Long Sprinters Excel Against Harvard and Princeton

Dylan Hurley. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Dylan Hurley. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Alexandre, Dooney, Rowe and Shirvell Star at Annual H-Y-P Meet

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—The Yale men's track and field team hosted rivals Harvard and Princeton at Coxe Cage on Saturday. The Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet, an annual fixture on each team's schedule, marks the end of the Bulldogs' regular season. As a team, the Elis recorded 26 points and finished third at Saturday's meet. Princeton (89 points) took first, while Harvard placed second (54 points). Yale's effort on Saturday was made all the more valiant by the fact that a couple of its top athletes—such as senior sprinter and long jumper Dana Lindberg and sophomore pole vaulter Brendan Sullivan—were not competing.

Despite the Bulldogs' third-place showing, several individuals stepped up against the Crimson and the Tigers. As has been the case for most of the season, Marc-Andre Alexandre was the Elis' top performer of the day. The star freshman raced to a first-place finish in the 400-meter dash, finishing with his second-best time of the season: 48.01. Alexandre has run extremely well in the event in his debut season, nearly breaking Yale's all-time 400-meter record at the Terrier Invitational back in January. In a field of 14 runners, only two athletes finished within two seconds of Alexandre in Saturday's race, and Alexandre now also holds the all-time H-Y-P meet record in the event.

Thanks to junior William Rowe, the Elis saw similar success in the other long sprinting event: the 500-meter dash. Rowe (1:04.83) broke his previous personal record in the event by seven-hundredths of a second, securing a second-place finish. Rowe trailed only Princeton's star sprinter, senior Tom Hopkins, in the event. With his strong performance, Rowe also qualified for the IC4A Championships, to be held following the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships (Heps) in March.

Alexandre and Rowe also made up half of the Bulldogs' impressive second-place 4x400-meter relay team on Saturday. Joining the pair were juniors Dylan Hurley and Mario Kranjac. The squad ran a solid 3:15.61, finishing less than half of a second behind Princeton's top team in the event.

The Elis were also well-represented in the middle- and long-distance events. Sophomore Kevin Dooney (8:14.41)—coming off a phenomenal cross country campaign earlier this year—placed second in the 3,000-meter dash, setting a personal record in the process. He finished behind only Harvard senior James Leakos, one of the top distance runners in the Ivy League. Dooney's performance on Saturday was nearly seven seconds faster than his previous best time of the season.

Senior James Shirvell, for his part, also placed second in his race, running a 4:07.67 in the mile run. Shirvell has started to more or less focus on the mile ever since he broke Yale's all-time mile run record earlier this season. Also impressing in the mile run were freshmen Andre Ivankovic (4:13.27 – fourth place) and James Randon (4:12.72 – third place). Both set personal records and qualified for the IC4As.

In the 60-meter dash, meanwhile, senior Daniel Jones ran well in his final H-Y-P meet, placing third in prelims (7.03) and fourth in the finals (6.99). Junior Andrew Goble (7.28) also qualified for the final round in the event, placing eighth.

Additionally, Alexandre was not Yale's only bright spot in the 400-meter event, as Hurley (50.13 – sixth place), freshman Chandler Crusan (50.04 – fifth) and senior Nnamdi Udeh (51.82 – 11th) ran well alongside him.  Crusan and Hurley both recorded their best times of the season on Saturday.

John Mahoney, meanwhile, continued his strong sophomore season,  finishing fourth in the 1,000-meter run with a time of 2:31.63. The Elis entered several other runners in the event as well, and sophomore Max Payson (2:33.65), junior Michael Grace (2:35.12), freshman Ryan Douglas (2:36.39), freshman David Hatch (2:36.67) and freshman Tim Cox (2:38.58) placed sixth through tenth, respectively. Sophomore John Keisling led the team in the slightly shorter 800-meter race, running a 1:58.78 and finishing seventh.

The Elis' 4x800-meter relay squad—consisting of Grace, Randon, Shirvell and junior Alexander McDonald—finished behind only Princeton's top team, running a season-best and IC4A-qualifying time of 7:49.88.

In the longest event of the day—the 3,000-meter run—Dooney was followed by several teammates, including sophomore Alex Conner (8:27.55 – seventh place), freshman Dan Grosvenor (8:49.13 – 11th), senior Ryan Laemel (8:50.39 – 12th), junior Isa Qasim (8:25.40 – sixth) and sophomore Duncan Tomlin (8:34.53 – ninth). Qasim was the standout of the group, not only setting a personal record in the event, but also qualifying for the IC4As.

Meanwhile, in the 60-meter hurdles, freshman Austin Loewen, freshman Torren Peebles and junior Daniel Kemp placed fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, in both the prelims and finals. All three recorded their best times of the season in the event, with Loewen leading the way (8.57 in prelims; 8.60 in the finals).

Finally, the Elis only entered athletes in two of Saturday's field events: the shot put and weight throw. Freshman Luke Persichetti (41'5.75" – 12.64m) and senior John Oppenheimer (38'0.75" – 11.60m) took seventh and eighth, respectively, in the shot put, while Persichetti also placed sixth in the weight throw (45'10.50" – 13.98m). Both athletes left the meet with plenty to be proud of: Oppenheimer registered his best mark of the season in the shot put, and Persichetti recorded his own best mark of the season in the weight throw. 

With the H-Y-P meet now behind them, the Bulldogs will get set to begin postseason competition. The team will get next weekend off as they prepare for indoor Heps, which are scheduled for March 1-2 in Hanover, N.H. Following Heps, certain eligible athletes will head to Boston for the IC4As on March 7-9.

Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity.