April 23, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Yale competed in several events on the cold, windy first day of the 115th Annual Penn Relays. After traveling down to Philadelphia, Pa. last night, the Bulldogs had a full day of individual events and relays on Penn's Franklin Field. Penn Relays is one of the biggest and most historic track meets in the world, drawing more than 22,000 entries and more than 100,000 spectators over the course of the three days. While competing against some of the best athletes in the country, Yale also had a chance to see how its best Ivy League rivals could perform.
One of the first events of the day was the 400-meter hurdle championship. Senior Jennifer Lin finished third in her section in a time of 1:02.76, which made her 30th in a field of 59. She missed the ECAC qualifying mark by less than half a second. Lin finished ahead of other Ivy League contestants from Penn and Cornell.
"It was nice to run with some other Ivy League girls," Lin said. "In the past we haven't run that well because you have to get up so early and got there so late the night before, but we're all in the same circumstances, and I was really happy with how I ran."
Later in the afternoon, the 4x100 meter relay heats were held. The Yale team finished in 49.08, which was good for fifth place in its heat and 51st place overall in a field of 81 teams. Freshman Alexa Monti ran the first leg of the relay, followed by junior Claudia Duncan, sophomore Jennifer Parker, and sophomore Kate Grace ran anchor. In this event the Bulldogs had better Ivy competition: Penn finished 27th in 47.20 and Cornell 34th in 47.68.
In the evening, most of the 4x100-meter relay team returned to run the 4x400 meter relay. In the only event that has a separate race for the Heptagonal schools, Yale finished third amongst its fellow Ivy League schools in 3:47.93, only .03 seconds behind Colombia. Duncan started out strong for the first leg, finishing in the lead as she handed it off to Lin. Parker was next, and Grace finished it off magnificently for the Bulldogs, having to work harder because of a messy handoff.
"She would have had the girl in front of her with five more meters," Lin asserted. "We were all really happy with how we did."
The 3,000-meter steeplechase was the last event of the day for the Bulldogs, and senior Bevin Peters finished in grand style. Peters finished third in 10:53.31.
"I felt pretty good during the entire race," Peters said. "I was really hoping to get under NCAA Regionals time, since I was so close two weeks ago, but I felt that I was in it the entire time. It was a really nice atmosphere. It was weird waiting around all day, but it was less stressful in the evening, because the crowds at Penn are huge even on Thursday and kind of intimidating, and they dispersed by the evening. It was a little chillier jumping in the water than we would've liked, though."
Freshman Anne Lovelace also ran a good race in the steeplechase to finish ninth in 11:16.22. The field included four other Ivy League competitors, including first-place finisher Kari Higdem from Columbia (10:48.58). Cornell had two runners in the Championship event as well, which boasted the 11 fastest runners of the meet: Stephanie Pancoast won the event in 10:30.46, while their other runner, Erin Roberts, earned sixth in 10:42.04.
"The meet opened higher than they're used to," Lin explained. "It's hard to jump that high on your first jump when it's cold."
The Bulldogs seemed very happy with how they competed.
"I feel like we're right where we need to be," Peters said. "People will be prepared to run really well at Heps in two weeks, and everyone is motivated to keep working until then."
After many hard-fought events, most of the athletes who competed Thursday headed back to New Haven that evening, while the others are staying to compete in the 4x800 meter relay at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Live results will be found here.
On Sunday the Yale Springtime Invitational will be held on the Cuyer-Dwyer track, which will be the last home meet for senior Bulldogs. The meet is also the last competition before Heptagonal Championships (back in Philadelphia on Franklin Field) May 9-10.
Report by Kyle Eichner '12, Yale Sports Publicity