May 7, 2005

Record-Setting Day for Lederman, Woodard at Outdoor Heps

May 7, 2005

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New York, N.Y. - Junior Molly Lederman (Newton, Mass.) set a meet record in the pole vault and junior Joslyn Woodard (Irvine, Calif.) won the long jump for the third year in a row as part of a memorable first day of action at Outdoor Heps for Yale Saturday. Lederman's 12-8.75 beat the 12-5.5 mark posted by Brown's Lauren Contursi in 2002, making her Yale's first women's pole vault champion in the seven-year history of the event at Outdoor Heps. Woodard's 19-1.5 made her the first Ivy athlete ever to be a three-time women's long jump champ at Outdoor Heps.

Lederman, one of the first Bulldogs to compete on a gray and windy day at Columbia's Baker Field, struggled early on.

"The start of the day, honestly, was not very good - it was one of the worst warm-ups I've ever had," Lederman said. "But after the bar went up, I was able to switch my focus, and it got progressively better."

Last year's Heps champ in the pole vault, Penn's Samantha Crook, topped out at 11-11.75 in finishing second, leaving the suspense to Lederman. Lederman cleared the bar on her third attempt at the record-setting height. It was initially marked at 3.90 but was re-measured to 3.88, still more than enough for the record.

Woodard provided the next highlight for Yale, continuing her reign as the meet's top long jumper. She has now won six combined indoor and outdoor long jump Heps titles, besting Brown's Ashley Wall (18-8.5) for this one.

"When I first won the long jump as a freshman, I said to myself `Do that every time'," Woodard recalled. "It was nice to hold on this time."

Woodard's day also included the 100m trials and semis and the 200m trials and semis. Her busy schedule on the track eventually caught up to her on her last long jump. She was literally called for her final jump just after crossing the finish line in the 200m semis, and with first place already sewn up she had to pass on the chance to jump again. While that kept her from taking a crack at some personal records, the 10 points she picked up for the team were more than enough to compensate.

"I beat myself for myself, I beat other people for my team - my team's really important," Woodard said.

Woodard advanced to Sunday's finals in both of those other events as well, finishing with the top time in the 100m semis (11.96) and the 200m semis (24.50). Senior Aisha Cort (Dorchester, Mass.) also qualified in the 100m (12.12 in the semis) but came up just short in the 200m (25.44 in the semis).

Senior Vanessa Mazandi (Brookline, Mass.) won her heat in the 800m run (2:12.08) to qualify for Sunday's final in that event, while senior Vanessa Everding (Skaneatales, NY) (2:16.77), junior Rachel Harrington (West Mystic, Conn.) (2:23.54), freshman Meredith Leenhouts (Franklin, Mass.) (2:17.42) and freshman Ingrid Sproll (Winnipeg, Man.) (2:19.47) came up short.

Other Bulldogs who competed Saturday but did not qualify for finals included sophomore Jessica Pall (Pennington, NJ) (1:00.63) and senior Candace Arthur (Brookville, NY) (1:02.06) in the 400m dash, sophomore Ashley Campbell (Lutherville, Md.) (4:49.72) and junior Kathryn Matlack (Bonsall, Calif.) (4:57.77) in the 1500m run, and junior Chinenye Okafor (Rolla, Miss.) in the 100m hurdles (17.75). Junior Margo Angelopoulos (North Haven, Conn.) finished seventh in the hammer throw (138-7).

In addition to Lederman and Woodard's heroics, the Bulldogs also got an inspirational performance from senior captain Katrina Svoboda (Bayport, N.Y.), who came back from an injury to run in the 400m hurdle trials and finished in 1:05.19.

"She's one of those people who, when she's on the track you feel it," Woodard said. "She has a presence."

"She's awesome," Lederman added. "She's the best leader I've seen since I've been here. She's been a big factor in mustering a good, positive attitude."

The Bulldogs ended the day in a tie for 4th place with 20 points, just five points behind first-place Cornell. The meet concludes Sunday.

report by Sam Rubin '95 (sam.rubin@yale.edu), Yale Sports Publcity

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