April 9, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale and Harvard track teams will abandon their rivalry for a day, joining together to compete in the historical biennial meet versus their British counterparts from Oxford and Cambridge. Yale will host the event at the Dewitt-Cuyler track on Friday afternoon. This is the 42nd edition of the Yale/Harvard vs. Oxford/Cambridge meet, which began back in 1894. The meet is the oldest continuous, international amateur athletic event in the world today, as it was started two years before the Modern Olympic Games.
Yale, as winner of the Yale-Harvard dual meet, first competed against Cambridge (the winner over Oxford) in England in 1894. The following year, Yale hosted the winner of the Oxford-Cambridge meet in New Haven. In 1899, the meet featured squads combining the best athletes from all four teams, a tradition that continues to this day.
"That this series has continued without interruption, except for the two World Wars, is a tribute to generations of men, and now women, who have made an effort to honor and respect the traditions of the event," Mark T. Young '68, Director of Track & Field wrote to members of the track team earlier this week. Coach Young is one of many acclaimed athletes who have competed in this meet throughout its rich history.
The last meeting of these teams in 2007 was held at Oxford on the Sir Roger Bannister Track on Iffley Road. The Yale-Harvard team soundly defeated its British challengers, winning 14 of 20 events to take home the Naughton Trophy, which is awarded to the winning team. This was the seventh straight win for the American men, and their 29th win overall.
This will be the first time the meet has been held in New Haven since 2001.
While the field of competitors will be small, as there will be a maximum of four competitors per event, the quality of competition will certainly be strong. For instance, the Oxford-Cambridge team will be bringing Garrett Johnson, who was the 2006 NCAA Indoor & Outdoor shot put champion while at Florida State, and who now attends Oxford.
In contrast to other track competitions for the Bulldogs, this meet will feature traditional British scoring, where the winner of each event is awarded one point, for a maximum score of 20 over 20 events for men.
A complete schedule of events can be found here. The first men's event of the day will be the hammer throw, which starts at 3:00 p.m., while the first men's event on the track is the 3,000-meter steeplechase at 3:15 p.m.
The official meet program contains more information, including the athletes competing, meet records, and past meet champions.
The day following the Oxford-Cambridge meet, a larger squad of the Bulldogs will travel to Providence, R.I., to compete at the Brown Invitational.
Results will be posted on www.yalebulldogs.com following each meet.
Report by Bevin Peters '09, Yale Sports Publicity