In its first university affiliation, Oiselle, the Seattle-based women’s athletic apparel company, signed on as the official apparel provider of the Yale University Women’s Cross Country and Track and Field programs, starting this Fall 2015.
Yale’s tradition in running includes Olympians Frank Shorter (1969) and Olympic Coach Mark T. Young (1968).
After women were admitted to Yale in 1969, the women’s program took root and flourished. Outstanding women runners and leaders under the Yale program have included Patricia Melton (’82); the Executive Director of New Haven Promise, Kate O’Neill (’03); and the first female Track and Field Olympian from Yale and middle distance standout Kate Grace (’11), now an Oiselle athlete.
In the fall of 1987, the Yale Women’s XC Team earned third place at the NCAA Championships, which still ranks to date as the highest ever women’s team finish by an Ivy League school.
Beyond pro runner Grace, connections between Yale and Oiselle include an early Oiselle investor, Sarah Lesko (neé Smith) (’91), also a Yale XC Captain and former school record holder.
Founder and CEO of Oiselle Sally Bergesen said, “This was an incredible opportunity for us. In the same way that Oiselle was founded to rethink women’s athletic apparel, this was a chance to rethink what a collegiate kit could be, and look to raise the bar. But the best part, of course, will be seeing the athletes in motion. We’re incredibly honored to have them wearing Oiselle!”
Coach David Shoehalter, director of Yale Track and Field and Cross Country, added, “We are very excited about outfitting our women in Oiselle. Ever since Kate Grace signed with the company we have admired what they do. Sally and her team have worked hard to craft a look for our team that is modern yet still respects the history and tradition that Yale Track and Field and Cross Country embody.”
Oiselle said it plans to form opportunities with similar collegiate athletic programs in the future.