Five Bulldogs Set Personal Records on Day Two of Annual Meet
NEW HAVEN, Conn.—After a strong opening performance on Friday, the Yale men's track and field team continued their impressive form on the second day of the annual Larry Ellis Invitational, hosted by Princeton. Five Bulldogs set personal-best times on Friday, and five more did so on Saturday, making this undoubtedly one of the strongest showings the Elis have put on thus far during the outdoor season.
The Bulldogs were competing in their third meet in the past week, and Coach David Shoehalter, the Mark T. Young '68 Director of Cross Country and Track and Field, said before the meet that many of Yale's athletes that managed to qualify for the Larry Ellis Invitational would be "game-time decisions" due to fatigue issues. Indeed, the Elis entered no athletes in field events this weekend, but the Bulldogs' track stars left Yale fans more than satisfied with several stellar performances.
Perhaps the most notable showing of the day was sophomore William Rowe's 10th-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles. Rowe finished in 54.24, breaking a personal record he had set earlier this season at the Tribe Invitational and recording the 14th-fastest time in Yale history in the event. Rowe, who finished first in his individual heat, was just 0.4 seconds shy of qualifying for the IC4As. Rowe now has seven top-ten finishes across all events this outdoor season, including two first-place finishes in the 400-meter hurdles.
Junior Dana Lindberg—whose main events are the long jump and 200-meter dash—competed only in the 200-meter dash on Saturday and represented the Bulldogs well. Finishing the race in 11th in 21.90, Lindberg easily broke his previous personal record in the event (a 22.16 that he set at the Tribe Invitational earlier this season) and fell just 0.1 seconds short of qualifying for the IC4As—a goal he should have a chance to attain if his times keep improving. Lindberg has been on a bit of a hot streak during the past week, placing second in the 200-meters and first in the long jump against Harvard and third in the 200-meters against Oxford and Cambridge.
Two more Elis set personal records in the 800-meter run. Freshman Alexander McDonald (1:54.14) placed 11th. McDonald was competing in just the fourth meet of his collegiate career. He has run the 800-meters three times this season, each time improving on his mark from the race before. Freshman Pete Merritt set a personal record as well, as he was competing in the event for the first time in his collegiate career. Merritt is typically known as a mid-range sprinter, but ran a slightly longer race on Saturday, finishing 2:02.86. Sophomore Michael Grace (1:57.21) finished 22nd overall, in between McDonald and Merritt.
The Bulldogs entered three more athletes in the 1,500-meter run and found some success there as well. Senior Michael Pierce (4:01.04) finished 24th, freshman Max Payson (4:09.66) finished 45th and junior John Cocco (4:11.75) outran his previous personal-best time by 0.6 seconds.
Juniors Daniel Jones and Nnamdi Udeh ran the shortest event of the day, the 100-meter dash, finishing 23rd and 25th, respectively. Sophomore Dylan Hurley ran the longest sprint of the day, the 400-meter dash, finishing in 50.63, close to his season-best time of 50.31. Hurley finished fourth in his heat and 21st overall.
The Bulldogs also entered a team in the 4x100 meter relay, where the team of Jones, Lindberg, Rowe and Udeh finished eighth in 43.01. This was the exact same team that finished in 43.04 at the Sam Howell Invitational a few weeks ago, and they appear to be the Elis' go-to team in the event.
The schedule for the Bulldogs does not lighten up from here, as the team will travel to Philadelphia for the prestigious Penn Relays on April 25-27 and return home immediately after to host the Yale Springtime Invitational on April 28. After that, the postseason will begin for the Bulldogs, with the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships back at Princeton.
Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity