If this was any other team, there might be reason for concern.
Three meets into the 2013-14 season, the Penn men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams haven’t been at full strength for any contest. Neither team has had all of its players for any of its meets thus far.
But for Director of Track and Field Steve Dolan’s program, that’s all just part of the plan.
“These past few weekends we are still sort of at half -speed,” Dolan said. “The way we approached this season was with the mentality that January would be our development month and that we would look to build into our harder meets in February.”
With their eyes set on further development, the Quakers spent the weekend at the Haverford College Invitational. The Red and Blue squared off against a field that included Johns Hopkins, Swarthmore, Widener and Messiah College.
But while Haverford may have been just a training meet for Penn, the members of each squad that did compete seemed ready for the real racing to start.
On the men’s side, sophomore Ben Bowers was the standout performer for the Quakers. Bowers reached the podium three times, winning the 60-meter sprint, the 200m race and the 60m hurdles.
“I thought Ben was definitely our team’s sprinter of the day,” Dolan said. “He is really starting to build up his speed, and he just had a really strong performance.”
Jordan Jett also had an excellent all-around performance for the Red and Blue. The junior captured the triple jump with a winning distance of 14.08 meters and also finished third in the 60m dash.
To cap off the day, sophomores Thomas Awad and Clark Shurtleff placed first and second in the one-mile race, with times of 4:12.56 and 4:12.80, respectively.
However, it was the women’s team proved to be even more successful on Saturday.
Freshman Noel Jancewicz led the way for Penn . The rookie won the 800m race in 2:20.78, finished second in the long jump and also captured third place in the 60m hurdles.
“It feels great to know that I am able to contribute to such a great program,” Jancewicz said. “I’m pretty happy with my performance today, especially getting a personal record in hurdles.”
Penn had several other top-tier races on the day. Freshman Ashley Montgomery won the one-mile race with a personal best time of 5:00.93, a time that Dolan deemed to be the highlight of the day.
Montgomery’s fellow freshman, Cleo Whiting, carried over her winning ways from the cross-country season to Haverford. Competing in her first-ever indoor event, Whiting won the 3,000m race in 9:54.35. Senior captain Kersie Jhabvala finished the 3,000m race at third place with a time of 10:16.91.
The Quakers ended the day with several more wins, including victories by junior Jenny Thompson in the triple jump, sophomore Gillian Berger in the long jump and sophomore Eliana Yankelev in the 60-meter hurdles.
Next up for the Quakers will be the Columbia Invitational next Saturday. The training wheels will almost most certainly come off there, and Dolan will finally see what kind of damage a full Penn squad can do on the track.
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