Women’s Track Hosts Ivy League Heptagonal Championships

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

Ten Individuals Rank Among the League's Best

NEW HAVEN, Conn.—Yale women's track and field is set to compete in the 2014 Ivy League Heptagonal Championships this Saturday and Sunday—hosted at the team's own Dewitt Cuyler Athletic Complex. The championship meet will mark the third time the Bulldogs have competed on their own track in the last four weeks, adding to the excitement and expectation that always surrounds the clash among the Ancient Eight. The meet will begin at 11:00 a.m. both days. A complete schedule can be found here. Buses will run from Payne Whitney Gym every 30 minutes, a schedule can be found here. Results will be posted on yalebulldogs.com after each day. The Ivy League will also provide a live video feed on Sunday at http://www.ivyleaguedigitalnetwork.com.

Yale boasts of a range of top-ranked individuals going in to the championship meet—a spread that will add to its depth across events as it vies against the other seven Ivy League schools. A few select athletes rank at the top of the League in multiple events. Among these is junior Emily Cable, Yale's star short sprinter. Cable is ranked at No. 8 in the 400-meter dash and No. 5 in the 200-meter dash, in addition to being a vital part of the team's 4x100-meter relay squad.

Cable has had a particularly prosperous season, continuing her streak into the outdoor season after breaking her own 400-meter record at indoor ECACs. Cable had her best time of the outdoor season at the Stanford Invitational, where she traveled with a small group of Yale's elite competitors. 

Showing her enthusiasm for this weekend's competition, Cable said, "We are all very excited about Heps coming up this weekend, especially seeing that it's on our home track!"

In addition to the 4x100-meter relay, Yale is sure to enter a squad in the 4x400-meter relay. Senior Kelsey Lin is likely to compete in both races, while freshman Katerra Logan and sophomore Mackenzie Mathews will likely take their places in the 4x100-meter relay.

After a record-breaking performance in the 100-meter hurdles this season, Mathews is also prepared to compete with the best of the league's hurdlers. Her time at Yale's Mark Young Invitational positions her as the 10th-best hurdler in the League. Mathews set her previous school record last year at the 2013 Heptagonal Championships. 

Two long-distance runners have edged out the competition to rank among the Ivy League's best. At the Stanford Invitational, junior Kira Garry broke her own school record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, originally set in her freshman year. Garry's effort ranks her at No. 4 among her competitors. She and junior Emily Stark—No. 7 in the 10,000-meter run—will both look to add valuable points to the team's overall score, before continuing on to the outdoor ECAC Championships. Stark's mark in the 10,000-meter run was also earned at the Stanford Invitational, an intensely competitive meet that hosted teams from more than 10 different states.

Cable expressed her expectation that a similar competitive spirit would push the team to better finishes this weekend. She seemed confident in the practice hours the Bulldogs have logged in the past 10 months. 

"It's a competitive field, but I'm prepared to get after it," she said of her own goals. "If everyone brings the efforts they've been bringing to the track every day, we will be ready to compete with the best of them."

Other team members likely to boost Yale's score in the middle and long distance events include senior Sarah Barry, sophomore Elizabeth McDonald and sophomore Shannon McDonnell. All three recently competed at another highly competitive meet, the Penn Relays. Barry and McDonnell ran on a distance medley relay team that placed third, and McDonald competed in an individual 5,000-meter run in which she saw a substantial improvement over her previous personal best.

Star athletes Alisha JordanEmily Urciuoli and Karleh Wilson will likely lead Yale's throwing and jumping crews. A senior, Urciuoli will compete in one of her final meets of the season. As a sophomore, her best collegiate mark in the pole vault earned her the third-spot on Yale's top ten lists. She closed in on that top mark this season at the Penn Relays. This mark (3.65m) places her at No. 6 among her fellow Ivy League competitors. She will compete alongside sophomore Renee Vogel, who recently earned her personal best of 3.45m at the Harvard dual meet—ranking her at No. 9 in the Ivy League.

Jordan, a junior, is set to compete in both the triple jump and the long jump. She is currently ranked at No. 5 in the triple jump, by far her most lucrative event. Based off her best performance last outdoor season, Jordan has the potential to place in the top-three competitors, a finish that would rack up points for the Bulldogs. She stands at No. 8 in the long jump.

Sophomore Megan Toon has also been successful this season in the high jump, earning her personal best mark just two weeks ago at Yale's Springtime Invitational. Toon has a chance at placing in the top-10 this weekend if she repeats this performance. 

For her part, Wilson has the most potential of any Bulldog to contribute to the team's overall score. The sophomore's No. 2 ranking in the shot put is the highest of any team member, and is based off a record-breaking mark. After originally breaking the record her freshman year at the 2013 Heptagonal Championships, Wilson has been steadily improving. Her current record was earned at Yale's Springtime Invitational this season. Wilson has also added the fourth-best hammer mark and second-best discus mark of Yale history to her accomplishments this season, and is ranked at No. 4 and No. 6 in those two events, respectively. She will be joined by teammate Taylor Eldridge in the hammer throw (No. 10), who proved herself a formidable contender in the event this season at Princeton's Sam Howell Invitational.

The Bulldogs will be led by captain Amanda Snajder, a senior likely to compete in the heptathlon. Snajder has trained for the event during the entirety of the outdoor season, taking part in the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, long jump, shot put, javelin throw, 800-meter run and 200-meter run. This intense training will be necessary for the heptathlon—comprised of seven events that span the jumps, throws and running categories.

Report by Maria Seravalli '16, Yale Sports Publicity