January 18, 2008

Bulldogs Head to Hanover for First Inter-conference Meet

Jan. 18, 2008

NEW HAVEN, CT. - The Yale women's track and field team will race against Dartmouth and Columbia on Saturday, January 16th, in an inter-conference tri-meet at the Leverone Field House in Hanover, N.H.

In recent history, the women have faired well in the first dual-meet style competition of the season, as the Bulldogs have beaten Columbia in every meeting for the last four years and beaten Dartmouth twice (during the '03-'04 and '05-'06 seasons) in the same time frame. While the Bulldogs have graduated some of their strongest point scorers in Ashley Nolet, Katrina Castille, Katie Dlesk and Jessica Pall, Yale looks to continue its success in this meet with a younger roster.

The Bulldogs hope to dominate the sprints and hurdles against a field-strong Big Green program and a middle distance/distance heavy Columbia Lions squad. Claudia Duncan, currently number one in the Ivy League at 500 meters, will be expected to score big points in the long sprints and contribute on the 4x400 meter relay for Yale. Senior Catherine Bader (short sprints), senior Mary Kuder (long sprints), freshman Jennifer Parker (long sprints) and junior Jennifer Lin (long sprints) also expect to contribute strongly to the effort.

Senior Olakitan Awolesi (long jump) will lead the Bulldogs in the field against strong Big Green opposition. Dartmouth will rely on pole-vaulter Natalie Todd-Zebell, throwers Emily Daly and Jessica Long, and jumpers Micaela Carwell and Z-Hye Lee to generate points for the Big Green cause. Sophomore Bailey Carroll (pole-vault) and freshmen Emily Standish, Stephanie Scaramella and Rachel Kuschner will compete for the Bulldogs in the field as well.

Senior Lindsay Donaldson returns to the track after a break from her All-American cross country season to lead Yale in the distances. The Bulldogs will find their stiffest competition in the forms of Columbia middle distance runners Marissa Smith and Serita Lachesis, both second in the Ivy League in their respective events (800 and 1,000-meters). Senior Meredith Leenhouts, junior Kathryn Schleckser and sophomore Stephany Reaves look to compete against Columbia's middle distance stars.

Simply because Dartmouth and Columbia do not specialize in the sprints and hurdles doesn't mean that there won't be races at those distances. Watch for Columbia senior Osamuede Iyoha, the reigning Heptagonal 400-meter hurdle champion, to be in the mix in the long sprints and hurdles for the Lions, where she will battle against sophomore Kristin Baxivanos and freshman Eve King. Dartmouth hurdler Victoria Michelotti will also compete in the hurdles.

"The critical point of this meet is to compete," said associate head Coach David Shoehalter, "This meet isn't as much about how fast you run, how far you throw, or how you jump, but more about how you compete against conference competition. We want our athletes competing hard."

The meet is scheduled to begin at 12:00 noon with the men's 60-meter hurdles preliminary heats. Five points are awarded to first place finishes, three for second, two for third, and one point for fourth. In relay events, only the first and second team score (five and three points respectively).

report by Ted Galligan '10, Yale Sports Publicity

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