JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In a thrilling first evening of competition at the NCAA Regionals, both of Yale's 1500 meter runners, sophomore Nick Dahl and junior Allen Siegler, qualified for the quarterfinals on Saturday. Meanwhile, senior Austin Laut capped off a fantastic career as a Bulldog in the pole vault, finishing 19th.
In a performance that will have rocked the competition, Dahl won his first-round heat. With his various wins this season, he is already renowned for his strong last quarter-mile. However he has clearly peaked to perfection for this meet: he took off at the sound of the bell, clocking a truly world-class 54-second last lap, cruising to the line with a huge gap to the rest of the field. He will surely go into the final a watched man – a situation one can be sure he will relish.
Not to be outdone by his training partner, Siegler also qualified with a wonderful performance. His heat was easily the fastest, yet he maintained his composure and executed in a manner that has come to be expected of him this season. His time of 3.46.42 – his second-fastest run over the distance – was good enough for fifth in the overall standings, only a second from first.
Across the track, Austin Laut was putting the finishing touches on what has been a brilliant career as a Bulldog. In a highly competitive field, Laut finished 19th. His vault of 5.11m was a mere 10 cm from qualification. Ever the optimist, he said "It's been a great Yale career! 4.5 hours of competition later and I didn't make it to Austin, but I couldn't have asked for a more fun meet." Laut's effervescence and leadership will be deeply missed by the Bulldogs next year.
At 6.45 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday, Dahl and Siegler will run in the NCAA National Championship 1500m Quarterfinals. It will, without doubt, be the biggest race of either of their lives thus far. There will be two races, with the top five from each heat and the next two best times qualifying for the National Championship in Austin, Texas. Both Bulldogs have now proven beyond doubt that potential to do so.
Results can be found here.
Report by Harrison Smith '22, Yale Sports Publicity