Hillas, Shirvell Make Mark in Yale History as Bulldogs Roll on Day Two of Giegengack

MIchael Pierce (photo by Dan Grossman, Mapleleafphotos.com)
MIchael Pierce (photo by Dan Grossman, Mapleleafphotos.com)

Bulldogs Put on Another Well-Rounded Team Performance as Hillas Qualifies for IC4As 

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—After a strong performance Friday evening saw the Yale men's indoor track and field team take the top five spots in the 5,000-meter run, the Bulldogs did not let up on day two of the Giegengack Invitational on Saturday, registering two first-place finishes and numerous other impressive performances. Incredibly, both senior Timothy Hillas and junior James Shirvell entered the Yale history books with their performances on Saturday.

Competitors from the many regional schools that showed up to the meet proved no match for Hillas, who put on a performance to remember in the 3,000-meter run on Saturday. Hillas finished in 8:11.35, taking first place in the event by nearly 16 seconds, while setting a personal record, qualifying for the IC4As and registering the sixth-best 3,000-meter time in Yale history in the process. Hillas, who was promoted to team captain at the beginning of this season, was competing in the 3,000-meter run for the first time this year, but the rust—if there was any—certainly did not show in his record-setting performance.

Meanwhile, Shirvell—already an IC4A qualifier in both the 800-meter and 1,000-meter runs—took first in the 1,000-meter run on Saturday with a time of 2:26.08, the 15th-best time in Yale history. Shirvell barely beat his previous season-best time of 2:26.57, set in the Bulldogs' season opener.

Other top finishers of the day included junior Paul Chandler, sophomore Dylan Hurley and junior Daniel Jones. Chandler continued his terrific season with a fourth-place finish in the pole vault following his vault of 14'9" (4.5m). Chandler has been on a tear lately, and his vault of 15'5" (4.7m) just last weekend at the Terrier Invitational is tied for the sixth-best mark in Yale history. Hurley, meanwhile, took fourth in the 500-meter dash with a time of 1:05.51. Hurley's times in the 500-meter dash have steadily decreased throughout his collegiate career, and his time on Saturday marks his new personal record in the event. As the Bulldogs' final individual top-four finisher of the day, Jones followed up a sixth-place finish in the 200-meter dash Friday evening with a second-place finish in the 60-meter dash prelims (7.11) and a third-place finish in the finals (7.12) on Saturday. 

The Elis did, however, register one more top-three finish—in the 4x400 meter relay. Yale's team of Hurley, sophomore Mario Kranjac, sophomore William Rowe and junior Nnamdi Udeh finished in 3:20.42 to take third place.

A pair of the Bulldogs' 4x400-meter relay team members also contributed in the 400-meter dash. Rowe and Udeh secured seventh and 11th place in the event, with times of 50.26 and 50.73, respectively. 

Sophomore Michael Grace, meanwhile, represented the Bulldogs well in the 800-meter dash, and his time of 1:55.58 was good enough for a seventh-place finish and was just short of qualifying him for the IC4As.

Young legs also did the Elis well in the 60-meter hurdles, where freshman Adam Lundquist (8.71) and sophomore Daniel Kemp (8.84) placed eighth and 11th in prelims. Lundquist went on to the finals, placing seventh with a time of 8.79. 

Yale also benefitted from strong showings by senior Michael Pierce—whose time of 4:19.98 secured him 11th place in the mile run—and junior Mark Kaczor—who placed 17th in the shot put. Junior John Cocco placed 11th in the 1,000-meter dash, behind Shirvell.

From here on, the pressure and intensity should only mount for the Bulldogs. This weekend's meet served as final preparation for the Harvard-Yale-Princeton rivalry meet, to be held next Saturday at Princeton. After that, the Bulldogs will have a week off before traveling to Harvard for the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships on Feb. 23 and 24. 

Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity


This meet is named in honor of legendary Yale track and field coach Bob Giegengack. In his 29 years at Yale, the USA Track and Field Hall of Famer led the Elis to 183 victories, four IC4A titles and 13 outdoor and four indoor Heptagonal championships. Teacher, coach, philosopher, tireless storyteller and international leader in track and field, Giegengack spent more than 40 fruitful, exciting years in a career he loved. Helping talented young people to excel, both in their sport and in their studies, met his highest ideals. He trained his athletes, encouraged them and taught them strategies for success, always with the goal of mens sana in corpore sano—a healthy mind in a healthy body. He demanded the best effort possible from each athlete, not just for the sake of individual achievement, but also for the good of the team. Beginning with his high school students at Brooklyn Prep, then at Fordham and Yale, and even as an Olympic coach in Melbourne (1956) and Tokyo (1964), "Gieg" worked to fulfill his personal ideals as a teacher, mentor and competitor. After his retirement in 1976, he coached Yale's first women's track and field team. The Giegengack legacy of talent, devotion and high ideals lives on at Yale today.