Bulldogs to Host Crimson in Annual Rivalry Meet

Nnamdi Udeh. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Nnamdi Udeh. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Elis Take on Harvard in First Ivy League Meet of Outdoor Season

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—After traveling to Princeton for the Sam Howell Invitational last weekend, the Yale men's track and field team will host Harvard at the Dewitt Cuyler Athletic Complex on Saturday. This weekend's meet will be the Bulldogs' first scored meet and first Ivy League meet of the outdoor season. The Elis will seek to match the types of performances they strung together in the annual meet from 2003 to 2010, when they defeated Harvard in eight consecutive years. Harvard, however, has beaten Yale each of the past two seasons—a streak the Bulldogs hope to end this Saturday. Although Yale's lineup will remain private until Saturday, the Elis should have most of their top athletes entered in their best events this weekend. 

Yale figures to pick up many of its points in the middle-distance events, where it has excelled so far this season. In the 1,500-meter run, four of the top nine Ivy League times posted this outdoor season come courtesy of the Bulldogs. Junior James Shirvell has the second-fastest time in the Ivies (3:49.26)—a personal record he set two weeks ago at the Raleigh Relays in North Carolina. Sophomore John McGowan is one of the Bulldogs' other top middle-distance threats. He placed second in the 1,500-meters at last year's Harvard-Yale meet without even running his top time. Senior Timothy Hillas, senior Sam Kirtner and sophomore Matt Nussbaum are also likely to take part in the event, and all should be threats to take some points. A similar group of runners—primarily Hillas, McGowan and Shirvell—are also the Elis' strongest 800-meter runners. The Bulldogs' strength in the middle-distance events could prove especially useful this weekend, as Harvard does not have any runners among the league's top 10 this year for the 1,500- and 800-meter runs.

In the 3,000-meter run, the longest event of the day, the Bulldogs' distance runners figure to shine bright. Those likely to compete in the event include Hillas, Nussbaum, senior Demetri Goutos and senior Matthew Thwaites. Hillas posted the Elis' top time—and his personal best—in the 3,000-meters during the Bulldogs' indoor season (8:11.35) and may compete in the 3,000-meters in lieu of one or both of the middle-distance races. Freshman Kevin Dooney and senior Kevin Lunn, two of the Elis' best 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter runners, could also compete. If active, Dooney is an athlete to watch. He followed up a dominant debut indoor campaign by placing fifth in the 10,000-meter run at the Sam Howell Invitational last weekend, posting the fifth-fastest time in Yale history in the process. 

In the short sprints, Yale's top scoring threats will be juniors Daniel Jones and Dana Lindberg. Jones typically runs both the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, while Lindberg specializes in the 200-meters. Lindberg set his personal record in the 200-meters (22.16) at the Bulldog's outdoor season opener a few weeks ago, while Jones has registered seventh- and 13th-place finishes in the 100-meter dash this outdoor season. The Bulldogs' short sprinters will have their work cut out for them, as they face Harvard junior Connor McCarthy, who has posted the top Ivy times this outdoor season in both the 100-meter (10.52) and 200-meter dashes (21.55). McCarthy placed first in the 100-meter dash at last year's Harvard-Yale meet.

Sophomore Dylan Hurley is usually the Elis' 400-meter dash representative. He ran the 400-meter leg for the distance medley relay team that won All-East honors at the indoor IC4As earlier this year. 

The Bulldogs also have three hurdlers who should see action this Saturday: sophomore Daniel Kemp, freshman Adam Lundquist and sophomore William Rowe. Kemp and Lundquist generally run the 110-meter hurdles, but it is possible they will compete in the 400-meter hurdles as well. Rowe, meanwhile, specializes in the 400-meter hurdles—an event he set his personal record in (54.84) a few weeks ago when he placed fifth at the Tribe Invitational.

The Elis also figure to enter a strong group in the field events. Most notably, senior Mike Levine, the reigning Ivy League discus champ, will likely lead the Bulldogs in the event. Levine's toss of 178'2" (54.30m) two weeks ago at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays was just barely shy of breaking his personal best. 

In the long jump, Lindberg and senior Tommy Winger will seek to add to the Bulldogs' point total. Remarkably, the versatile Lindberg has posted the ninth-best Ivy marks in both the 200-meter dash and long jump this outdoor season. Winger will be seeking to improve on his 11th-place finish at the Tribe Invitational earlier this year and may also compete in the triple jump.

The Elis' best all-around field event, however, may just be the pole vault, where the tandem of junior Paul Chandler and freshman Brendan Sullivan was a force to be reckoned with throughout the indoor season. Chandler has starred for most of the year as Sullivan was injured, but now both are healthy and ready to compete. Sullivan and Chandler placed fourth and fifth, respectively, at the Ivy League Indoor Championships. 

If active, junior Stefan Palios could represent the Bulldogs in the hammer throw and shot put, and he could even compete in the discus alongside Levine. 

Given that Harvard and Yale are the only two teams competing in this scored meet, the Elis will likely try out some athletes in events the team typically does not compete in at larger meets—namely the high jump, javelin throw and 3,000-meter steeplechase.

The Elis will also enter teams in both the 4x100 meter and 4x400 meter relays. Last weekend, the 4x100-meter relay team of Jones, Lindberg, Rowe and junior Nnamdi Udeh finished seventh in 43.04, just barely missing out on qualifying for the IC4As. Whether or not the team remains fully intact for this weekend remains to be seen, but it is likely that most of that team will compete in the event on Saturday. The Bulldogs entered two teams in the 4x400 meter relay last weekend, and the likes of Hurley, Rowe, Shirvell and Udeh are all possibilities to compete this weekend. 

Saturday's action will open with the field events at 1:00 p.m. and conclude with the men's 4x400 meter relay at 5:05 p.m. A full schedule of events can be found here. Results will be available on www.yalebulldogs.com following the conclusion of the meet.

Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity