Bulldogs to Compete in World-Renowned Penn Relays

Samba Binagi. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Host Springtime Invitational on Sunday

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – As post-season nears, the Bulldogs will have one last week to compete before gearing up for Heptagonals Championships. The team has two meets this weekend, first traveling to Philadelphia with a select group competing in the Penn Relays, one of the world's most renowned track and field events. The rest of the team will compete in the Springtime Invitational at home on Sunday.

Head coach Marc Davis said the Bulldogs will have to prepare mentally for a meet as large-scale as the Penn Relays.

"We want to get good competitive efforts out of our athletes. It is a very different atmosphere than most athletes are used to. There is a lot going on around them, so trying to keep focused on the task at hand is key," Davis said.  

On Friday, the squad of senior captain Marty Evans, senior Nathan Molina, senior Chris Stanley, junior Matthew Bieszard and freshman Daniel Jones will take on the college division of the 4x100-meter relay in preliminaries, a race that includes Brown, Cornell, Penn and Princeton. This will be the team's first time competing since winning at Harvard-Yale. The eight fastest teams in each relay qualify for the Championship Final, the next eight fastest IC4A teams qualify for the IC4A Final, and the next eight fastest teams qualify for the College Final. The same group will also partake in the Heptagonal division of the 4x400-meter relay with all eight Ivy League schools on Friday afternoon.

The distance runners will also compete in several relays, the Championship division of the distance medley relay and the Championship division of the 4x800-meter relay. The distance medley relay team holds high expectations after a successful indoor season in which it took second at indoor Heptagonals and sixth at indoor IC4A Championships. Junior Julian Sheinbaum will start off with the 1200-meter leg, then Evans in the 400-meter, freshman James Shirvell in the 800-meter and senior John Van Deventer anchoring in the 1600-meter. This is also the only outdoor meet for the Bulldogs that holds the distance medley relay. On Saturday, Sheinbaum and Shirvell will team up with junior Charlie Jaeger and sophomore Christopher Ramsey in the 4x800-meter relay.

Several throwers will also have the opportunity to compete at the Penn Relays. Sophomore Mike Levine will compete in the Championship division of the discus again this season. Last year, Levine placed third with a breakthrough PR. Senior David Smith will also compete in the Eastern division of the shot put for the second year.

The Penn Relays, the longest uninterrupted collegiate track meet in the U.S. since 1895, takes place at UPenn's Franklin Field in Philadelphia. It is the best attended track and field meet in the U.S. as well as one of the best attended in the world. This year, the meet will draw over 22,000 entries and 110,000 spectators, with 48,000 expected to attend on Saturday alone.

Although not as huge as the Penn Relays, the Springtime Invitational still marks the end of the regular season and gives one last chance for quality performances before heading into Heptagonals.

"The main goal is to get everyone peaking at the right time," Davis said.

The distance runners had a solid performance at last week's Larry Ellis Invitational going into this weekend. Senior Matt Bogdan and junior Nathan Richards are both coming off PRs in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. In the 1,500-meter run, Van Deventer had a breakthrough race running a top-15 all-time Yale outdoor time and the 10th-fastest time in the league so far, as did senior Itse Begho and Sheinbaum who clocked in PRs and junior Conor Dooney who ran a season best. In the longer distances, sophomore Matthew Thwaites and freshman Ryan Laemel ran personal bests in the 5,000-meter run last week, while junior Samuel Lynch has been a consistent contender all season. 

In the sprints, Evans and Bieszard should take spots if they compete. Evans currently has the third-fastest time in the league for the 200-meter dash. Bieszard has been a force in the 100-meter dash, taking first at Harvard-Yale, as well as Molina and Jones. Stanley has also been a regular contributor in the 200-meter and 400-meter dashes.

In the field events, senior Samba Binagi looks strong in the triple jump after a second-place finish at Harvard-Yale, as well as sophomore Tommy Winger and freshman Dana Lindberg, who jumped PRs in the triple jump. Winger also had a PR in the long jump.    

Results of the Penn Relays will be posted on thepennrelays.com and Yalebulldogs.com after the meets. Results of the Springtime Invitational will be posted on Yalebulldogs.com. A complete schedule of the Penn Relays can be found here. A live blog is available at Pennrelaysonline.com. A complete schedule of the Springtime Invitational can be found here. Buses to the Dewitt Cuyler Athletic Field Complex will leave every half hour in front of Payne Whitney Gymnasium.

Report by Miriam Cho '13, Yale Sports Publicity