March 8, 2009
BOSTON - The Bulldogs got off to a fast start at the first day of the ECAC Championships with two school record performances. The Bulldogs, who are competing with a limited squad at the end of the season meet hosted at Reggie Lewis Track in Boston, features some of the toughest competition of the year and is the last chance for the student-athletes to pick up NCAA Championship qualifying times.
The first athlete of the meet to race was junior Claudia Duncan and she definitely made an impact in her race, the 500-meter dash. Running in heat five, Duncan completely dominated her race in setting a new school record with a time of 1:13.44; the next runner in her heat was more than one-and-a-half seconds behind her. This is an improvement over the old school record 1:13.92 that she set earlier this season. This mark is also the fastest mark overall at the meet in the preliminary round. Duncan had to run fast as only the top six athletes based on time qualified for the finals of the event, which will take place on Sunday. This time would have placed Duncan third in the finals last year. In 2008, Duncan chose to run the 400-meter dash and did not compete in the 500-meter run. The finals will begin at 2:05 p.m.
Sophomore Kate Grace also opened the preliminary heat of the 800-meter run in an impressive fashion, setting a new school record in the event and turning in the second-fastest time of the day. Grace's time of 2:06.41 breaks her school record of 2:07.83 that she set last week at the Ivy League Championships. The time, an NCAA provisional qualifying mark, improves Grace's chances of qualifying for the meet. Excluding the results from other meets taking place this weekend, Grace's mark is the 17th-fastest time in the nation in the event. Last year, Grace's mark would have placed her third in the preliminary heats, but would have won the finals as the top two qualifiers decided to not run in the finals and the finals race was relatively slow with a winning time of 2:10.63. Junior Stephany Reaves also competed in the 800-meter run, running to a 16th-place finish in a time of 2:13.75. Grace will next compete in the event finals at 2:10 p.m.
The team also competed in the 4x800-meter relay, just missing qualifying for the final round. The Bulldog team of Reaves and seniors Jennifer Lin, Kelli Buck and Kathryn Schleckser took 10th in a time of 9:09.35.
Competition will start tomorrow for the Bulldogs with the 500-meter dash finals at 2:05 p.m.
Report filed by Caleb Dorfman '09, Yale Sports Publicity