Historic Meet Attracts World-Class Athletes
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Several members of the Yale men's track and field team have earned the right to represent the university in competition at the fabled Penn Relays, which begin on Thursday. The meet is the oldest track and field competition in the United States, running continuously since 1895. Over the course of three days, cumulative attendance regularly exceeds 100,000 spectators and the meet features some of the best athletes in the world.
The Bulldogs will send their 4x200-meter, 4x400-meter and distance medley relay teams along with three individuals to Philadelphia. The Elis have competed in neither the 4x200-meter relay nor the distance medley relay this year outdoors, but have selected a strong group of runners for both races.
Senior captain Matthew Bieszard, who two weeks ago ran a personal record of 47.98 in the 400-meter run, will anchor both the 4x200-meter and All-East 4x400-meter relay teams. Joining him in the shorter race will be the other members of the Yale 4x100-meter relay team that strung together its best performance of the season last weekend: freshman Dylan Hurley and sophomores Daniel Jones and Nnamdi Udeh. In the latter event, Bieszard will be accompanied by the regular crew of Hurley, freshman Mario Kranjac and freshman William Rowe. That team placed second at the IC4A Indoor Championships and has run a time of 3:14.06.
Rowe will also run the 400-meter run as a member of the distance medley team, along with a trio of middle distance aces. Sophomore half-miler James Shirvell returned from injury only a couple of weeks ago, but proved that he has not lost a step by posting a time of 1:52.69 in the 800-meter run last weekend. Meanwhile, freshman John McGowan will represent the Elis in the 1200-meter component of the race, a distance he has not yet run this year. Based on his performance in the 1500-meter run, in which he has improved in every single outing this year, he should be able to have the Bulldogs in a strong position heading into the anchor leg, which will be run by junior Timothy Hillas. Hillas cut more than five seconds off of his personal best last weekend to qualify for IC4As in the 1500-meter run with a time of 3:48.12.
In addition to its relay teams, three Elis will compete individually. Junior Mike Levine threw his personal record of 54.41m in the discus at the Penn Relays as a freshman to take third place. To reach the podium this year, he will have to exceed his current season-best of 51.78m, and he clearly has the potential to do so.
Senior Nathan Richards has also qualified in the 3000-meter steeplechase, an event for which he went to NCAA Regionals last year. Richards' best time this year (9:05.08) is not far off from the time that took him to that destination last year (8:54.15), and he will be looking to punch his return ticket this weekend against some of the strongest competition he will face all year.
Finally, sophomore Paul Chandler will compete in the pole vault, entering with a best leap of 4.65m.
Also on the docket this weekend is the Yale Springtime Invitational, for which the Bulldogs will rest many of its premier runners, allowing an opportunity for its underclassmen and graduating seniors to shine in the final home meet of the season. In particular, many Yale runners who have not raced much this season will get a chance in the middle distance and distance runners. Sophomore John Cocco, senior Conor Dooney, freshman Michael Grace and senior Julian Sheinbaum will all run the 800-meter run; freshman Tom Harrison, senior Jake McKenzie, freshman Matt Nussbaum and Sheinbaum will race in the 1500-meter run; sophomore Michele Gama Sosa, Harrison and senior Samuel Lynch will all try the 5000-meter run for the first time this season.
Freshman Daniel Kemp will compete in the 110-meter high hurdles, but most of Yale's other sprinters and hurdlers are questionable depending on how they feel after Penn Relays.
Junior Mark Kaczor and sophomore Stefan Palios will compete in both the shot put and discus throw, and Palios will also compete in the hammer throw. Rounding out the field events will be sophomore Clifford Van Meter in the javelin throw, Chandler in the pole vault, and junior Tommy Winger in the long jump.
With the exception of Richards (who will race on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.), the all Elis competing in the Penn Relays will compete on Friday, beginning with the discus at 1:30 p.m. and ending with the 4x400-meter relay at 5:15 p.m. Results will be available afterwards at www.thepennrelays.com and at www.yalebulldogs.com. The Yale Springtime Invitational will be on Saturday, with running events beginning at 11:00 a.m. Meet information and a full schedule of events is available here and results will be available afterwards on www.yalebulldogs.com.
Report by Eian Katz '13, Yale Sports Publicity