Freshmen Shine on Day Two of Sam Howell Invitational

Daniel Jones. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Daniel Jones. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Eight Bulldogs Achieve Top-Ten Finishes Amidst a Massive Field

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—After a strong, nearly record-setting performance in the 10,000-meter run on Friday from freshmen Kevin Dooney, the other freshmen on the Yale men's track and field team posted some impressive performances of their own on Saturday.

Freshman Ahmad Aljobeh, running the 1,500-meters for the first time in his young collegiate career and competing in his first meet since October, placed 11th with a time of 4:00.46—just beating out his teammate, senior Michael Pierce (4:01.95). Another freshman, Max Payson, finished in 4:04.80. Payson was also competing in the event for the first time. 

The Elis' young legs also made their mark in the 110-meter hurdles, where sophomore Daniel Kemp (15.62) and freshman Adam Lundquist (15.94) placed 10th and 12th, respectively. Both just barely missed out on qualifying for the IC4As in the event.

In the 800-meter race, Alexander McDonald continued the pattern of freshman success, running a 1:55.74 and placing ahead of senior Sam Kirtner (1:56.07), sophomore Michael Grace (1:57.86) and senior Michael Pierce (1:58.17). 

But it was the more experienced runners who ran the Elis' three fastest 800-meter times of the day. Junior James Shirvell, who competed in the event at the indoor IC4As in March, ran a 1:52.48 on Saturday, just barely slower than the Elis' season-best 800-meter time (1:52.31) he posted during the indoor season. He finished eighth overall. Two of the Bulldogs' other middle-distance stars—senior Timothy Hillas (1:52.89) and sophomore John McGowan (1:53.87)—finished just behind Shirvell, in tenth and 13th, respectively.

William Rowe, meanwhile, continued to build on his strong sophomore campaign, completing the 400-meter hurdle in 55.01, nearly breaking his own personal record which he set just two weeks ago at the Tribe Invitational. Rowe finished tenth in the event. Kemp, who competed in both hurdling events this weekend, posted a time of 59.58. 

The Bulldogs posted a pair of 13th-place finishes in the two shorter sprints. In the 100-meter dash, junior Daniel Jones (11.25) was just a few tenths of a second shy of breaking his personal record in the event. In addition to Jones' 13th-place finish, freshman Martin Tolentino (11.77) represented the Bulldogs well, finishing 24th. In the 200-meter dash, it was junior Dana Lindberg—who placed seventh in the high jump yesterday—who placed 13th in 22.39. Jones (22.64) finished right behind him. Sophomore Dylan Hurley ran the 400-meter dash in 51.53, placing 32nd.

The Elis top performance of the day, however, may have come in the 4x100 meter relay, where the team of junior Nnamdi Udeh, Jones, Lindberg and Rowe finished seventh in 43.04. Although the relay team missed out on qualifying for the IC4As by just .14 seconds, the strong showing should serve as a confidence boost for the Bulldogs when they compete in the event at future meets. 

The Bulldogs also entered two teams in the 4x400 meter relay. The team of Hurley, Jones, Rowe and Udeh finished 16th (3:25.07), while the secondary team of freshman Peter Merritt, Grace, McDonald and Shirvell finished 20th (3:29.34).

This weekend's meet served as a final warm-up for the Bulldogs going into their Ivy League competition. Next weekend, the Elis will host Harvard in an annual rivalry meet on April 13. 

Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity