first meet of the indoor season, the Lidlifter Invitational, will take place at Coxe Cage on Dec. 5.
The Bulldogs have constantly excelled in the sprints and hurdles events in the past. In the 500-meter dash, seniors Remi Ray and David Soiles went third and fourth, respectively, at indoor Heptagonals last season. Ray also broke a long-standing Yale indoor record in the 500-meter dash with a time of 1:02.09 at the Boston University Terrier Invitational. Sophomore Matt Bieszard is coming off of a promising first season, setting the Yale freshman indoor record for the 400-meter dash in the finals of indoor Heptagonals last season. The Bulldogs also gain a new standout sprinter, freshman Josh Fuller, who was Washington's three-time state champion in the 100-meter dash and two-time champion in the 200-meter and 400-meter dashes. In the hurdles, senior Ted Galligan looks to progress even more after placing fourth in the 400-meter hurdles at outdoor Heptagonals last season. He will also compete in the 60-meter hurdles and 110-meter hurdles this year.
Senior Chris Labosky returns in the 800-meter run, having placed fifth at outdoor Heptagonals last year and qualifying for the NCAA Northeast Regional two years ago. Sophomore Andrew Esposito will also contribute in the 800-meter run, having competed in the event at last year's indoor Heptagonals. Coming off of a successful high school career in California, freshman Christopher Ramsey will also specialize in the mid-distance events. The Bulldogs will seek additional contributions from junior Itse Begho, sophomore Charlie Jaeger and freshman Timothy Hillas.
Despite the graduation of Jake Gallagher ‘09 and Murat Kayali ‘09, who went fifth and seventh, respectively, in the 1500-meter run at last year's outdoor Heptagonals, the Bulldogs return a youthful squad to compete in the distance events. Senior captain Jeff Perrella looks to excel in the 3,000-meter and 5,000-meter runs again this season. Perrella currently holds the eighth-fastest Yale time of 14:22 in the 5,000-meter run for outdoors. Junior Max Walden also earned All-East honors at indoor IC4As by placing sixth in the 5,000-meter run. In the 3,000-meter steeplechase, the Bulldogs return junior Matt Bogdan and sophomore Nathan Richards. Richards placed seventh at outdoor Heptagonals last year to qualify for the IC4As. In the shorter distances, senior Kevin Brown has scored in the mile at indoor Heptagonals for two years in a row. Sophomore Conor Dooney, who sat out last season because of an injury, is coming off of a strong cross-country season and will also contribute to the distance squad, as will sophomore Julian Sheinbaum.
Holmes will aim for the long jump title at the Ivy League Heptagonals this season after placing second for two years in a row. He earned All-Ivy honors with a season best of 7.14 meters at the conference meet; his personal best is currently 7.39 meters. Freshman Tommy Winger, who won Maine's state title in the long jump and finished sixth in the New England Outdoor Track Championships, will also specialize in that event. Senior Eric DePalo, who set the No. 2 all-time best Yale jump in the pole vault and qualified for the NCAA Division I Championships as a sophomore, should score big points throughout the season as well. The Bulldogs will also look to senior Bashir Adeniyi and sophomore Yifan Chen to compete in the jumps.
The Bulldogs have some big shoes to fill with the graduation of standout thrower Jeff Lachman ‘09. Last season, Lachman placed third in the discus throw at the NCAA Regional Championships and finished in the top 20 at the NCAA Division I Championships. The Bulldogs will now look to junior David Smith, who competed in the weight throw and shot put at last year's indoor Heptagonals. Freshman Mike Levine, who made the farthest throw in the discus for the state of New York last year, will also compete in the hammer and weight throws.
Both the 4x100 meter and 4x400 meter relays qualified for the outdoor IC4A Championships last season. The 4x100 meter relay team returns Holmes, junior Marty Evans and junior Chris Stanley. The squad placed third at outdoor Heptagonals last year with a season best of 41.55. The 4x400-meter relay team has an even larger pool of runners to choose from. At last season's indoor IC4A Championships, Ray, Soiles, Bieszard and Evans set the fourth-fastest time in the Yale record book for the 4x400 meter relay. The 4x800-meter relay team, which has placed second at indoor Heptagonals to earn All-Ivy honors for two consecutive seasons, also holds high expectations.
Report by Miriam Cho '13, Yale Sports Publicity