Bulldogs to Open Outdoor Track Season at Tribe Invitational

James Shirvell. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
James Shirvell. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Elis Seek Seamless Transition to Outdoor Events

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—After a break from competition, the Yale men's track and field team will open its outdoor season this weekend at the Tribe Invitational, hosted by William & Mary. The Bulldogs competed at the Indoor IC4A Championships two weeks ago, where they concluded their indoor track season with a number of impressive showings, including their distance medley relay team's fifth-place finish—which earned them All-East honors. The Elis will head to Virginia this weekend, seeking to build on their previous success at the Tribe Invitational. The last time the Bulldogs took part in the meet was in 2011, when the Elis registered four individual first-place finishes, as well as first-place finishes in both the 4x100 and 4x400 meter relays.

While the Elis will be able to carry some of their momentum from the end of the indoor season over to the outdoor season, the outdoor meets include several different events from the indoor meets: namely, the 100-meter dash, 1,500-meter run, 10,000-meter run, 110-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles, 3,000-meter steeplechase, 4x100 meter relay, discus throw, hammer throw and javelin throw. 

The Elis' leading star in the field events is senior Michael Levine, who is not only the reigning Ivy League champ in the discus throw, but also the reigning third-place finisher in the hammer throw at outdoor Heps. Levine is coming off a strong indoor season which saw him nearly break his personal record in the weight throw (58'11.875"—17.98m) and record several first-place finishes.

Junior Paul Chandler and freshman Brendan Sullivan will lead the Bulldogs in the pole vault. Both had stellar indoor seasons. Chandler placed first in the pole vault at both Yale-Dartmouth-Columbia and HYP, fifth at Heps and ninth at the IC4As, increasing his personal record to 15'9" (4.8m) in the process. During the 2012 outdoor season, Chandler took eighth at Heps in the event. Sullivan, meanwhile, battled injury throughout much of the indoor season, but still managed a strong freshman showing, including a vault of 15'5" (4.7m) and a fourth-place finish at Heps. 

Junior Dana Lindberg and senior Tommy Winger will likely represent the Bulldogs in the long jump. Lindberg placed first in the event at Yale-Dartmouth-Columbia during the most recent indoor season and third at the Harvard-Yale meet last outdoor season. Winger placed fifth at the Harvard-Yale meet last season and, like Lindberg, had a strong indoor season.

In the javelin throw, junior Clifford Van Meter should be the Elis' ace, with second and fourth-place finishes at the Harvard-Yale meet and Yale Springtime Invitational, respectively, during the last outdoor season. Van Meter will seek to improve on his personal record of 161'1" (49.10m) in the event, set at the Harvard-Yale meet last season, where he placed second overall. 

The Bulldogs' top athletes in the shot put are a pair of juniors—Mark Kaczor and Stefan Palios. Palios set his personal record in the event during his freshman indoor season (48'5"—14.76m), and he will seek to reach that mark once again during the upcoming outdoor season. Palios competed only once during the indoor season, placing second in the shot put at Yale-Dartmouth-Columbia. He also frequently represents the Elis in the discus throw (in which he placed 11th at Heps during the last outdoor season) and hammer throw (in which he placed fifth at Harvard-Yale last year). Kaczor placed third in the shot put at Yale-Dartmouth Columbia during the indoor season. During the last outdoor season, Kaczor placed fifth in the shot put and sixth in the discus throw at Harvard-Yale.

The triple jump will likely be the domain of Winger, the long jumper, both this weekend and this season. Winger has competed in the triple jump sporadically throughout his collegiate career, registering both fourth and third-place finishes in the Harvard-Yale outdoor meet over the past two seasons. The Elis have no real specialist in the high jump, although it is possible freshman Pete Merritt will see some action in the event. 

Merritt also competes in the longer sprints and might compete in the 400-meter dash this weekend. The Elis' top long sprinters are likely to be three sophomores: Dylan Hurley, Mario Kranjac and William Rowe, who actually specializes in the 400-meter hurdles. Hurley and Rowe had especially successful indoor campaigns this year, as Rowe set a personal record in both the 400-meter (50.26) and 500-meter (1:04.90) dashes and Hurley claimed All-East honors as a member of the distance medley relay team that placed fifth at the IC4As.

In the short sprints, two juniors will lead the way: Daniel Jones and Lindberg. Jones set a personal record in the 200-meter dash during the indoor season (22.39), and his 60-meter dash time of 6.97 at Heps was just .01 seconds behind his all-time best. He capped off his indoor season by qualifying for the IC4As for the second year in a row. Lindberg, the Bulldogs' top long jumper, is also very skilled in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes. During the 2012 outdoor season, Lindberg placed fifth in the 100-meter dash at the Harvard-Yale meet. 

The Bulldogs' greatest strength, however, might just be the middle-distance events. Senior team captain Timothy Hillas is versatile and can compete in the 800-meter, 1,500-meter and 3,000-meter runs. He competed in the 1,500-meter run at both Heps and the IC4As during the 2012 outdoor season and set a personal record in the 3,000-meters (8:11.35) during the most recent indoor season.

If the indoor season is any indication, junior James Shirvell might just be the Elis' top individual runner. Shirvell qualified for the indoor IC4As in three separate individual events and placed third in the 1,000-meter run at Heps. All in all, Shirvell registered seven top-three finishes during the indoor season. Sophomore John McGowan is one of the Elis' top threats in both the 800-meter and 1,500-meter runs, and he registered a remarkable 11th-place finish in the 1,500-meters at last year's outdoor IC4As. 

Senior Sam Kirtner and sophomore Matt Nussbaum—both members of the All-East-honoree distance medley relay team—could also see action in the 1,500-meter and 3,000-meter runs. The Elis will also seek contributions in the middle-distance events from the likes of senior Demetri Goutos, sophomore Michael Grace, freshman Max Payson and senior Michael Pierce.

In the long-distance runs, the Bulldogs will likely look to freshman Kevin Dooney, senior Kevin Lunn and senior Matt Thwaites. Dooney placed ninth in the 5,000-meter run at Heps (14:33.36) and ninth in the 3,000-meter run at the IC4As (8:15.41) during the indoor season. Meanwhile, Lunn placed 15th in the 10,000-meters (31:18.56) at outdoor Heps last season, just behind Thwaites, who placed 12th with a time of 31:05.30. 

The Bulldogs also return three of the four athletes from the relay team that competed in both the 4x100 and 4x400 meter relays at Heps during the 2012 outdoor season: Hurley, Jones and junior Nnamdi Udeh. In addition, Kranjac and Rowe both often compete in the 4x400 meter relay, while Lindberg frequently runs in the 4x100 meter relay.

Sophomore Daniel Kemp and freshman Adam Lundquist will specialize in the 110-meter hurdles this season, after both completed strong indoor seasons in the 60-meter hurdles. 

This weekend's festivities will open on Friday afternoon, with the men's hammer throw at 4:00 p.m.  Friday will also see the completion of the 10,000-meter run at 8:00 p.m. The rest of the events will be held on Saturday—men's events will begin at 11:30 a.m. with the javelin throw and end at 4:15 p.m. with the 4x400 meter relay. A full schedule of events can be found here. Full results will be available Saturday after the meet at www.yalebulldogs.com.  

Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity