Bulldogs to Continue Competition in Philadelphia on Friday and Saturday
PHILADELPHIA, Penn.—The Yale men's track and field team took to the track on day one of the 120th annual Penn Relays at Franklin Field on Thursday. The meet serves as one the world's most historic track and field competitions and includes many of the globe's best and most accomplished athletes, as well as a wide range of events, ranging from the high school to Olympic development levels. Given the massive stage, the Elis entered the day seeking to begin their long weekend on a high note and impress the 21,422 fans in attendance at Franklin Field to enjoy the meet.
The Bulldogs entered four runners in Thursday's 5,000-Meter Championship, held late Thursday evening. Sophomore Kevin Dooney lived up the high expectations set for him coming into the meet, placing first overall in a field of 61 talented runners. Dooney's time of 13:59.38 was approximately one-third of a second shy of his overall personal record (at both indoor and outdoor meets) but is the school's fastest outdoor 5,000-meter mark of all time—breaking the previous record by more than 11 seconds. With Thursday's performance, Dooney continues to make his case as one of Yale's top distance runners in recent history, if not of all time. He currently holds the fastest indoor and outdoor 5,000-meter times, the second-fastest 3,000-meter time, and the second-fastest 10,000-meter time in Yale history. Dooney's time easily earned him a spot in the event at the IC4As later this year and will likely make him eligible to compete in the event at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round at the end of May, although nothing will be certain until the IC4As have concluded.
Also running the 5,000-meters was senior Ryan Laemel, who—competing in his first Penn Relays—finished 36th overall with a personal record time of 14:40.48. The impressive time marked a nearly 20-second improvement from his previous season-best time that he ran just a few weeks ago. Junior Isa Qasim also competed in the event, running a time of 15:00.16 and finishing 54th overall. After competing during a cross country season that saw him emerge as one of the team's very best runners, Qasim has enjoyed a strong 2013-2014 track season, including a sixth-place finish and personal record in the 3,000-meters at the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet and a 12th-place finish and mile run personal record at the Giegengack Invitational. Thursday marked Qasim's first ever appearance at the Penn Relays. Freshman Andre Ivankovic (15:02.81) finished just behind Qasim, in 56th place. Ivankovic, who was competing in the 5,000-meters for the first time in collegiate competition, has looked strong in his first season, notching a first-place finish in the 3,000-meters against Harvard earlier in April.
Earlier in the evening, meanwhile, sophomore Duncan Tomlin also made his mark in his first ever Penn Relays, running a personal record time of 9:09.37 and placing 10th in the 3,000-Meter Steeplechase Championship. Thursday was the second time this season that Tomlin had set a personal record in the event (he ran a 9:10.85 at the Stanford Invitational a few weekends ago), and he appears to be continually improving. Tomlin finished ahead of Cornell sophomore Connor Herr and just less than three seconds behind Texas senior Austin Roth, both of whom qualified for and competed in the event at their respective regional NCAA Division I Preliminary Rounds last season.
The Penn Relays continue tomorrow. The Bulldogs will enter teams in the 4x100 meter-relay heats beginning at 12:30 p.m. and the College Men's Distance Medley Championship of America at 2:25 p.m. Sophomore Brendan Sullivan is then scheduled to compete in the eastern division of the pole vault finals at 3:00 p.m. Final results will be available at www.yalebulldogs.com.
Report by Zach Schloss '15, Yale Sports Publicity