May 22, 2012

Three Elis Bound for NCAA East Regional

Bieszard, Levine and Van Deventer Head to UNF for a Shot at Nationals

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Three members of the Yale men's track and field team – representing a diverse array of specialties – have obtained a coveted qualifying spot in the East Preliminary Round of the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Seniors Matthew Bieszard and John Van Deventer and junior Mike Levine earned their berths by each posting one of the 48 best marks in the East region in their respective events. The trio now will travel to the Jacksonville, Fla., campus of the University of North Florida to compete for a spot at Nationals.

Bieszard punched his ticket to Regionals on the merit of an outstanding performance in the 400-meter dash at Heps. After running a personal record in prelims, the team captain knocked more than a full second off of that time to finish second and attain second team All-Ivy honors. Bieszard's time of 46.92 ranks 34th among the 48 qualifiers in the event, and it is his first time reaching the Regional meet.

Levine, on the other hand, has already competed at the meet twice in the discus throw, and there was little doubt that he would make it again. His season-best of 53.79m (176'05") in that event, which won him a second consecutive Ivy League crown, is 23rd in the East region. But the junior has also qualified this year for the first time in the hammer throw, where his distance of 58.71m (192'07") stands 38th amongst the field.

Van Deventer is also no rookie at the meet, having advanced all the way to the NCAA quarterfinals in the 1500-meter run last year. In what has already been a storybook lead-up to the finale of his collegiate career, Van Deventer, just as he did in 2011, battled injuries and qualified for the East Preliminary Round at a last-chance meet less than two weeks ago. The fifth-year senior ran a heroic race at the Virginia Challenge in his only try of the season at the 1500-meter run. At 3:45.01, he enters the meet with the 30th-fastest qualifying time.

Competition begins on Thursday, May 24 and runs through Saturday, May 26. The first rounds of the 400-meter dash, discus throw and 1500-meter run all fall on the opening day of the meet, while the hammer throw begins on Friday.

Running events are divided into six heats, with the top three in each along with the six next best times advancing to the quarterfinals (for a total of 24). The top three runners in each of the three quarterfinal heats, along with the three next best times, will move on to Des Moines, Iowa, for the semifinals. For throwing events, 16 athletes will qualify for the quarterfinals, where they will be granted another three attempts to determine which 12 head to the national semifinals.

The meet website provides a complete list of qualifiers and seed times along with a full schedule of events. It will also be updated with live results and a video stream. Results will be posted on www.yalebulldogs.com following each day of competition.

Report by Eian Katz '13, Yale Sports Publicity