Team Rested and Ready for Season's Signature Event
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – After a weekend off, the Yale men's track and field team is tapered and in top form heading into this weekend's Ivy League Heptagonal Championships hosted by Cornell. The meet marks the beginning of the postseason for the Bulldogs, with the IC4A championships to follow. After a fourth-place finish in 2009, the Elis have fallen to eighth-place at the meet in each of the past two years. And yet, despite having one of the smallest rosters in the league, Yale boasts several of the top athletes in this year's contest, and will look to improve upon those results.
Senior captain Matthew Bieszard has a chance to reach the podium in several events. He enters the meet with the fifth-fastest time in the league in the 200-meter dash (22.05) and the second-fastest in the 400-meter dash (48.40) behind Princeton's Tom Hopkins, to whom he lost by a mere 0.19 seconds at the HYP meet. Bieszard's personal best in the 500-meter dash (1:03.69), which he recorded at this same meet last year, would stand as the top mark in this year's field.
Sophomore Dana Lindberg is also a threat to reach the final in multiple events. Lindberg is among the Ancient Eight's best in both the 200-meter dash (22.68) and long jump (6.94m), and brings an invaluable degree of versatility to the team. Sophomore Daniel Jones and freshman Daniel Kemp each came up with breakthrough performances in the short sprints at the HYP meet two weeks ago. Jones broke the seven-second barrier in the 60-meter dash (6.96), and Kemp scored a major PR in the 60-meter hurdles (8.58). Both will need to run as well or better if they have hopes of scoring on Sunday.
The middle distance and distance events have been a strength for the Elis all year, and at Heps they will face their strongest competition yet. Junior Timothy Hillas has emerged as a force in those races, holding the team's fastest times in both the mile run (4:08.43) and 3000-meter run (8:12.55). Sophomore Ryan Laemel (8:18.65) and junior Sam Kirtner (8:28.94) have also run IC4A-qualifying times in the latter event, while freshman John McGowan (4:11.16), sophomore Michael Pierce (4:15.29) and senior Julian Sheinbaum (4:12.51) have all clocked sub-4:16 mile times. Other middle distance runners with a chance to make an impact include freshman Michael Grace, senior Charlie Jaeger and junior Christopher Ramsey, who has qualified for IC4As in the 800-meter run (1:54.69).
Along with Lindberg in the long jump, Yale will be represented in the high jump by freshman Kyle Bajtos and in the pole vault by sophomore Paul Chandler, who has the potential to score. In the throwing events, junior Mike Levine (the reigning outdoor Ivy League champ in the discus) figures to be in the thick of things in the weight throw, and sophomore Stefan Palios will look for a big day in the shot put.
The two-day meet begins on Saturday at 11:00 a.m and runs until 4:15 p.m. Day one will feature prelims for all running events up to the mile run, along with most field events and the 3000-meter final. Those who qualify will compete again on Sunday in the finals of their events, along with the regularly scheduled finals in the 5000-meter run and the relay events.
Report by Eian Katz '13, Yale Sports Publicity