Bulldogs Open Outdoor Season at Shamrock Invitational

Luke Persichetti. (photo by Don Clark, Yale Sports Publicity)
Luke Persichetti. (photo by Don Clark, Yale Sports Publicity)

Persichetti Represents Elis on Day One

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.—The Yale men's track and field team opened its outdoor season on Thursday at the Shamrock Invitational, hosted by Coastal Carolina. The annual meet—which will continue on Friday and Saturday—has brought together a geographically varied collection of schools, including Army, Charleston, Dartmouth, Manhattan, North Carolina-Wilmington, North Dakota, Rutgers, South Carolina and many others.

The Bulldogs, who capped their indoor season at the IC4A Championships two weekends ago, did not bring a full team to the Shamrock Invitational. The lone Bulldog to compete on Thursday was freshman Luke Persichetti, who recorded a mark of 130'8" (39.83m) in the hammer throw, competing in the event for the first time in his collegiate career. The Pennsylvania native placed 28th overall in the event.

Several other Elis will take to the track on the second and third days of the meet. Senior Daniel Jones will likely lead the team in the short sprints, competing in the 100-meter prelims on Friday. He is coming off a personal-record time of 21.96 in the 200-meter dash at the IC4As and will seek to use some of that momentum to his advantage this weekend. Jones might be joined in the prelims by teammate and freshman phenom Marc-Andre Alexandre, who would be a certain threat for a top finish if he competes. In the longer 400-meter dash, Yale will enter freshman Chandler Crusan, junior Dylan Hurley and junior Mario Kranjac. Hurley has traditionally been one of the team's top long sprinters, and he figures to be a runner to watch in his outdoor season debut.

The Bulldogs will also enter four athletes in the two hurdle events. The trio of junior Daniel Kemp, freshman Austin Loewen and freshman Torren Peebles—which competed regularly in the 60-meter hurdles during the indoor season—will run the 110-meter hurdles during the outdoor season. Kemp and junior William Rowe will also run the 400-meter hurdles this weekend. Rowe emerged as a regional star in the event last season, qualifying for the 400-meter hurdle final at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships (Heps) and competing in the event at the outdoor IC4As.

The Bulldogs plan to enter five more runners in the middle-distance events. Junior Michael Grace, freshman Andre Ivankovic, sophomore Alexander McDonald and freshman James Randon will run the 800-meter race. Grace and McDonald were both members of the 4x800-meter relay team that set Yale's season-best time at the indoor IC4As two weekends ago. Ivankovic and Randon, meanwhile, both made names for themselves with several strong showings during the 2013 cross country season. Randon is also coming off an impressive performance at the indoor IC4As, where he qualified for the mile run final. Sophomore Max Payson, however, will represent Yale in the mile run this weekend.

Senior Michael Cunetta, senior Ryan Laemel and junior Matt Nussbaum, meanwhile, will run the 3,000-meter race. The trio of cross country runners have proven to be some of the team's most consistent distance competitors over the past few years.

The Bulldogs will also be represented in three field events this weekend. Persichetti will follow up his hammer throw performance on Thursday with efforts in both the discus and shot put, while Brendan Sullivan will seek to continue his brilliant sophomore campaign in the pole vault. Sullivan has greatly improved this year, setting one of the top five pole vaulting personal records in Yale history and placing first at three different meets. He placed fourth at indoor Heps in early March—his second fourth-place finish at the meet in his two years of college competition.

Finally, Yale will also compete in the 4x100 meter relay. Although it is unclear which four Elis will represent Yale in the event, it seems likely the squad will consist of some combination of Alexandre, Crusan, Hurley, Jones, Kranjac and Rowe. 

A full schedule of this weekend's events is available here. Full results will be posted on www.yalebulldogs.com at the conclusion of both Friday's and Saturday's action.

Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity