With an indoor season already under their belts, the freshmen of Penn track and field have already gotten their feet wet in collegiate competition. Here are some athletes to watch for in the 2016 season:
5. Joseph Novak
Joseph Novak enjoyed a quiet but strong start to his Penn track career with an impressive indoor season. A mid-distance specialist, the Wisconsin native earned the most success in the 1,000-meter run, finishing seventh at the Ivy League Indoor Championships. His best time in the event is a 2:26.47, an ideal personal record for a freshman because it is already very fast, but still leaves room for improvement. As the outdoor season progresses, look out for a few seconds’ improvement from Novak.
4. Nicole Macco
Nicole Macco has already made a name for herself on the field. The pole vaulter had the best performance by several inches of all of her Penn teammates this indoor season, and that 12’8” jump PR she landed is a highly competitive height by any standards. Having finished third at the Ivy Indoor Championships earlier this month, Macco should look forward to an impressive first season out on Franklin Field.
3. Elias Graca
Elias Graca is adding to what is already a deep mid-distance squad for the Quakers. The man from the greater Philadelphia area has clearly found the transition to Penn easier than most with a few standout performances already in his track career. Graca finished third in a very competitive 800m dash at the Ivy Indoor Championship meet, and his personal best of 1:50.16 is eye-catching to say the least. Distance runners only improve with time, so Graca could easily see that personal best drop in the weeks to come.
2. Imani Solan
Imani Solan is simply blessed with talent. The renowned sprinter has already found the podium in an Ancient Eight championship meet with a second place finish in the 200m dash, which she ran in 24.10, along with an 8th place finish in the 60m dash. Solan competed in just about every sprint distance while in high school in New York, but her greatest potential likely lies in the 200m, an event she can truly make her own. As she refines her form and technique, fans can expect a championship-contending season from Solan.
1. Calvary Rogers
Calvary Rogers has taken Penn track by storm. The sprinter had the 20th fastest time of any Ivy League runner in the 400m dash for the indoor season with a sub-50 second time, the 13th fastest in the 60m sprint at almost 7 seconds flat, and at the Ivy Indoor Championships, the Rochester, N.Y., native took second in the 200m dash with a 21.58, the second fastest time in Penn indoor track history.
“It wasn’t my best race, so I know the only place I can go from here is up,” Rogers said. “It was really humbling to do well and still lose.”
Just a few months into his career with the Quakers, Rogers already stands tall as one of the best sprinters on the team, with the potential to be one of the greatest to ever wear the Red and Blue. Simply put, it’s not that often that a sprinter of such talent passes through Penn. All eyes will be on Rogers as he grows into his first outdoor track season of college.
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