BOSTON – The Yale women's track and field team had a historic night in Beantown at the Valentine Invitational hosted by Boston University. All across the board, the Bulldogs put together some impressive performances. Most notably, senior Frances Schmiede was back at it again with yet another record.
This evening, Schmiede broke her own record in the mile run in a masterful performance. Running in the first heat of a competitive race, she was up against mostly professional athletes, as well as a few talented collegiate runners. As she describes it, "I was super pleased to have the chance to mix it up in a fast race. The race went by in a blur of trading places with other runners. It made it easier to just be competitive and not worry about the time." The race went off at a ferocious pace, with the winner crossing the line in 4:24.16. Coincidentally, that is actually the fastest indoor mile in the world this year. Schmiede did a good job sticking close, as she was able to finish sixth, only behind one other collegiate runner.
Yale Cross Country and Middle-Distance/Distance Coach Amy Gosztyla was proud of Schmiede for her accomplishment this evening. Gosztyla has worked extensively with Schmiede over the course of the past couple of years and was proud to see her reap the benefits of her diligent training. "Frances had a fantastic race today in the mile. We knew she was ready to run a personal best after her performance last week in the 1000-meter run," said Gosztyla. "The goal for today was to put up a mark for the NCAA Indoor Championships. She executed perfectly in a competitive field with professional and collegiate runners. I'm really excited to see what she can do as we move into the championship season."
With a final time of 4:34.54, Schmiede not only broke her record but also claims by far the fastest time in the Ivy League and the fourth fastest time in the nation this year at the time this article is being written. "I was very happy when I saw that I'd run a PR, it puts me in a great place for post-season," said Schmiede. With her time, she will most likely qualify for the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championship. Schmiede reflected, "I'm excited to be able to go to Nationals again this year because I learned a lot from the experience last year. I want to have a chance to improve from where I finished then."
It's been quite a couple of years for Schmiede, who now owns three of Yale's records. It started during an outstanding 2016 cross country season, and followed with a record in the mile run and the Bulldogs' first indoor Nationals qualifier in years. Schmiede went on to have outstanding outdoor and cross country seasons, adding yet another National competition under her belt. With her second trip to indoor Nationals fairly certain, Schmiede will look to further build upon on her amazing collegiate career during the postseason.
Senior Meredith Rizzo also had a spectacular performance in the mile run, crossing the line with an impressive final time of 4:43.51 to finish second in her heat and 14th overall out of over 200 athletes. With her time, Rizzo now owns the third-best time in Yale history and fifth overall in the Ivy League this year to add on to a strong final season on the team. Sophomore Ellie Atkinson also landed herself on that list with the ninth-fastest time at 4:47.43. The trio of Bulldogs that shined at this meet highlight the depth with which the team enters this year's Ivy League Heptagonal Championships.
This depth is further evident throught the evening's performances. Senior Emily Waligurki crossed the line fourth in her heat and overall out of a total of 143 competitors in the 800-meter run with a new personal best of 2:09.34. She now owns the fourth-fastest time in this event.
Meanwhile, freshman Gemma Shepherd continued to impress the team with her natural speed, finishing seventh in a very fast heat of the 3,000-meter run and seventh overall out of over 100 athletes. Her final time of 9:25.18 is among the fastest in the nation as well as fourth-best in the Ivy League this year. Moreover, the freshman managed to run the sixth-fastest time in Yale history for this event. Senior Chandler Olson also had a great race, dropping an additional 15 seconds off her 3,000m time with a new personal best of 9:53.24. Junior Julia Borowski, freshman Lauren Chapey & Jane Miller and senior Rachel Jones also ran great races with new personal bests.
Earlier in the day, freshman Sydney Holmes had a strong performance in the 60-meter hurdles, finishing eighth overall out of 90 competitors with a time of 8.82s. Though not a new personal best, Holmes further demonstrate her athletic prowess in this event. Sophomore Alexandra Lee completed an impressive trio of events with the 60-meter dash, 60-meter hurdles and 200-meter dash with final times of 7.94, 9.45 and 25.81, respectively. Freshman Lillian Enes made her debut in the 400-meter dash for the Bulldogs, logging a fast time of 57.84. She narrowly landed herself on Yale's top-10 performances with just her first attempt in the event.
Finally, on the field senior captain Kate Simon finished 12th overall in the weight thrown with a best mark of 16.01m for the afternoon (52-06.5) while sophomore Evelyn Roberts threw for a distance of 14.75 (48-04.75).
The Bulldogs will take the next week off in preparation for the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships on February 25-6 at the Armory in New York. It will be the beginning of championship season for the Bulldogs, as they look to improve upon last year's performance at this championship meet. A detailed preview of the meet will be posted the week of the meet.
Report by Ariel A. Sánchez '19, Yale Sports Publicity