Shirvell Named Captain for Upcoming Season

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

Middle-Distance Star to Lead Bulldogs Next Year

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—At the annual Yale men's track and field team banquet on Tuesday, junior James Shirvell received the honor of being elected by his teammates to serve as team captain for the 2013-2014 season. Over the course of the past season, Shirvell has developed into not only the Bulldog's best middle-distance runner, but also a regional star.

David Shoehalter, the Mark T. Young '68 Director of Cross Country and Track and Field, believes that the team made a strong choice by electing Shirvell. 

"James is the epitome of a quiet leader," Shoehalter said. "The hard work and determination he's shown throughout his career make him a great choice to lead our team in 2013-14. I'm excited for both him and the team."

For his part, Shirvell is excited to take on the new responsibilities of being captain. 

"I knew that it was a possibility for me to be elected and was of course very happy when I heard the news," he said. "I was not expecting it, as there were many qualified candidates. So to be elected captain in a great pool of candidates is amazing. [Current team captain Timothy Hillas] is one of my closest friends, so it feels great to step into his role next year."

Shirvell has been a busy man this season, competing in a range of events, including the 800-meter, 1,000-meter, 1,500-meter and mile runs, as well as the 4x400, 4x800, 4xMile and distance medley relays. After a strong sophomore campaign that saw him place 13th in the 800-meter run at the outdoor Ivy League Championships and 26th at the IC4As, Shirvell opened his junior year with a bang, placing first in the 1,000-meter run at the Yale Season Opener. He went on to record eight top-five finishes during the indoor season alone before placing first in prelims and third overall in the 1,000-meter run at the Ivy League Championships. 

Shirvell then carried that dominance over to the outdoor season, where he has become a star in the 800-meter and 1,500-meter runs, totaling three first-place finishes and improving his personal record in the latter event by nearly four seconds. He was a member of the 4xMile-relay team that ran the fastest time in Yale history at the Penn Relays and then placed sixth in the 1,500-meter run at the Ivy League Championships. He will likely be competing in the 1,500-meter run again at the IC4As, where he will be looking to cement his place as one of Yale's finest middle-distance runners of the past several years.

Although he was just elected captain and there is still much competition remaining in the current season, Shirvell is already looking forward to ways the team can get even better in the future.

"For next year, I'm hoping that we can improve on our Heps finishes," he said. "This year was a little disappointing, and I know with the talent we have, we should be able to place much higher in the league. I think our team is finally coming all together at the same time, in that we had many additions to the all-time [Yale record] lists this year. So we know that the talent is here, and we just have to all get it done on the same day." 

Shirvell is an environmental studies major in Morse College. He is from Mystic, Conn., just more than one hour away from Yale. At the team banquet, he also received the Gardner Millett Memorial Award—a distinction which celebrates an "outstanding member of the Men's Track and Field Team who excels in Sportsmanship, Courage, and Inspiration."

Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity