Shirvell Takes Third Place in 1,000-Meters on Day Two of Heps

James Shirvell (photo by Dan Grossman,
James Shirvell (photo by Dan Grossman,

Distance Medley and 4x440-Yard Relay Teams Score Too

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—The Yale men's indoor track and field team concluded its first postseason meet of the season on Sunday with a range of impressive performances at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships, including a third-place finish from junior James Shirvell in the 1,000-meter run. The Bulldogs finished eighth with 15.5 points, just behind Penn (28 points). Cornell won this year's meet (157 points), edging out Princeton (156 points). Harvard (86 points) took third.

After placing first in the 1,000-meter run prelims on Saturday with a time of 2:25.96, Shirvell placed third in the finals on Sunday with a time of 2:26.90. Shirvell trailed first-place finisher, Brown freshman Ned Willig, by just more than one second. Willig had the top 1,000-meter time in the Ivies this season, and the third-best time in the IC4A/ECAC region. Shirvell barely missed out on second place, finishing behind Cornell senior Nick Wade by approximately half a second. Shirvell now has a history of Heps success, as he finished second in the 1,000-meter run at Heps two years ago as a freshman. Shirvell has already qualified for the IC4As in the 1,000-meter run—in addition to the mile run and 800-meter run.

"I was a little disappointed, as I was going for a win in the 1000 meters," Shirvell said. "I thought that I put myself in an okay position with a lap to go, but just lost to two very talented runners." 

In addition to receiving six points for his third-place finish, Shirvell also added to the Bulldogs' tally as a member of their distance medley relay team, which—despite limited experience in the event this season—placed fifth with a time of 9:54.50. That time not only qualified the medley relay team of senior team captain Timothy Hillas, sophomore Dylan Hurley, sophomore John McGowan and Shirvell for the IC4As next weekend, but also secured the team a place in Yale's record books: their time was the 11th-fastest in Yale history. Harvard's final runner in the event, Maksim Korolev, just eked out Hillas by less than half a second to secure a fourth-place finish. Overall, the Elis' team trailed Princeton's—which placed first in the event—by less than two seconds. The performance was made even more notable by the fact that McGowan ran a strong opening leg of the relay, despite competing in the mile just a few hours earlier. 

After placing fifth in mile run prelims with a time of 4:10.39 on Saturday, McGowan, who has the seventh-fastest mile time in the Ivies this year, placed ninth with a time of 4:24.87 on Sunday. He nearly passed Dartmouth freshman Tim Gorman, who finished eighth, finishing just a few tenths of a second behind him.

Yale's final two points of the day came in the last event of the day: the 4x440 yard relay. The Bulldogs' team of junior Daniel Jones, sophomore Mario Kranjac, junior Nnamdi Udeh and sophomore William Rowe placed first in their heat and fifth overall with a time of 3:22.40. The relay team nearly qualified for the IC4As, finishing just more than a second too slowly. 

"The 4x440-relay team really stepped up today," Shirvell noted. "Everyone on that squad ran with a lot of heart."

The Elis' 4x880-yard relay team of junior John Cocco, freshman Max Payson, sophomore Michael Grace and senior Michael Pierce placed seventh and did not score, despite posting a solid time of 7:51.58. 

The Bulldogs also had a wide range of athletes competing in the finals of the 5,000-meter run. Kevin Dooney, one of two freshmen enlisted in the event, finished ninth in 14:33.36—a new personal best in the event that also qualified him for the IC4As. Senior Matthew Thwaites (14:46.97), senior Kevin Lunn (14:49.70), junior Michael Cunetta (14:54.15) and senior Demetri Goutos (15:13.66) placed 13th, 14th, 16th and 24th, respectively. Thwaites just missed out on qualifying for the IC4As, finishing less than two seconds slower than the meet's entry standard.

The Elis will seek to maintain their good form next weekend, as the postseason continues with the IC4A Championships in Boston on March 2-3. Thirteen Bulldogs have qualified for the meet, but it remains to be finalized who will make the trip back to Massachusetts  next weekend to represent the Elis.

"Next weekend should be exciting as we close out our indoor season," Shirvell added. "And hopefully we can have some personal records as a group."