The weather this weekend started to heat up, and so too did the Penn men’s and women’s track and field teams. On Saturday, amid perfect conditions, Penn’s two track programs combined for 11 event victories and several personal best times at the Chester Quarry Classic, hosted by Widener University.
Senior sprinter Ben Bowers made his return to the track on Saturday after being sidelined with injury for much of the winter and early spring season. Bowers looked strong in his first event back, winning the 110-meter hurdles in 14.60 seconds, as he has on many occasions for Penn throughout his career.
In the men’s 1500m event, the Quakers claimed four of the top five finishing times, with junior Chris Hatler leading the way with a personal best time of 3:43.64. Fellow junior Nick Tuck took a close second, running a 3:46.66 and senior Clark Shurtleff and freshman Sam Webb placed fourth and fifth, respectively.
“The 1500 was a really exciting race to watch, and I was very impressed to see how many guys we had running sub-3:50 times,” Penn coach Steve Dolan said. “We had six guys break that mark today, and it was great to see so many of our guys out there having a race like that.”
In the women’s 1500m, the Quakers also claimed the top two finishing times, as senior Amy Darlington claimed victory with a 4:29.66 and junior Clarissa Whiting earned silver with a 4:33.52 run.
The women’s 4x100m relay team also took home gold, decisively beating second-place West Chester with a time of 46.65.
“We had some different personnel on some of our relay squads today, but I was very happy with the way that those events turned out.” Dolan said. “I thought that Rachel Hlatky stepped up really well in the 4x100 and ran a great second leg of that race for us, and I thought her contributions to the team today were great.”
Hlatky also claimed an individual victory to go with her relay performance, as the senior won the 200m sprint with a strong time of 25.08 seconds.
The 800m also provided Penn with another pair of champions, as sophomore Jeff Wiseman claimed victory on the men’s side with a 1:51.79 finish, and fellow sophomore Gina Alm won the women’s event in 2:13.71. Senior Taylor Hennig also finished second on the women’s side, a mere four-hundredths of a second behind Alm. Sophomore Taylor McCorkle would also claim yet another important victory for the Quakers, with the top finish time of 11.81 in the 100m.
Penn’s final track victory of the day came in the uncontested women’s 5K, where each of the top four finishers wore the Red and Blue, and sophomore Kylene Cochrane beat out three of her teammates to win the event with a final time of 16:39.08.
The day’s field events were highlighted by another pair of victories for the Quakers. Junior Billy Bishop earned gold in the men’s shot put with a winning throw of 16.25 meters, and freshman Nicole Macco had a dominant victory in the pole vault with a final height of 3.81m, 0.45m ahead of second place Samantha Lowery of West Chester.
“I think overall we had a pretty awesome day across the team,” Dolan said. “I thought we did an excellent job today of just getting after it and taking advantage of the great conditions to put in some really strong performances. I think there are a lot of people who are really starting to hit their stride and that exciting to see.”
Both programs will stay close to home next weekend, making the short trip to Princeton for the Larry Ellis Invitational, the team’s last meet before the Penn Relays start on April 28.
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