May 6, 2009

Bulldogs Head to Heptagonal Championships

May 6, 2009

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - This weekend is the culmination of a long year of competition for the Bulldogs. On Saturday and Sunday they will compete against all of their Ivy League rivals at the Heptagonal Championships in Philadelphia, Pa. This is the last team competition for the Bulldogs, and the last meet that does not require certain qualifying times. On Saturday, Franklin Field will host preliminary heats of all running events (finals only of the 10,000-meter run), and finals of many field events. All of Sunday's events will be finals.

Franklin Field is familiar to those Bulldogs who were there almost two weeks ago for Penn Relays. Most of the athletes who competed there will be back to compete exclusively against other Ivy League schools.

Last year, when the event was held at Yale's Cuyler-Dwyer complex, the Bulldogs tied with Dartmouth for seventh place. They hope to improve upon that finish this weekend. Cornell and Princeton seem to be the teams to beat: Princeton won Cross Country Heps and Cornell won the indoor track championship.

Yale has a number of athletes who have performed very well this season and are very competitive within the Ivy League.

In field events, sophomore Emily Standish is ranked 10th along with two Dartmouth jumpers with a height of 1.65 meters in the high jump. Last year at Heps Standish achieved a surprising second-place finish in a jump of 1.67 meters.

Sophomore Stephanie Scaramella is ranked eighth in the shot put with her throw of 12.83 meters. With her performance of 39.93 meters in the discus throw, sophomore Rachel Kuschner is ranked eighth in the event.

In the 100-meter dash, freshman Marieme Mbaye is ranked sixth in the league with a time of 12.22 and freshman Alexa Monti is ranked ninth in 12.29. The freshmen have been running together all season, exchanging times and places, and they should both run well on Saturday.

In the 400-meter dash, junior Claudia Duncan is ranked eighth with a time of 56.32, which is just above the ECAC qualifying standards.

Sophomore Kate Grace is ranked first in the league in the 800-meter run with her time of 2:07.83 in the outdoor season, about half a second ahead of her closest opponent (Anna Aagenes from Penn who has run 2:08.29). Grace won the 800-meter run at the indoor Heptagonal Championships in March with her time of 2:07.83 (breaking the school record). Grace went to the NCAA Championships in the event, finishing eighth after an amazing performance in the preliminaries with a time of 2:04.72. Grace also went to outdoor NCAA Championships last June for the 800-meter run. Grace is also ranked seventh in the Ivy League in the 1,500-meter run with her time of 4:30.31 from the Harvard-Yale Invitational Apr. 18.

Yale has two very competitive athletes in the 3,000-meter steeplechase: senior Bevin Peters is ranked eighth with her personal best of 10:50.48 from the Harvard-Yale vs. Oxford-Cambridge meet Apr. 10, and freshman Anne Lovelace is ranked tenth with a time of 10:54.87. They are facing very tough competition from Cornell and Columbia, though, and will have to work hard.

Senior captain Jennifer Lin is ranked fifth in the 400-meter hurdles with her personal best of 1:02.04. Lin has competed against many of these athletes before: she finished ahead of the woman ranked fourth when they competed against one another at Penn Relays. Lin is optimistic about the competition this weekend.

"It helps that some of us are done with finals and there's less stress. Everyone has been really good in practice; in some events we aren't very deep - we don't have anyone running the 5k or 10k - but where we do have people we'll be very competitive. The relays are very solid and should do well."

There are no rankings among relay teams, but the Bulldogs have pulled off consistently strong performances this season. The 4x100-meter relay team had its strongest showing in late March when they finished in 47.96. Yale finished behind both Penn and Cornell in the event at Penn Relays, but they have the potential to run faster this weekend.

At Penn Relays, there was actually a separate Heptagonal race for the 4x400 meter relay, and Yale placed third among the competing schools. The team finished in 3:47.93, only .03 seconds behind Columbia, and 1.05 seconds behind first-place Cornell, so the Bulldogs have a good chance of doing very well in this event.

The 4x800-meter relay team also has a chance to do well; at Penn Relays they finished in 8:56.42: two seconds behind Columbia and a good 10 seconds ahead of Princeton. Last year Yale placed third in the event with a slower time of 9:00.50.

Another potential point-earner for the Bulldogs is sophomore Eve King, who will be competing in the heptathlon. Last year as a freshman King placed sixth in the event.

Field events start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and preliminary running heats start at 11 a.m.. Events continue until 7:15 p.m. and resume Sunday morning at 9 a.m. for finals. A complete schedule of events can be found here.

Previews of each team and more information about the meet can be found at HepsTrack.com

Any fans traveling to the event should be aware of the construction currently taking place around Franklin Field, and can go here for details.

Live results will be posted on HepsTrack.com during the competitions, and complete results will be posted on YaleBulldogs.com at the end of each day.

Report by Kyle Eichner '12, Yale Sports Publicity

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