Penn track and field has its fair share of stars, and in 2015 all of the stars aligned.
Fueled by impressive performances by Sam Mattis on discus, Kelsey Hay on javelin and Tom Awad on the track, the Quakers amassed several individual honors while rolling to third and fifth place finishes at Ivy Heptagonal Championships for the men and women respectively.
Awad was the star of those heptagonals, as the then-junior raced to victory in the 1,500-meter and 5K races, earning the meet’s award for Most Outstanding Male Performer.
Mattis was also impressive on that Sunday, winning his third consecutive Ivy title in the discus while breaking the meet record. That, however, was not the end for Mattis: A month later, he won the NCAA championship with a dramatic, final-attempt 205-foot throw in Eugene, Ore.
“He went in for that last throw, and he just wound it up,” Tony Tenisci, Mattis’ throwing coach, said at the time. “Everyone knew that that was it, even before it landed. ... It was just, wow. It was like the happiest moment of my life.”
Meanwhile, Hay, following an Ivy-record 51.17-meter javelin throw at NCAA Eastern Region preliminaries, finished thirteenth nationally, good for a second team All-American nod.
Still, following that meet, Hay was not quite satisfied; a top-three finish nationally in 2016 immediately became her next objective.
“Just getting on that podium in my senior year would be the icing on the cake for me,” Hay said following her 2015 win.
To be sure, 2015 was a banner year for a triumvirate of Quaker athletes.
And, to the chagrin of the rest of the Ivy League, each will be back for their senior victory lap this spring.
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