First Meet at Dartmouth on Saturday
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – With all five its top five runners from last year's Heptagonals and NCAA Regionals returning, the Bulldogs bring a much more experienced group this season than the young squad from last year. They will open the season at the Dartmouth Invitational in this Saturday. Head coach Dan Ireland is optimistic about the impact the experience of the team will have this year.
"That experience should definitely show in all of our races this season," Ireland said.
The Bulldogs lose Max Brown '10, Alex Harris '10 and Chris Labosky '10 to graduation. However, that means they only lose three of their top twelve from last year with many key runners returning.
Senior Jeff Perrella and junior Conor Dooney should be among the Bulldogs' top runners again this season. Dooney had an impressive sophomore debut after sitting out his freshman year because of injuries, finishing 13th at Heptagonals and earning All-Ivy honors. Perrella also had a solid season last year finishing 19th at Heptagonals and came in the top 30 at NCAA Regionals. Senior captain Max Walden and senior Matt Bogdan, who ran in the top five last year, should also make huge contributions. Bogdan looks especially strong after last outdoor track season, having qualified for NCAA Regionals in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
The junior duo of sophomores Jake McKenzie and Nathan Richards, who rounded out the top five at last year's Heptagonals, are also coming off of impressive track seasons; Richards scored in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at outdoor Heptagonals, while McKenzie scored in the 3,000-meter run at indoor Heptagonals.
After summer training, coach Ireland also highlighted junior Julian Sheinbaum and sophomores Demetri Goutos and Sam Kirtner. Sheinbaum was number six for the Bulldogs at Regionals last year, while Goutos had a solid start to his freshman cross country debut by finishing as Yale's number 3 runner against Harvard before illness sidelined him the rest of the season.
"Those guys had very, very good summers and are in great shape," Ireland said.
Among the Bulldogs' new recruits, freshmen Ryan Laemel and Blake Hofmeister look particularly strong. "Laemel is the second-best high school two-miler (9:03) we've ever brought into Yale," Ireland said. "He will have an impact on our top ten." Hofmeister, a 9:10 high school 2 miler, should also compete for a spot among the top 10 runners on the Eli squad.
The Bulldogs also hope to get contributions from seniors David Demres, Chris Scavone, and James Wyper, junior Sam Lynch and sophomores Kevin Lunn and Matthew Thwaites as well as freshman Michael Cunetta.
With both an experienced group returning and promising newcomers, the Bulldogs look ready to kick off the season. Their first race at Dartmouth will start at 10:30 a.m., and results will be posted on Yalebulldogs.com after the meet.
Report by Miriam Cho '13, Yale Sports Publicity