The Yale men’s track and field team cleaned up at the annual Yale Dartmouth Columbia meet and the women’s team showed promise for the season to come. Rookie thrower Matt Appel ’24 broke the program shot put record.
Toia Conde Rodrigues da Cunha
Courtesy of Yale Athletics
Dartmouth and Columbia made the trek to New Haven last weekend to compete in the annual YDC track and field meet. With a record-breaking performance from Matt Appel ’24, the Yale men’s track and field team was able to pull out a victory in dominant fashion. The women’s team also delivered a great performance, taking second place on the day.
At the meet last Saturday, the Blue and White came to play, with the men’s team scoring 81 points against Columbia’s 47 and Dartmouth’s 46, and the women scoring 56 points coming second to Dartmouth’s 78. Both teams left Coxe Cage with renewed confidence for the rest of the season and a new Yale shot put record achieved by Appel.
“It was actually kind of interesting how I found out my throw was a new school record,” Appel recalls in an email to the News. “I knew immediately that it was a big throw so I celebrated as I walked out of the ring, but my coach initially heard the official incorrectly and told me I was close to the school record if I could fix one or two small things.”
“The record as I had come to know it was recorded in feet, but the officials read off performances in meters. It wasn’t until a throw or two later we actually were on the same page and by that point, I had to stay locked in even after hearing the exciting news because finals weren’t over yet.”
Appel, in just his second meet for the Blue and White, broke the record previously held by John Langhauser ’07 of 58 feet and 8 inches with a new score of 58 feet and 10.25 inches.
This was Yale’s first Ivy League meet and their first scored meet, as their season opener had taken place in December 2021.
“Our men came out with a focus and fire from the first event to the last,” head coach David Shoehalter said to Yale Athletics. “Each did their job and the result was a big victory over two of our oldest rivals.”
After Appel’s outstanding performance, the Bulldog jumpers did their part by winning every following event, with Odera Nweke ’23 scoring five points and Darius Jing ’22 scoring three in the long jump.
Rookie Marcus Young ’24 also shone on the day, again taking first place after having already done so in December.
In the 60-meter dash, the Bulldogs secured all five of the fastest times in the preliminaries and in the finals, with Trent Charles ’22 taking the lead with 6.8 seconds under his belt in that first round, and Nweke, James Grindle ’25, Jacob Kao ’25 and Phil Zuccaro ’22 also leading the way. Kao and Grindle broke seven seconds for the first time in their collegiate careers, increasing the expectation for a great season ahead.
The Bulldogs also secured top spots in the mile, with Robert Miranda ’22 championing over the other runners. Rookie Zakaria Nfaoui ’25 earned a second-place finish in the 60 meter hurdles.
Austin Montini ’25 finished his first indoor race for Yale in the 1,000-meter run, topping his teammate and senior cross country captain Will Laird ’22 for second place. In the 200-meter dash, Kao edged out Zuccaro for first place, and the Bulldog Christopher Colbert ’22 took third place.
In the 4-x-800 meter relay, the Bulldogs placed second, but Yale’s A and B teams won the 4-x-400 meter relay with an incredible performance by Zuccaro.
Although the women did not come in first like the men, their second-place finish showed the squad’s great potential.
“We are focused on taking advantage of every opportunity we are given to compete and we did just that,” said Shoehalter. “We showed a hunger and desire that will serve us well as we move forward this season.”
Rookies Dominique Romain ’25 and Bharathi Subbiah ’25 placed in third and fourth respectively in the long jump, while Eileen Yang ’24 earned her second victory in the pole vault.
Libby McMahon ’22 placed second in the finals of the 60-meter dash, with a time of 7.67 seconds, almost breaking the Yale school record of 7.57 seconds. Romain and Julia Dvorak ’25 both placed fourth in the 60 meter dash and the mile, respectively.
The 1,000-meter run’s highlight was Samantha Friborg ’23, who broke her best by five seconds, ending with 2 minutes, 51.48 seconds on the clock, securing the top spot. McMahon also came to defend her spot as the Yale 200-meter record holder with a first-place finish. Kathryn Rodrigues ’24 also showcased a great performance placing third in the 3,000-meter run.
Friborg, Dvorak and Petre joined Iris Bergman ’25 to win the 4-x-800 meter relay by an incredible 21 seconds. In the 4-x-400 meter relay, the Bulldogs also took the top spot.
Earlier, in the 500-meter dash, the women took the podium with Friborg leading the way, with Maya Sharp ’22 and Arielle Moore ’25 trailing after her. Bridget Vitu ’25 and Ella Mainwaring Foster ’24 took third and fourth place in the 400-meter dash, respectively, while Kyra Pretre ’24 placed second in the 800-meter run.
“It was a great start; I think everyone is getting a lot more comfortable being back to competing,” Vitu said. “I think this season is going to be really good because everyone is doing so well already and we still have so much more to do!”
This weekend, the Bulldogs were supposed to take on the Crimson and the Tigers at the HYP meet in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but the competition was canceled due to inclement weather.