May 10, 2009

Grace Wins 800-meter Run at Heptagonal Championships

May 10, 2009

Complete Results

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale women's track and field team finished competition at the Heptagonal Championships at Penn with some very fast team. Following Saturday's preliminary heats, Yale had four athletes qualify for finals in individual running events, and on Sunday those finalists, steeplechasers, field athletes and three relay teams competed. The Bulldogs ended the meet with 30 points for eighth place, and posted some impressive times in the process.

Princeton carried away the Ivy League banner, as they did at the cross country championships in the fall. Points were awarded to the top six finishers in each event: 10 points for first place, 8 for second, and 6, 4, 2, and 1 points for the following four places.

All-American sophomore Kate Grace lived up to everyone's expectations as she ran away with the 800-meter run title. Grace captured the win in 2:09.01, only .17 seconds ahead of Penn's Anna Aagenes. She also finished just ahead of Aagenes at indoor Heptagonals in March, when she won in 2:07.83, only .97 seconds ahead of the Penn runner. Grace ran 2:11.11 on Saturday to qualify, leaving her with the third-fastest time of the day, while Serita Lachesis of Columbia ran the fastest qualifying time of 2:09.26. On Sunday Lachesis placed third. Grace is the first Bulldog to win the event outdoors since Louisa Gerritz in 1987. Last year she finished a close second outdoors. Grace's best time is 2:07.83, which qualified her for NCAA championships again this year.

Junior Claudia Duncan finished the 400-meter dash in 55.49, breaking her own school record from yesterday of 55.62. This put her in third place - a freshman from Columbia won the event in 53.55. Duncan's time finally qualifies her for the ECAC regional championships, after running tantalizingly close to the mark for the past several weeks.

Senior captain Jennifer Lin finished fourth in the 400-meter hurdles in a time of 1:01.82, which is a personal best by .22 seconds. She was ranked fifth going into the championships, and was happy to have run faster than expected.

Freshman Alexa Monti ran the 100-meter dash for the Bulldogs, finishing seventh - a good deal better than her ninth-place ranking going into the championships - in 12.62 seconds, about .4 seconds than the personal best she ran Saturday in her preliminary heat.

Yale's relay teams performed well today even though all three posted slower times than usual because their many of their members either were also running individual events, or else were stretched thin among events. Monti, Duncan and Grace competed for Yale in the 4x100 meter relay, along with sophomore Jennifer Parker. The team placed fifth in a time of 48.01, slightly slower than their personal best.

The 4x400-meter relay team consisted of Lin, Parker, freshman Gabriella Kelly and junior Faith Briggs. They finished fourth in 3:51.89. The group that has not competed together before; as Lin said, "we ran really well for the situation."

The 4x800 meter relay ended with Yale in fourth place as well; junior Erin Walsh, senior Kathryn Schleckser, junior Stephany Reaves and Grace, anchoring the team, finished in 9:00.25.

In all, Yale was not disappointed with the day; as Lin summarized, "Everyone who made finals did pretty well, and ended up higher than they were seeded for going into the race."

This was the final meet for many Yale athletes, but those Bulldogs who have qualified will be competing next weekend at the ECAC championships at Princeton.

Report by Kyle Eichner '12, Yale Sports Publicity