If Saturday is any indication, this could be a fun year for Penn track.
In their first indoor track meet of the season and the last before break, the Red and Blue picked up victories in an impressive 15 events at the Lehigh Fast Times in Bethlehem, Pa.
The stars of the event were Penn’s freshmen, four of whom were able take home first-place finishes in the first collegiate track meet of their careers.
“You could tell they were all a little nervous and excited,” coach Steve Dolan said. “It’s validation of a fall of hard work … It was a really good sign moving forward.”
Among the outstanding freshmen were Taylor McCorkle , Barbara Biney and Candace Taylor .
McCorkle and Biney took the top two spots at the meet’s 60-meter dash. McCorkle finished first with a 7.60s run, setting a track record and posting the second-fastest time in school history. Meanwhile, Biney finished just behind, earning the sixth spot on Penn’s all-time list.
Meanwhile, Taylor won the 500m, completing the run in just 1:15.09, good for fifth-best in school history.
Jeff Wiseman and Jordan Palmer each also took home victories in their collegiate debuts, finishing first in the men’s 500m and triple jump, respectively.
While the youngsters largely stole the show on the track, it was two established veterans who led the way for the Red and Blue in the field events.
Fresh off of his victory in the “Mr. and Mrs. Penn” body-building competition earlier in the year, junior thrower Sam Mattis continued his extravagant streak of success from last fall with first-place finishes in both the men’s shot put and weight throw.
With Mattis leading the way and a lot of quality depth behind them, Dolan is hopeful that the men’s throwers can continue their improvement from last season.
“It’s a fun dynamic with the throwers,” he said. “There’s a good group of guys pushing each other.”
Fellow junior thrower Serena Graf also impressed, throwing a personal-best 13.46m in the shot put and moving her up to fifth in the school’s record books.
The Quakers were well represented in just about every event that the meet had to offer. However, the Red and Blue did not feature their full squad. Coming off of a long cross country season, Penn’s long-distance runners got the meet off.
The meet was not team-scored and competition was limited, so it is difficult to make any clear conclusions about the team’s overall performance. However, Dolan definitely left the meet feeling optimistic.
“It’s just a season opener, but … when you think about where we were last year, we’re definitely a step ahead,” he said.
The Red and Blue will have a long break before they get back to any competitive action, when they will find themselves back at Lehigh on Jan. 17 for the Mountain Hawk Challenge.
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