Competitive Fires Ablaze for HYP Showdown

Mario Kranjac. (Photo by Tom Cable)

Rivalry Meet Serves as Final Tune-Up for Heps

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – As the postseason looms, this Saturday presents the Yale men's track and field team with its annual grudge match against Ivy League rivals Harvard and Princeton. The latter has dominated the meet since joining the tradition seven years ago, and is considered the odds-on favorite to repeat its victory in the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships this year. Meanwhile, Yale and Harvard have historically been evenly matched. The Crimson, who will play host this year, topped the Bulldogs in each of the past two years, reversing a nearly decade-long streak of Yale triumphs prior.

If they are to change that, the Elis will need strong showings from senior captain Matthew Bieszard and the rest of their sprinters. Bieszard was second at last weekend's Giegengack Invitational in both the 200-meter dash (22.24) and 500-meter dash (1:04.45), and he enters the meet with the second-fastest time in the field this season in both events.

Along with Bieszard, freshmen Dylan Hurley, Mario Kranjac and William Rowe and sophomore Clifford Van Meter will also represent the Bulldogs in the 400-meter and 500-meter dashes.

Sophomores Daniel Jones (7.03) and Dana Lindberg (7.19), each of whom set personal records in the 60-meter dash last weekend, will face a tough test in the short sprints against a trio of Harvard athletes who have run under seven seconds in that race. Jones (22.77) and Lindberg (22.68) also own 200-meter dash times strong enough to make them competitive at that distance.

Junior weight thrower Mike Levine will also square off against a strong Harvard contingent, two of whom have thrown over 17 meters. Levine has not yet hit that mark this season, but last year had a breakout performance at this meet when he threw 17.60m.

Yale's jumpers have made tremendous strides over the past couple of weeks, and none more so than sophomore pole vaulter Paul Chandler. Chandler leaped 4.50m last week in a winning effort, and will look to challenge Princeton's David Slovenski, who currently holds the best mark among IC4A competitors. Lindberg also turned in his best long jump of the season last week (6.94m), while freshman Kyle Bajtos posted a solid 1.84m in the high jump.

The middle distance and distance events will pit the Bulldogs against many members of the Princeton cross country team which was ranked as high as ninth nationally in 2011. Nonetheless, the Elis have shown tremendous promise and depth in those events. Juniors Timothy Hillas (8:12.55) and Sam Kirtner (8:28.94) have already qualified for the IC4A meet in the 3000-meter run, while Hillas, freshman John McGowan, sophomore Michael Pierce and senior Julian Sheinbaum have all run sub-4:16 in the mile run (with Pierce winning the event at the Giegengack). Other middle distance runners with a chance to make an impact include freshman Michael Grace, senior Charlie Jaeger and junior Christopher Ramsey, who last week qualified for IC4As in the 800-meter run (1:54.69).

Field events begin on Saturday at noon, and running events start at 2:00 p.m. The final gun goes off at 4:35 p.m. for the 4x800-meter relay. Full results will be available on www.yalebulldogs.com.

Report by Eian Katz '13, Yale Sports Publicity