Yale Wins 4x400 Meter Relay
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Competitors and fans filled Coxe Cage on Saturday for the second day of the Giegengack Invitational. Nearly 15 teams crowded the infield and the stands to participate in the long day of events. The meet was unscored, but Yale posted some great times with wins in the 4x400 meter relay, the 800-meter run, and several ECAC-qualifying performances.
The meet began on Friday with several events including the 200-meter dash, high jump, long jump, and the distance medley relay. Junior Emily Standish showed significant improvement in the high jump (1.60m, fourth place) and freshman Adele Jackson-Gibson competed well in the long jump (5.56m, fourth place). The Bulldogs brought the evening to a close with a very exciting performance in the distance medley relay. The team of junior Kate Grace, senior Claudia Duncan, freshman Annalies Gamble and senior Liya Assefa finished in 11:47.22, which qualifies them for ECACs.
The momentum from Friday night carried the team into their successes on Saturday, when the 4x400-meter relay team pulled off another ECAC-qualifying win. Duncan led off from starting blocks in the fourth lane, for the last 400 meters of her career at Coxe Cage. She finished her leg in 56 seconds - almost exactly the same as what she ran her 400-meter leg in on Friday - and passed the baton to freshman Allison Rue. Rue pulled ahead of the other runners to gain a ten meter lead by the time she handed the baton to Gamble. Gamble increased Yale's lead significantly before Grace took over as anchor, sprinting away to a 3:52.54 finish (the ECAC-qualifying time exactly), which was two seconds faster than the second-place Southern Connecticut State. Yale's prospects in relays seem very solid this year, with depth in the appropriate distances.
All-American Grace won an exciting - and much closer - 800-meter run earlier in the day. After 400 meters, Grace was far out in front of the pack, with a two-second lead. As she held steady, the women behind her picked up the pace, and it was an intense race to the finish line; Grace finished in 2:11.80, only .11 seconds ahead of the second-place runner. This easily qualifies her for the ECACs in the event, though she has not yet made it to the NCAA-qualifying mark (2:05.00 for automatic, 2:09.00 for provisional; Grace's PR is 2:04.72).
Another highlight for the Bulldogs was senior Alexandra Cadicamo's performance in the 3,000-meter run. Indoors, that means running 15 laps, which requires impressive willpower. It was the longest distance that Yale competed in, and Cadicamo finished in 9:52.45, which was a huge personal best, and added another Bulldog to the list of ECAC-qualifiers. Sophomore Jennifer Downing ran a solid race to finish in 10:19.25 in her heat.
In somewhat shorter distances, Jackson-Gibson placed third in the 60-meter dash, in a time of 7.78 - only .1 seconds off of the ECAC qualifying standard. Rue ran 400 meters twice; she also competed in the open 400-meter dash, where she finished in 58.52 for sixth place.
In field events, freshman Jenna Poggi cleared a height of 3.20m in the pole vault for fourth place and senior Bailey Carroll finished seventh.
The Bulldogs will be competing next at the annual Harvard-Yale-Princeton tri-meet, which will be held at Princeton on Feb. 13.
Report by Kyle Eichner '12, Yale Sports Publicity
The Giegengack Invitational is named in honor of legendary Yale track and field coach Bob Giegengack. In his 29 years at Yale, the USA Track and Field Hall of Famer led the Elis to 183 victories, four IC4A titles, and 13 outdoor and four indoor Heptagonal championships. Teacher, coach, philosopher, tireless storyteller and international leader in track and field, Bob Giegengack spent more than 40 fruitful, exciting years in a career he loved. Helping talented young people to excel, both in their sport and in their studies, met his highest ideals. He trained his athletes, encouraged them and taught them strategies for success, always with the goal of mens sana in corpore sano, a healthy mind in a healthy body. From each athlete, he demanded the best effort possible, not just for the sake of individual achievement, but also for the good of the team. Beginning with his high school students at Brooklyn Prep, then at Fordham and Yale, and as an Olympic coach in Melbourne (1956) and Tokyo (1964), "Gieg" worked to fulfill his personal ideals as a teacher, mentor and competitor. After his retirement in 1976, he coached Yale's first women's team. The Giegengack legacy of talent, devotion and high ideals lives on at Yale today.