Team Records Highest Indoor Heps Point Total Since 2011
HANOVER, N.H.—The Yale men's track and field team finished off one of its best indoor Ivy League Heptagonal Championships (Heps) performances in the past few years with several strong performances on Sunday, day two of the annual meet. Competing at Dartmouth's Leverone Field House, the Bulldogs managed to tally 24 points—their best indoor Heps score since 2011—and finish in eighth place. Cornell (145 points) and Princeton (117) finished first and second at the meet for the second consecutive year. Harvard (95), Columbia (64), Brown (62) and Dartmouth (53) took third through sixth place, respectively, while Yale nearly overtook seventh-place Penn (28). After finishing Saturday in eighth place, the Elis used a few impressive individual scores to move up into seventh place for much of the day on Sunday, before falling back into eighth during the relay events at the end of the day.
Sophomore Kevin Dooney was the story of the day for the Elis, running the fastest 5,000-meter indoor race in Yale history and breaking his previous personal record in the event by more than 27 seconds. Dooney was one of four different Bulldogs to score points on Sunday. Freshman Marc-Andre Alexandre, freshman James Randon and senior James Shirvell placed highly in the final rounds of the 400-meter, 1,000-meter and mile run events, respectively, after qualifying through solid showings in Saturday's prelims.
Dooney finished third in the 5,000-meters, less than four-tenths of a second behind the first-place finisher. He trailed only a duo of veteran Harvard runners: seniors Maksim Korolev and James Leakos. Korolev set the all-time Ivy League record in the event earlier this year. Dooney's time of 13:59.06 was nearly 11 seconds faster than Yale's previous indoor 5,000-meter school record—a mark set by Lucas Meyer '05, a former All-American coaches had compared Dooney to during his remarkable 2013 cross country season. Dooney was competing in the 5,000-meters for the first time during the indoor track season but will now have the option of running the event at the IC4A Championships on March 8-9.
Meanwhile, continuing one of Yale's strongest freshman track seasons in recent history, Alexandre ran a 48.45 in the 400-meter dash, placing second overall and scoring eight points. The top six athletes in Sunday's 400-meter final finished in the exact same order as they did in Saturday's prelims, and Alexandre finished behind only Cornell's star sprinter, Bruno Hortelano-Roig: the reigning indoor Heps 400-meter champion who was voted the Most Outstanding Performer among male track athletes at this year's meet. Alexandre improved his time from Saturday's prelim, finishing exactly one second slower than his personal record in the event (the second fastest 400-meter personal record in Yale history).
Randon added to the Elis' point total with a fourth-place finish in the 1,000-meter run. The freshman standout competed in the 1,000-meters for the first time at the collegiate level in Saturday's prelim, finishing seventh. He improved his time by more than two seconds on Sunday, however, running the fifth-fastest 1,000-meter time in the Ivy League this season. Randon enjoyed a strong freshman cross country season in 2013 and has now proven himself both as a middle- and long-distance runner. With his performance on Sunday, Randon is eligible to compete in the 1,000-meter race at the IC4As.
Shirvell, the team captain, was the fourth and final Bulldog to score on Sunday, placing fifth in the mile run finals with a time of 4:08.87. This year's competition was especially tough, as the race's top four finishers all broke the previous indoor Heps meet record. Shirvell will likely compete in the mile again at the IC4As, as he has focused on the event throughout the course of the season. One of the top middle-distance runners Yale has seen over the past several years, Shirvell currently holds the school record in the mile.
Several Bulldogs also competed without scoring points on Sunday. Junior Isa Qasim (14:43.44), sophomore Alex Conner (14:46.35) and sophomore Duncan Tomlin (14:53.00) placed 13th, 16th and 18th, respectively, in 5,000-meter event, running alongside Dooney. In the weight throw, meanwhile, freshman Luke Persichetti (45'7.00" – 13.89m)—Yale's only competitor in the field events on Sunday—finished 16th in the weight throw.
Yale also entered teams in each of the three relay events. The squad of junior Michael Grace, freshman Andre Ivankovic, junior Alexander McDonald and sophomore Max Payson (7:52.54) placed eighth in the 4x800 meter relay, while the foursome of Randon, Shirvell, sophomore John Mahoney and senior Nnamdi Udeh (10:13.33) likewise took eighth in the distance medley relay. The Bulldogs' 4x400-meter team of Alexandre, junior Dylan Hurley, senior Dana Lindberg and junior William Rowe, meanwhile, was one of three teams to not finish Sunday's race.
With their first postseason meet out of the way, the Bulldogs will now turn their attention to the IC4As, held in Boston on March 8-9. Several Elis have qualified for the meet by meeting certain minimum time requirements in various events throughout the course of the season.
Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity