April 18, 2013

Bulldogs Head to Princeton for Larry Ellis Invitational

Massive Meet is Elis' Third Contest in One Week

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—After competing against Harvard last weekend and against Oxford and Cambridge on Tuesday, the Yale men's track and field team will make the short trek to Princeton this weekend for the annual Larry Ellis Invitational, one of the largest meets the Bulldogs compete in each year. The meet, which last year featured more than 2,000 athletes, provides an opportunity for the Elis to take on all of their Ivy League rivals, as well as a range of colleges from the Mid-Atlantic, New England and elsewhere. This year, more than 70 colleges are registered to compete, in addition to more than 25 track and field clubs. 

The invitational has certain entry standards to govern admission to the meet. Coach David Shoehalter, the Mark T. Young '68 Director of Cross Country and Track and Field, added that many of Yale's athletes that did qualify would still be "game-time decisions" due to the large amount of events in which the Bulldogs have competed recently. For the most part, however, Yale fans can expect to see a majority of Yale's finest student-athletes entered in their best events this weekend. All in all, the Elis are bringing 30 athletes to Princeton.

The Bulldogs are only slated to enter three athletes into two of the field events this weekend, but those athletes are some of their most accomplished. In the pole vault, the Elis will enter their stellar tandem of junior Paul Chandler and freshman Brendan Sullivan. Both had remarkable indoor seasons and have continued their success in the outdoor season—Chandler placed second at Harvard-Yale vs. Oxford-Cambridge on Tuesday, while Sullivan placed first against Harvard last weekend. In the long jump, junior Dana Lindberg will be the Bulldogs' sole representative. He has the Elis' best jump of the season (24'3.5"—7.40m) last weekend, setting a personal record in the process. 

Lindberg is arguably the Elis' most versatile athlete, and he will also be competing in the 200-meter dash and 4x100 meter relay. Lindberg is clearly at the top of his game outside of the long jump too, having also set a personal record in the 200-meter dash this season, after running a 22.16 at the Tribe Invitational and then a 22.12 (wind-aided) against Oxford and Cambridge. Lindberg's teammates in the 4x100 meter relay—the only relay event in which the Elis are competing this weekend—are scheduled to be junior Daniel Jones, sophomore William Rowe and junior Nnamdi Udeh. This is the same team that placed seventh (43.04) at the Sam Howell Invitational earlier this season, and they will hope to continue those kinds of positive results.

Jones, Rowe and Udeh are all also slated to compete in other events. For Jones and Udeh, that means the 100-meter dash. Jones has been a regular in the event throughout his career, and his time of 11.07 against Harvard was just shy of his personal best of 10.97 set at last year's Sam Howell Invitational. Udeh, on the other hand, has never run the 100-meter dash in college competition, although he has run the 4x100 meter relay, as he is doing this weekend, a handful of times. Rowe's other event is his specialty: the 400-meter hurdles. He set his personal best mark in the event (54.84) in a fifth-place finish at this year's Tribe Invitational and ran a similar time (54.97) against Oxford and Cambridge. Rowe is coming off back-to-back first-place finishes against Harvard and Oxford-Cambridge, and, if he can avoid fatigue, should be one to watch out for this weekend. 

In the 110-meter hurdles, the Elis' young duo of sophomore Daniel Kemp and freshman Adam Lundquist will continue to run the event, as they have for much of the season.

The Bulldogs' best event this weekend, however, may just be the 1,500-meter run, where they are entering athletes in both the standard and elite heats. In the elite heats, most of the Elis' top middle-distance stars are scheduled to run: senior Timothy Hillas, senior Sam Kirtner, sophomore John McGowan and junior James Shirvell. Shirvell has two first-place showings in the event already this season, setting a personal record at the Tribe Invitational and then breaking that record the very next weekend at the Raleigh Relays in North Carolina. McGowan, meanwhile, placed first in the event against Harvard last weekend and fourth against Oxford and Cambridge on Tuesday. Hillas and Kirtner have a combined three top-five finishes in the 1,500-meters this season, and Hillas is coming off a first-place race in the 5,000-meter run on Tuesday as well. Junior John Cocco, freshman Max Payson and senior Michael Pierce will represent the Bulldogs in the standard heats. 

The Bulldogs will enter their largest field in the 5,000-meter dash, where they have 10 athletes slated to compete. Freshman Kevin Dooney will get a shot, after running one of the top 10,000-meter times in Yale history at the Sam Howell Invitational. Senior Kevin Lunn will be seeking to beat his personal record of 14:29.18 in the 5,000-meters, which he set during the indoor season. Senior Demetri Goutos ran the event at last-year's outdoor Ivy League Championships, sophomore Matt Nussbaum ran an impressive time (14:27.13) in the event at the Raleigh Relays, and senior Matthew Thwaites placed 13th in the event at the Indoor Ivy League Championships in February. Others scheduled to run the event include junior Michael Cunetta, sophomore Tom Harrison, sophomore Isa Qasim, junior Miles Richardson and sophomore Jacob Sandry.

Freshman Duncan Tomlin will run the 3,000-meter steeplechase—an event in which the Bulldogs have usually not entered any athletes this season—after his surprising first-place showing (9:29.29) in the event against Harvard grabbed him attention from coaches and teammates. Sophomore Dylan Hurley will run the 400-meter dash, while sophomore Michael Grace, freshman Alexander McDonald and freshman Peter Merritt are scheduled to compete in the 800-meter run. 

The men's events will begin at noon on Friday with the heptathlon, and the Elis will begin competing with the 5,000-meter run at 5:30 p.m. The Bulldogs will get back to it on Saturday, starting with the 4x100 meter relay around noon and concluding with the 200-meter dash at 5:00 p.m. A full schedule of events can be found at http://www.directathletics.com/LarryEllisMeetInfo2.pdf?downloader=1&sport=track&meet_hnd=29305. Results will be available on www.yalebulldogs.com at the end of each day.

Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity