For once, the Penn track and field team will be more than happy to not run outside.
With 16-24 inches of snow estimated to hit the Northeast this weekend, the Quakers will be nice and comfy inside of New York’s historic Armory, as they compete in the Rider/Lafayette Invitational on Friday.
It will be the Red and Blue’s third trip to the track mecca this season, and it could not have come at a better time, as Heptagonal championships at Harvard loom just two weeks away.
For the moment, however, Penn is focusing mainly on the fact that they won’t be exposed to the crippling elements.
“The best part of indoor is the fact its always perfect ‘running weather,’” junior sprinter/hurdler Gabrielle Piper said.
It’s been a strong season for Piper so far, who finished 6th in the 60-meter dash at last Saturday’s Sykes and Sabock Cup at Penn State, posting a time of 8.76 seconds in the finals.
For Piper, though, one of the most decorated sprinters in Penn track history, “strong” is just “okay.”
“My times are just about the same as this point in my previous seasons,” Piper said. “I’m really hoping to get closer than my personal record … so that I can really improve during our conference championship.”
The women’s team has been solid, posting a 9th place finish out of 14 at Penn State, and finishing 4th out of 12 teams in their last visit to the Armory for College Night at the Armory II.
“We’ve been doing fine,” Piper said. “There’s definitely room for improvement but I am confident we’ll get to were we need to go.”
But things haven’t been perfect.
“For whatever reason, the women’s team just hasn’t been able to stay healthy,” Piper said. “A lot of top performers, including myself, have been hit with nagging injuries that have affected our performances.”
On the men’s side, though, injuries have become background noise, as the team has put together a string of strong performances of late.
At Penn State, the team finished 7th, a strong follow-up to a first-place finish out of nine teams in their last visit to the Armory.
Notable performances at Penn State included senior Mike Kiley, who won the 2000m steeplechase with a time of 5:47.33 and freshman Tim Hamlett, who finished 5th in the 600m with a time of 1:21.05.
The Quakers have kept their success in perspective as they head towards their biggest meets of the season.
“We’re getting to the point in our season when we need to be ready for heps,” Piper said. “This weekend will be important in ensuring that we get to where we need to be.”