Bulldogs Prepared for a Busy Weekend of Travel and Competition

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

Elis to Travel to Philadelphia for Historic Penn Relays on Thursday Before Hosting Yale Springtime Invitational on Sunday

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—After a hectic week last week that included the Harvard-Yale rivalry meet, the biennial Oxford-Cambridge meet and the annual Larry Ellis Invitational, the Yale men's track and field team will continue with its busy schedule this weekend. On Thursday through Saturday, the Elis will be in Philadelphia for the 119th annual Penn Relays, and the Bulldogs will follow up the meet by hosting the Yale Springtime Invitational on Sunday.

Both events are of much significance for the Bulldogs. The Penn Relays are the oldest track and field competition in the country, and the Elis will be matched up against some of the world's finest track and field athletes in front of tens of thousands of spectators and fans. The meet is quite selective, and only the Bulldogs' top athletes are making the trip to Philadelphia this week. The Yale Springtime Invitational, meanwhile, will provide the Elis with a chance to focus on more regional competition while serving as meet hosts for the first and only time this outdoor season. 

The Bulldogs are bringing 11 athletes to the Penn Relays. Of these 11, three—senior Mike Levine, junior Dana Lindberg and freshman Brendan Sullivan—will be entered in field events. Levine, the reigning Ivy League discus champ, will compete in the discus. His best toss this season (178'2"—54.30m) was just shy of his personal best, and, in his final season, he will seek to improve on his 13th-place finish at last year's Penn Relays. Levine has competed in the discus four times this season, finishing first three times.

Sullivan will lead the way for the Elis in the pole vault. Despite fighting through injury early in the year, Sullivan managed a second-place finish at the Yale Season Opener, a second-place finish at Harvard-Yale-Princeton, a fourth-place finish at the Ivy League Championships and a remarkable first-place showing against Harvard two weeks ago. 

Lindberg, a long jumper, has been one of the Bulldogs' stars as of late, and he will seek to continue his hot streak in Philadelphia. He has competed in the long jump three times during the outdoor season, recording three top-ten finishes, two top-five finishes and one first-place finish against Harvard. In fact, his jump of 24'3.5" (7.40m) against Harvard was his personal best.

But much of Lindberg's success this season has actually come outside of the long jump. As a result, he is also entered in the 4x100 meter relay this weekend, making him the only Bulldog to be entered in multiple events—quite an accomplishment at the fabled Penn Relays. Lindberg has been excellent in the short sprints this season and actually set his personal record in the 200-meter dash (21.90) at the Larry Ellis Invitational last weekend. 

Lindberg's teammates in the 4x100 meter relay will be sophomore Dylan Hurley, junior Daniel Jones and sophomore William Rowe. Hurley is the Elis' 400-meter dash specialist and has yet to compete in the 4x100 meter relay this outdoor season. Hurley does have a history of success in relay events, however, as he was a member of the distance medley relay team that placed fifth at the Indoor IC4As this year and even the 4x100-meter relay team that finished fifth at last year's Ivy League Championships. Jones is the Bulldogs' top competitor in the 100-meter dash, and he was a member of the 4x100-meter relay team that placed eighth at the Larry Ellis Invitational last weekend. Rowe, who has been a star in the 400-meter hurdles this year, was also a member of that team. In fact, this weekend's 4x100-meter relay team will be the exact same as the one that ran a 43.01 last weekend, with the exception of Hurley replacing junior Nnamdi Udeh, who is not traveling to Philadelphia this weekend.

The Bulldogs will also enter a very talented team in the 4xMile relay, an event in which the Elis have yet to compete this season. But given the Elis' trend of strong middle-distance finishes all season long, they should have a chance to make some noise this weekend. Senior team captain Timothy Hillas will compete, coming in with a personal-best mile time of 4:05.43 set during the past indoor season at the Terrier Classic. Sophomore John McGowan comes in with a personal best of 4:04.70, also set at the Terrier Classic. Hillas and McGowan placed 11th and 13th, respectively, in the 1,500-meter run (just under a mile) at the Larry Ellis Invitational. Sophomore Matt Nussbaum has a little less relevant experience, as he is typically a longer-distance runner—although he did place second in the 1,500-meter run against Harvard this season. The last member of the team is junior James Shirvell, who placed sixth in the 1,500-meters at Larry Ellis (running the 10th-fastest time in Yale history) and has recorded top-ten finishes in eight of the nine events he has competed in this outdoor season. 

Finally, freshman Kevin Dooney will get his first chance to compete at the Penn Relays this weekend, as he is entered in the 5,000-meter run. Dooney has run this race only three times during his young collegiate career. He did, however, run the fifth-fastest 10,000-meter race in Yale history a few weekends ago, proving that he has what it takes to finish highly this weekend.

Most of the athletes who are slated to compete in Philadelphia will likely not compete at the Yale Springtime Invitational on Sunday, making this second meet a prime opportunity for younger, less-experienced runners to make their mark. 

As for the Penn Relays, with the exception of Dooney—whose race is on Thursday—all the Elis will be competing on Friday and Saturday. A full schedule of events is available at http://pennrelaysonline.com/Results/schedule.aspx?l=CM. All events at the Yale Springtime Invitational will take place on Sunday, beginning at 10:00 a.m. with the discus throw and ending in the afternoon with the 4x800 meter relay. A full schedule of events for that meet can be found at http://static.psbin.com/r/9/1ju89rrw6lmz7l/2013InformationSheet.pdf. Results will be posted at www.yalebulldogs.com at the conclusion of each day of action.

Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity