Mother nature has not shone brightly on Penn track and field this season. At the vast majority of the meets, the Quakers have been forced to embrace the elements.
This weekend should be no different. There is an 80 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms in the forecast for Princeton this Friday, where the Red and Blue will be competing in the Larry Ellis Invitational hosted by their Ivy League rival.
“At this point we’ve been victims of bad weather for most of the meets through the spring,” said throwing and head women’s coach Tony Tenisci.
As a result, the team, and especially the throwers, have not had a chance to put up their best performances.
“We’re a little under-achieved at this point,” Tenisci added. “But I feel now if the weather cooperates they’re in terrific shape.”
However, Tenisci, who has over 30 years of coaching experience, has seen it all and is able to train and prepare his athletes regardless of any obstacles.
“They’ve had wonderful training sets. Everyday they come down and they work hard and they look great,” he explained. “Then we go to a track meet and the weather’s lousy. So you really don’t see what they do everyday.”
Still, Tenisci isn’t concerned about his team heading into the season’s final push because of what they’ve shown him on the practice fields. As a result, he hasn’t diverted from his training plan.
“I’ve been steady with the work and the consistency,” he said. “It’s like in a classroom. It’s a steady state. You don’t need to add more or less if you’re holding that steady state.”
The Larry Ellis Invitational will be a sort of trial run as the final meet before the Penn Relays and then the subsequent league and national championships.
This year, however, the heat will be turned up a notch.
Due to the unpredictable weather that has plagued this spring season, more teams than usual will make the trip to Princeton, upping the level of competition.
What’s more is that Heptagonal and ECAC Championships will be held at the same facilities in Princeton over the two weekends following the Penn Relays.
The combination of the venue and the field of athletes will give Penn a chance to size up its opponents and get a feel for the fields, tracks and equipment.
For the Quakers to put on a good showing this weekend, the throwers will undoubtedly have to do their part.
While seniors Sam Mattis and Kelsey Hay can always be relied upon for huge performances in their respective disciplines, juniors Noah Kennedy-White and Lisa Sesink-Clee will play huge roles as well.
Sometimes overshadowed by the seniors who compete in the same event as they do, Kennedy-White and Sesink-Clee are exceptional discus and javelin throwers, respectively, in their own right.
They don’t just share commonalities in their class and their hyphenated last names. Sesink-Clee is the second-best javelin thrower in the Ivy League, and Kennedy-White holds the second-best discus throw in Penn history.
Tenisci is looking forward to seeing what they, and others, can achieve down the stretch.
“I’m hoping they can start to open it up a little bit more as we go forward,” he said. “We’re tapering right now in the weight room. Their bodies are more recovered. The only thing that gets in the way is exams. But they’re pretty resilient, these young people.”
When the clouds clear up, the Quakers will be ready.
“I’m hoping that as we go into Penn Relays, we’ll have momentum coming out of Larry Ellis, and that everyone begins to really put some good numbers down,” Tenisci added.
The clock may be winding down, but everyone is calm. Especially Tenesci, who after 30 years with the program, is ready for anything.
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