Eleven Elite Track and Field Members Travel to Penn Relays

Elizabeth Marvin. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Elizabeth Marvin. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Yale's Springtime Invitational Hosted Sunday

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—This Thursday and Friday, 11 members of Yale women's track and field will travel to Philadelphia, to compete in the nation's oldest and largest track and field contest. The Penn Relays span from Tuesday to Saturday and include athletes of all ages, including high school and masters divisions. In addition to all eight Ivy League Schools, hundreds of teams will compete, including some traveling from outside the continental United States. Such a massive field necessitates steeper entry standards than have been seen so far this season. Thus, the meet is a great opportunity for the few Bulldogs making the trip to compete among upwards of 100,000 athletes.

Of those traveling, 10 will be participating in events on Thursday. Four will comprise a 4x400-meter relay team—junior Kelsey Lin, freshman Shannon McDonnell and seniors Jenna Poggi and Allison Rue. Last weekend at Princeton's Larry Ellis Invitational, Yale's relay team, including all of the same individuals except Poggi, finished in 3:57.75.  The team has nearly six seconds to make up in order to qualify for the ECAC Championship meet, just two weeks away. 

In addition, five long-distance runners will be continuing their successful streak at the meet. Junior Liana Epstein, senior Elizabeth Marvin and freshman Emily Stark will all vie against the massive field in the 5,000-meter run. Although Epstein has not yet competed in the event this season, both Marvin and Stark met the ECAC-qualifying standard in the event near the end of March, when they competed in North Carolina State's Raleigh Relays. Still, Epstein has impressed this year in the 3,000-meter run, an event in which she has already qualified for ECACs.

It is this shorter, yet still extensive event that senior Nihal Kayali will take on this week. Kayali has lately been competing in shorter long and middle-distance races, such as the 800-meter and 1,500-meter runs. However, she did contend in the 3,000-meter race during the indoor season, securing a personal best of 9:32.45. In addition to already occupying a place on the top-ten lists for the 3,000-meter run, she will add positions in both the 1,500-meter and 5,000-meter races this year. Moreover, her times in more than one event in the outdoor season have qualified her to compete in the ECAC Championship meet. 

Meanwhile, sophomore Kira Garry—Yale's star competitor in the 3,000-meter steeplechase—will have the opportunity to defend her second-place spot in the event on Yale top-ten lists. Though Garry has only competed in the steeplechase once this season at the Oxford/Cambridge meet, her freshman-year record allowed her not only to qualify for ECACs, but also to compete in the preliminary round of the NCAA Division I meet. She will take to the track this weekend with this and many other accomplishments—such as an ECAC qualifying time in the 3,000-meter run and new personal best in the 1,500-meter run—to bolster her performance.

Freshman Karleh Wilson—who holds the Yale record in the shot put for indoor track and field—will once again show off her incredible strength and proficiency in the event at the large meet. During the recent dual meet with Harvard, Wilson earned the second-place spot on the lists for the outdoor season, when she posted a mark of 13.57m (44-6.25). This is her best mark of the season, and though it earned her first place against the athletes from Harvard, this distance is just off her best for the year of 13.80m. (45-3.31). With such heavy competition at the Penn Relays, Wilson should find no shortage of challengers up to her standard. 

Finally, as the team's only entrant competing on Friday, sophomore Alisha Jordan will contribute to the team's effort in her best event, the triple jump. After landing an ECAC-qualifying leap at the Cambridge/Oxford meet less than two weeks ago, Jordan now holds the third spot on Yale's top ten lists with a mark of 12.30m (40-04.25).

While the meet will run all day Thursday, the Bulldogs will not start to race until late in the evening, beginning with the 4x400-meter relay. A complete schedule, list of competitors, and all other meet information is available at the meet website: http://thepennrelays.com/. Results will also be posted on the site when available. 

Though only this small portion of the team will be traveling to compete on Thursday, many more members will join their teammates this Sunday for Yale's second home meet of the season. The Springtime Invitational will be held at Cuyler Athletic Complex and Dwyer Track, and will begin at 11:00 a.m. As it is likely that most athletes will not compete in both meets this week, those individuals who are not traveling to the Penn Relays will have their chance this upcoming weekend. Among these athletes will likely be freshmen such as hurdler Mackenzie Mathews and 100-meter sprinter Sydney Cureton. Results for the Springtime Invitational will be posted on yalebulldogs.com when available.

Report by Maria Seravalli '16, Yale Sports Publicity