Bulldogs Prepare for Season Opener

Dec. 7, 2007

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - This weekend, the Yale track and field squad will kick off the indoor season at the Yale Season Opener, on Saturday, December 8th. The home meet will take place at Coxe Cage and on the Frank Shorter '69 Track, with events beginning at 9:00am.

Invited teams joining Yale in the competition on Saturday include Southern Conn., Quinnipiac, University of Albany, Manhattan College, U. of New Haven, and Columbia.

The meet will showcase efforts in the field events, sprints and middle distance events. Most members of the distance squad who raced during the cross-country will opt not to race this weekend in order to recover from the recently-finished season and build up training for the rest of indoor and outdoor track.

Since this is the first meet of the season, many athletes will choose to compete in multiple events, often participating in "off events" that will not be included much in their regular season. While this process is challenging and tiring, it will build strength for later meets in the season, give a chance to obtain necessary experience in events like relays and provide a sense of how each athlete has progressed since the beginning of the fall training.

A key group that will gain experience from this meet is the freshman class: this will be the first collegiate competition for the young Elis. In the sprints, the addition of two Eli football players, Chris Stanley and Ryan Vandersloot, plus Nathan Molina, will add to the depth of an already-strong sprint group. Jumper Stephen Paquin, Mass. State Champ thrower David Smith, and middle-distance runner Itse Begho will also make their debuts at the Season Opener.

This talented group of freshman joins a group of Bulldogs which includes a number of returning Heps scorers. The sprints continue to look strong this year, with junior Brandon Giles and senior Victor Cheng, who placed third and fourth, respectively, in the 60-meter dash at last year's indoor Heps, and senior captain Dan O'Brien (third in the 60m hurdles). Both Giles and O'Brien won Heps championships outdoors. Sophomores Ted Galligan and Remi Ray should also be strong contributors based on their freshman year accomplishments. In the middle-distances, Seniors Matt Bordoni and Christopher Smitson will continue to lead the way, with help later on in the season from members of the cross-country team who are taking this weekend off.

Yale also looks to the field events for a source of points this year, with help from junior Samuel Fox (fourth in the long jump at indoor Heps last year) and sophomores Reynolds Holmes (fifth, long jump) and Eric DePalo (sixth, pole vault). Juniors Jeffrey Lachman and Nathan Noll will look to fill the absence of last year's captain, John Langhauser, in the throws this year. Both Lachman and Noll have consistently been top throwers in the Ivy-League for discus outdoors, and have the potential to earn top honors indoors as well.

"This meet is a good chance to see where we are in our training," Captain O'Brien noted. "It will help us focus on what we need to do in order to be prepared for the meets later on in the season."

The meet commences with the field events: the Men's weight throw at 9:00am. The first men's running event is the 5,000-m, which goes off at 11:40am. Transportation will be available to shuttle spectators between Payne Whitney Gym and Coxe Cage on Saturday. The buses will leave from Payne Whitney starting at 8:00am and run every 15 minutes during the meet.

Results will be available at www.yalebulldogs.com after the conclusion of the meet.

Report by Bevin Peters '09, Yale Sports Publicity

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