NEW HAVEN, Conn. –The Yale women's track and field team will head to Boston this weekend for the Eastern College Athlete Conference (ECAC) Track & Field Championships hosted by Boston University. This annual event features more than 50 schools from all across the eastern seaboard. Unlike most meets, in order to participate in this competition, athletes had to meet a qualifying standard over the course of the season. This year, the Bulldogs qualified 12 athletes to the meet.
The Bulldogs have done well in the past with this meet. At last year's contest, the team finished 11th out of more than 50 teams with just 10 athletes competing. This would definitely be a good meet to watch as some athletes tend to peak at this meet rather than at the Heptagonal Championship, where most people ran strategically rather than rapidly.
Many of the athletes who qualified in middle distance events, like seniors Meredith Rizzo and Emily Waligurski, made the standard in multiple events. Rizzo, for example, qualified in all three middle-distance events (800-meter, 1000-meter and mile runs) after a spectacular season. However, her strongest performance has come in the mile, where she has shined. Rizzo also won this event at last year's ECAC Championships with a commanding performance in both the preliminary round and final. Waligurski competed in the same event last year, finishing fourth overall for All-East honors. Yet her strongest performance has come in the 800-meter run, as she leads the team with a personal best of 2:09.34. Other athletes that have qualified in this meet include seniors Delaney FitzPatrick and Chandler Olson, junior Calleigh Higgins and sophomore Gabrielle Rinne
A particular athlete to watch for this weekend is freshman phenom Gemma Shepherd, who has had an outstanding rookie year on the team. She qualified in both middle- and long distance events, but has particularly done well in the latter. At last week's Heptagonal Championship, for example, Shepherd finished fifth, and at the Valentine Invitational, she dropped a hot time of 9:25.18. That time is among the fastest that the Bulldogs have seen in recent years. Yet she also did well during her mile leg in the DMR, splitting for a time of 4:43 as the anchor.
Sophomore Andrea Masterson will also probably toe the line in a long-distance event despite qualifying in both middle- and long distance events. At the outdoor ECAC Championships, Masterson placed third overall. After running a personal best in the 5,000-meter run at Heps, it would not be surprising to see her carry her momentum in that event this weekend. Senior Kelli Reagan will also likely head to Beantown, as she has qualified in both distance events.
The Bulldogs will also likely have freshman Sydney Holmes run the 60-meter hurdles, after she has had a strong first year in that event. Holmes has gotten close to running down the Yale record in the event, and she also placed a strong eighth at the Valentine Invitational. Senior Kate Simon will also likely head to Beantown to compete in her best event, the weight throw.
Live results will be posted on this link.
Preview by Ariel A. Sánchez '19, Yale Sports Publicity