For two Penn track and field athletes, the year-long wait after a heartbreaking finish last May is finally over.
Five members of the women’s team and three members of the men’s team are set to compete at the NCAA East Preliminary Round of the NCAA Championships beginning today in Greesboro, N.C.
But two in particular are happy that this day has arrived at long last.
Senior Anna Aagenes and junior Darryll Oliver represent the only repeat qualifiers from last year’s NCAA Regionals, in which eight men and two women from Penn participated.
Aagenes will compete in the 1,500 meters in possession of the 28th best time in the East Region. The senior missed the cut for nationals by just one second in the 800 meters at last year’s regionals.
She has since posted a career-best time in the 1,500 — 4:24.32 at the April 10 P-Y-P meet.
Oliver, meanwhile, ranks 17th in the East in the 800 meters. His time of 1:48.41 places him third in his heat, automatically qualifying him for tomorrow’s quarterfinals.
A year ago, Oliver finished just over a second shy of third place in his heat, meaning his road also ended at regionals.
On the women’s side, Aagenes will be joined by seniors Jamie Massarelli (800 meters) and Kathryn Gevitz (long and triple jumps), sophomore Paige Madison (400-meter hurdles) and junior Kali Strother (400 meters).
For the men, junior James Foreman and freshman Tim Carey will also compete, in the pole vault and 400 hurdles, respectively.
With regional meets eliminated from the postseason schedule beginning this year, the top 24 competitors from each event this weekend will move onto the quarterfinals, where the fields will be narrowed down to 12.
The remaining runners will advance to the semifinals and finals of the NCAA Championships, which will be held in Eugene, Ore., June 9-12.
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