Penn track takes another step forward at George Mason

Quakers challenged school record books throughout the day on Saturday

· April 13, 2014, 8:51 pm   ·  Updated April 13, 2014, 10:56 pm

Courtesy of Penn Athletics | DP

Senior sprinter Lydia Ali ran a personal best 11.90 in the 100m at George Mason, a mark that has been bested only by teammate Heather Bong in the program's history.


Over the weekend, most of Penn’s students were busy flinging. Coincidentally, some of Penn’s top track and field athletes were also busy flinging.

But they were flinging in an entirely different sense. To be more precise, they were flinging discs, hammers, shots and javelins.

Either way, like the rest of Penn’s student body, the Quakers also had plenty of reason to celebrate, as the Red and Blue rewrote the school record books throughout Saturday at the George Mason Invitational.

With Penn Relays only two weeks away and postseason competition looming immediately after that, this weekend’s meet featured relatively low stakes, functioning as yet another tune up for many of Penn’s athletes.

However, this wasn’t reflected in the team results, as the Quakers put up outstanding performances across the board despite the low-key nature of the meet.

In a rare occurrence, the meet was team-scored, and both the men’s and women’s teams held their own against fields of largely unfamiliar competition. Both teams finished in the top half of the standings, and the men’s team was able to finish third out of 23 total teams competing.

As they have done largely throughout the entire outdoor season — and appropriately, given the timing of Spring Fling — the throwers stole the show for the Red and Blue.

Sophomore Kelsey Hay may have been Penn’s top performer on the day. The Leighton, Pa., native won the meet’s javelin throw and broke a 12-year-old school record with an outstanding toss of 160 feet .

Two of Penn’s top discus throwers — sophomore Sam Mattis and freshman Noah Kennedy-White — traveled to the Texas Invitational on their own to compete against some of the nation’s top throwers. Both stood out, with school-record holder Mattis taking second and Kennedy-White taking tenth overall in the meet.

Back at George Mason, the men’s team also received strong supplementary performances from senior throwers Jake Brenza and Jim Tully to help bolster its score of 77 points.

The Red and Blue may have made the most noise with their throwers, but they also had success on the track despite resting some of their runners.

In his first meet back in action since breaking the school record in the 5000-meter, sophomore long-distance runner Thomas Awad stole the show once again for the men. Awad ran Penn’s fastest 1500 m time in 40 years and the third fastest in the nation this year at 3:43 on Saturday.

For the women’s squad, senior sprinter Lydia Ali showed up in a big way, running a personal best 11.90 in the 100 , another mark good enough for second-best in school history. Ali and junior Heather Bong — the current school record holder — will headline a promising 4x100 relay team for the women moving forward.

Overall, the Quakers put together arguably their strongest team performance of the season at George Mason. Next weekend, they will compete in the Larry Ellis Invitational in their last chance to improve before the Penn Relays.

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