Duncan Sets Record on Day One of Heptagonal Championships

Claudia Duncan. (photo by Forrest Temple, Yale Athletics)
Claudia Duncan. (photo by Forrest Temple, Yale Athletics)

Four Runners Qualify for Sunday Finals

PRINCETON, N.J. – The Heptagonal Championships opened to high winds on Saturday at Princeton's Weaver Stadium. Only five events were scored for the women, as most of the events were preliminary rounds to determine who would race in tomorrow's finals. Yale did not score points in any of those five events, but four Bulldogs qualified for finals on Sunday. Senior Claudia Duncan had the most impressive race of the day when she won her heat of the 400-meter dash in 54.54, smashing her own previous school record of 55.49. This time should qualify Duncan for the NCAA Regional Championships in the event.

"It was a great race," said Mark Young, the Mark T. Young '68 Director of Cross Country and Track and Field. "It was extremely windy, so for her to run that time is even better than it sounds."

Duncan was not the fastest runner of the day; Penn's Kali Strother ran 54.02, and there were many other fast marks, so the competition on Sunday should be fierce. Freshman Allison Rue also held her own in the event to finish with the 15th-fastest time of 57.73.

Junior Kate Grace qualified for the 800-meter run in 2:10.41, also winning her heat. Three runners posted 2:09 times in another, faster heat, so the competition could be close in that race as well. Freshman Nihal Kayali finished the 800 meters in 2:13.38 (12th), freshman Caitlin Hudson finished in 2:17.95 (18th) and senior Stephany Reaves finished in 2:24.77 (23rd).

Yale had a very good day in the 100-meter dash. Freshman Adele Jackson-Gibson finished seventh in 12.24 and sophomore Marieme Mbaye finish eighth in 12.42, meaning that both of them qualified for the finals. This is particularly impressive given the fast field; the top four runners came in under the previous Heps meet record, and the fastest runner's time of 11.55 is faster than any Heps competitor has run. Jackson-Gibson's time puts her on Yale's all-time top ten list in the event. Sophomore Alexa Monti finished in 12.79 in the dash for 12th place.

Jackson-Gibson also made Yale's all-time top-ten list in the 200-meter dash, with a time of 25.21, though she did not qualify for the finals in the event. Mbaye also competed, finishing in 25.93 for 15th place.

Junior Eve King began competing in the heptathlon, finishing the day in 10th place with 2347 points.

Freshman Dakota McCoy competed in the 400-meter hurdles, in which she finished in 1:04.27 (10th). Several Bulldogs competed in the 1,500-meter run qualifying heats, including freshman Victoria Flannery (4:49.03, 22nd), sophomore Madeline Adams (4:50.17, 23rd) and senior Stephanie Pearl (4:50.57, 24th).

The Bulldogs competed in two field events: the pole vault and the hammer throw. The pole vault was moved indoors due to the high winds, and freshman Jenna Poggi finished 12th with a height of 3.40m. Junior Rachel Kuschner threw 36.19m in the hammer throw for 11th place.

"Anything can happen tomorrow," said Coach Young. "Hopefully Jackson-Gibson or Mbaye might score in the 100, as well as Duncan and Grace, and then we have all three relays, the steeplechase and the 10k and 3k. We have serveral opportunities to score."

Events begin on Sunday at noon, with finals in every event not yet contested, including more distance events and the relays. A complete schedule of events can be found here. Hepstrack.com is covering the event live, and live results can be found at FlashResults.com.

Report by Kyle Eichner '12, Yale Sports Publicity