tomawad

Senior Thomas Awad was one of four members of Penn men’s track to take part in a successful title defense in the distance medley relay at Heps.

Photo: Ilana Wurman / The Daily Pennsylvanian

Penn track and field traveled to Cornell over the weekend to compete in the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships, with the men’s and women’s teams placing fourth and seventh, respectively.

The only event victory for the Quakers came in the men’s distance medley relay, where the group of juniors Nick Tuck and Chris Hatler, sophomore James Buser and senior Thomas Awad successfully defended the school’s 2015 title with a 10:00.58 time, which was just .09 seconds quicker than second-place Yale and .54 seconds faster than third-place Cornell.

“With 400 [meters] to go, Yale took the lead and I tried to make a move on him and he shoved me down to lane three,” the anchor Awad said of the photo finish. “I had to gather myself and ended up passing him right before the line, the final lap, like 10 meters down the line was where I got him. It was really close. ... so it was pretty exciting.”

The women saw three school records fall over the weekend. Sophomore Taylor McCorkle broke Shaunee Morgan’s 2008 time of 7.58 seconds with a 7.50 mark, and freshman Imani Solan inserted herself second all-time with a run of 7.57 seconds before McCorkle followed that up in the Sunday final with a 7.55 time to finish fifth.

Freshman Rachel Wilson’s weight throw of 59’5” was almost a full five feet further than anyone else in school history’s, breaking the all-time mark for the fourth time this season en route to a third-place rank at Heps. And on Sunday, junior Cleo Whiting knocked four seconds off Leslie Kovach’s 2011 time in the 5,000, with her 16:34.53 time good for a new school best and a fourth-place finish.

Although they did not record an outright victory, the women grabbed second in three events. 

Behind just Harvard, the distance medley relay team of sophomore Abby Hong, senior Rachel Hlatky and juniors Carey Celata and Ashley Montgomery ran the event in 11:36.62. Montgomery later added her second silver performance of the weekend in the mile, where she clocked in just .14 seconds after Dartmouth’s Helen Schlachtenhaufen at 4:53.58, and in the 200m dash, Solan almost matched her school record of 24.08 set earlier this season. She came up just .02 seconds short with a 24.10 time and falling only to Harvard’s Gabrielle Thomas, who set the all-time Ivy record earlier this year.

For the men, freshman Calvary Rogers and sophomores Mike Monroe and Jeff Wiseman earned second-place finishes in their respective events. Rogers set a PR in the 200m with a 21.58 time that is also the second-fastest in the Penn record book, and was .02 seconds short of the Heps title. Monroe, the defending champion in the high jump, leaped 6’11.75” and came close to another win while Wiseman ran the 500m dash in 1:03.65 after posting the best preliminary time.

Senior Sam Mattis placed third with a shot put distance of 55’11.75”, his new personal record and the second-best in Penn history. Mattis also racked up a fourth-place finish in the weight toss with a personal record of 18.59 meters. Freshman Elias Graca logged another third-place finish for the Red and Blue with a 1:52.47 run in the 800-meter dash.

In the final standings, Cornell and Dartmouth took second and third, respectively, in both the men’s and women’s competitions. Princeton won the men’s title while Harvard claimed the women’s.

Awad noted that given the team’s focus on preparing for the outdoor season, results should be taken with a grain of salt, but the performance was encouraging.

“A lot of other teams thought we’d finish fifth or sixth [in the men’s championships], so fourth is pretty good. We were only a few points behind Dartmouth for third, and we should’ve gotten them,” he said. “We left a couple points on the table, but everything isn’t going to go perfectly.”

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