Elis Conclude Giegengack Invitational With Several Strong Performances
Sprinters and Distance Runners Roll on Day Two of Annual Meet
NEW HAVEN, Conn.—The Yale men's track and field team picked up right where it had left off on Friday, putting on an impressive and well-rounded display on the second and final day of the Giegengack Invitational on Saturday. The annual unscored meet, held at Coxe Cage, opened with a few events on Friday evening before holding the majority of competition during the day on Saturday.
Yale's sprinters certainly made their mark during the competition. After placing first in the 200-meter dash on Friday, freshman Marc-Andre Alexandre (48.09) took first in the 400-meter dash on Saturday. Alexandre—who focused on the shorter sprints early in the season—has emerged as a star in the longer sprints during the past few weeks, nearly breaking Yale's all-time 400-meter dash record at the Terrier Invitational two weeks ago. Following Alexandre on Saturday was a pack of Bulldogs, including junior Dylan Hurley (50.59), junior Mario Kranjac (50.64) and senior Nnamdi Udeh (50.76). Junior William Rowe (1:05.53), meanwhile, represented the Elis well in the 500-meter dash, placing second and falling just shy of qualifying for the IC4A Championships in the event.
The Elis' found success in the short sprints, as well as the long sprints, on Saturday. Senior Dana Lindberg—who placed first in the long jump on Friday evening—finished first in the 60-meter dash prelims and second in the 60-meter dash finals on Saturday. With his final-round time of exactly seven seconds, Lindberg set a personal record and nearly qualified for the IC4As. Senior Daniel Jones also qualified for the 60-meter finals, placing fifth with a time of 7.09.
Yale's impressive showing in the sprints carried over to the 4x400 meter relay as well, where the team of Alexandre, Hurley, Lindberg and Rowe (3:18.57) eked out a first-place performance by finishing six-hundredths of a second ahead of the top team from St. Joseph's. This was the same Yale 4x400-meter relay team that qualified for the IC4As at the Terrier Invitational, and the group seems to have cemented its place as the Elis' go-to team in the event. A second 4x400-meter relay team—consisting of Jones, Udeh, freshman Chandler Crusan and junior Mario Kranjac—finished sixth overall.
As usual, Brendan Sullivan made his presence felt in the pole vault—an event in which he has improved remarkably since last season. The sophomore standout placed first—his third first-place finish of the season—with a mark of 15'9" (4.80m), which he managed to clear on just two attempts.
One of the other notable performers from Saturday was sophomore Kevin Dooney, who placed second in both the mile and 3,000-meter runs. Dooney—who had one of Yale's all-time best cross country seasons this past fall—qualified for the IC4As in both events.
Dooney was not, however, actually the fastest Bulldog in the 3,000-meter run on Saturday. Freshman James Randon—who had a strong cross country season of his own in 2013—took first in the event, finishing in 8:21.26 (seven-hundredths of a second ahead of Dooney) and also qualifying for the IC4As. Junior Isa Qasim (8:35.96) finished eighth in the event, while seniors Michael Cunetta (8:47.82) and Ryan Laemel (8:48.12) placed 17th and 18th, respectively. The Bulldogs actually entered a total of nine runners in the race, giving their distance runners good experience and practice as the team's schedule grows more competitive during the next several weeks.
Including Dooney, Yale also entered seven athletes in the mile run. While Dooney finished with the top time (4:07.57), not far behind were Qasim (4:19.21), freshman Ryan Douglas (4:27.64) and freshman Andre Ivankovic (4:16.66).
The Bulldogs were also well-represented in the other middle-distance events. Junior Alexander McDonald (1:55.53), junior Michael Grace (1:56.44) and sophomore John Mahoney (1:57.61) placed fourth, sixth and ninth, respectively, in the 800-meter run. Sophomore Max Payson (2:33.32) and freshman Tim Cox (2:34.47), meanwhile, led the way in the 1,000-meter event. Both runners, relatively inexperienced in the event, set personal records.
Junior Daniel Kemp (8.74) also ran well for the Elis, finishing with his top time of the season in the 60-meter hurdles. He was followed closely by freshmen Austin Loewen (8.84) and Torren Peebles (8.90). All three athletes qualified for the final round after competing in prelims in the event.
Finally, in the shot put, the trio of Peebles (30'8.25" – 9.35m), senior John Oppenheimer (36'4.25" – 11.08m) and freshman Luke Persichetti (45'2.25" – 13.77m) competed for the Bulldogs. For Persichetti, Saturday's fifth-place finish marked his best shot put measurement of the season. Peebles, meanwhile, was competing in the event for the first time at the collegiate level.
With a successful Giegengack Invitational now behind them, the Bulldogs will seek to maintain their high level of performance next weekend, when they host Harvard and Princeton at the annual H-Y-P rivalry meet on Feb. 15.
Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity
This meet is named in honor of legendary Yale track and field coach Bob Giegengack. In his 29 years at Yale, the USA Track and Field Hall of Famer led the Elis to 183 victories, four IC4A titles and 13 outdoor and four indoor Heptagonal championships. Teacher, coach, philosopher, tireless storyteller and international leader in track and field, Giegengack spent more than 40 fruitful, exciting years in a career he loved. Helping talented young people to excel—both in their sport and in their studies—met his highest ideals. He trained his athletes, encouraged them and taught them strategies for success, always with the goal of mens sana in corpore sano—"a healthy mind in a healthy body." He demanded the best effort possible from each athlete, not just for the sake of individual achievement, but also for the good of the team. Beginning with his high school students at Brooklyn Prep, then at Fordham and Yale, and even as an Olympic coach in Melbourne (1956) and Tokyo (1964), "Gieg" worked to fulfill his personal ideals as a teacher, mentor and competitor. After his retirement in 1976, he coached Yale's first women's track and field team. The Giegengack legacy of talent, devotion and high ideals lives on at Yale today.