Bulldogs Head to Heptagonal Championships

Kate Grace.

Feb. 27, 2009

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Bulldogs will close out Ivy League competition this weekend at the Heptagonal Championship hosted by Harvard at Gordon Track. The Bulldogs will seek to improve on their seventh-place finish in 2008, and have a chance to score points in many events based upon the team's strong performances so far this year.

One of the best events for the Bulldogs could be the 800-meter run. Last year, the top Bulldog finisher was Meredith Leenhouts '08 in 2:14.98. This year, however, the team is even better. Sophomore Kate Grace, who competed at the outdoor NCAA Championships last year in the event, ran 2:10.85 to win the 800-meter run at the Harvard-Yale-Princeton meet Feb. 14. While Grace did not compete in the 800-meter run last year at the Heptagonal Championships, she did place second in the event at the outdoor Championships. Her time at the H-Y-P meet currently is the fourth-fastest time in the Ivy League and would have earned her second last year. The winner last year, Penn's Jesse Carlin, will not pose a threat as she has graduated. Junior Stephany Reaves also has a chance to do well for the Bulldogs in the event. She took third at the H-Y-P meet in the event while running 2:14.72. Reaves has the ninth-fastest time in the event in the Ivy League this year. Harvard sophomore Hilary May is the league leader in 2:08.70. They have not faced each other this year.

The Bulldogs also should have a chance to do well in the 400-meter dash. Last year, junior Claudia Duncan was fifth while Grace was seventh. Duncan has had a great season this year, breaking the school record in the 500-meter run, which will not be run at the Heptagonal Championships. Her time of 1:13.92 in the 500-meter run ties her for the fastest time in the Ivy League in the event. Duncan currently has the ninth-fastest time in the Ivy League in the 400-meter dash, running 57.51 on Jan. 18. Senior captain Jennifer Lin has the 10th fastest time in the event, but only competed in the pentathlon at the Heptagonal Championships last year.

The Bulldogs will be most hurt by graduation in the distance events. Lindsay Donaldson '08 won the 3,000-meter run and was second in the 5,000-meter run last year. Senior Kelli Buck has run the fastest time on the team this year in the 3,000-meter run. She ran the event in 9:57.97 at the Giegengack Invitational, a time that would have been good enough for eighth last year. Senior Bevin Peters also competed in the event last year, and has improved since then. Last year, she ran 10:14.51, but ran as fast as 10:09.36 at the Giegengack Invitational. No Bulldog competed in the mile run at the Heptagonal Championships last year, but Grace has run as fast as 4:52.07, a time that is the third-fastest in the League this year, but will focus on the 800-meter run this year.

In the sprint events, look for freshman Alexa Monti to make an impact. She has run as fast as 7.79 in the 60-meter dash this year, a time that places her ninth in the League. That time would have been good enough for fifth in the finals last year. While she is not ranked in the League's top 10 in the 200-meter dash, she has performed strongly in the event this year, running 26.00, good for eighth on the Yale all-time list.

The 4x400-meter relay could be another bright spot for the team, especially considering that three of the four members of the team are back this year and the Bulldogs boast the third-fastest team in the Ivy League. Last year, the team placed third and has run as fast as 3:51.48 this year.

The team's best event could be in the 4x800-meter relay. The team has the fastest time in the Ivy League at 9:01.89, more than five seconds ahead of the next fastest team. The Bulldogs were fifth in the event last year, but this season's time would have placed them third last year.

The Bulldogs can also expect to pick up points in the field events. While she did not score in either event last year, sophomore thrower Stephanie Scaramella has improved a lot since then. She is currently ranked seventh in the League in the shot put (12.79 meters) and tenth in the weight throw (14.56 meters).

Sophomore Emily Standish could do well this year in the high jump. While she had a no-height performance last year, her best jump this year of 1.65 meters would have placed her fifth at the meet last year. This mark is currently tied for seventh in the League.

Last year, Lin and sophomore Eve King finished seventh and eighth in the pentathlon and should expect to pick up points again this year. Lin won the 800-meter run event of the pentathlon last year. She scored 3,269 points while King scored 3,175 points.

The Bulldogs should be well prepared for the meet. They have not competed in two week, when they raced in the Harvard-Yale-Princeton dual meet. That was also held at Gordon Track, so the team is accustomed to the venue.

Competition will get underway with the long jump, pole vault and weight throw at 11:00 a.m. Running events start at 12:00 p.m. with the 60meter hurdles.

Report filed by Caleb Dorfman '09, Yale Sports Publicity