Team to Compete in 70th Annual Heptagonals
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Bulldogs will compete at the 70th annual Ivy League Heptagonal Championships this Friday at Van Cortlandt Park in New York, N.Y. Although they are running against higher-ranked teams, they have set their standards higher than what the statistics rank them.
The Bulldogs are currently ranked 11th in the Northeast region by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Within their region, they will take on Columbia, which is ranked third, Dartmouth (ranked fifth), Cornell (sixth), Brown (seventh) and Harvard (eighth). The Bulldogs will also face Princeton and Penn from the Mid-Atlantic region. Head coach Dan Ireland said the team is peaking well at this point in the season.
"We just need to go out and be mentally tough for 25 to 26 minutes," Ireland said.
The last time they Bulldogs competed at Heptagonals, they finished seventh with 176 points. The younger runners look to step up this year, since three of the top five scorers from last year have graduated.
Ireland expects big performances from junior Jeff Perrella, who finished first for the Bulldogs at the Lock Haven meet two weeks ago, and sophomore Conor Dooney, who was the top scorer at multiple meets throughout the season. Senior captain Chris Labosky, fellow seniors Max Brown and Alex Harris, juniors Matt Bogdan and Max Walden, sophomores Jake McKenzie, Nathan Richards and Julian Sheinbaum and freshman Demetri Goutos will also compete for the Bulldogs. Most of them have run the course before, either last year or at the Iona Meet of Champions this past September.
Ireland said that the conference meet is one of the most anticipated events of the season.
"This is more important than regional championships," Ireland said. "We compete with other schools without athletic scholarships."
Last year, Dartmouth's Ben True set a new meet record of 23:59.6 and became the first Ivy Leaguer to win three Heptagonals titles since 1984. The Tigers, the defending champion, may be the favorite again this year. The Tigers rank third for the Mid-Atlantic region in the USTFCCCA rankings.
The race starts at 12:15 p.m., and results will be posted online at Yalebulldogs.com and plattsys.com. Updates will also be available on ivyleaguesports.com and hepstrack.com. The Bulldogs will next compete at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships on Nov. 14 at Franklin Park in Boston, Mass. The regional meet will determine who qualifies for the national NCAA Championships.
Report by Miriam Cho ‘13, Yale Sports Publicity