Penn track and field was spread thin over three states for three prestigious meets this weekend as the Quakers begin the crescendo towards the Penn Relays and NCAA Championships.
Freshman sprinter Calvary Rogers provided the highlight of the two days of competition when he set a personal record in the 200-meter dash at the Florida relays in Gainesville, Fla. His 11th-place finish of 20.95 seconds was the third-fastest time run in Penn history and shattered his previous best sprint of 21.52 seconds.
Rogers wasn’t the only member of the Red and Blue who made his way into the top five of the Penn record book this weekend.
Junior steeplechaser Nick Tuck, junior distance runner Brendan Shearn and sophomore high jumper Mike Monroe also penned their names into Penn history in their respective events.
Monroe’s jump of 2.15 meters was not only the third highest mark in program history, but it was also good enough to earn him fourth-place honors in Gainesville.
Two other Quakers, junior Chris Hatler and sophomore Jeff Wiseman also set personal bests in their 800-meter races with times of 1:50.80 and 1:51.65, respectively.
Senior distance runner Thomas Awad led another group of Quakers out west to the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, Calif. On the other end of the country, the All-American from East Norwich, N.Y., was phenomenal as usual in his 5,000-meter run. He finished fourth in the top heat, a group that included adult non-collegiate runners, with an incredible time of 13:41.77.
Penn’s other star male track and field athlete, senior Sam Mattis, was bound for the Texas Relays in Austin. The defending NCAA champion in the discus throw was joined by fellow thrower Noah Kennedy-White. Mattis threw for 53.76m while Kennedy-White was just behind his teammate with a throw of 53.32m. Their numbers may not have been all too impressive, especially considering Mattis’fixed possessive pedigree, but it’s not uncharacteristic for throwers to hold back during the first half of the season.
While they may have traveled to Texas in hopes of warmer weather, the Quakers were met with unseasonably cold temperatures. This would seem to help explain Mattis’ 10th-place finish in the field.
The alarms shouldn't be going off because of his performance, though. Throwing coach Tony Tenisci has explained in the past that throwers often face disadvantages in colder temperatures.
As if his performance at last season’s final meet wasn’t enough to indicate a promising senior campaign for Mattis, he is coming off of two straight USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week awards and is looking as strong as ever.
Mattis has recorded the top ten throws thus far in the NCAA season and set the American collegiate record with a 67.45m heave in March.
The women also enjoyed a good deal of success, racing to impressive times in all three locales. Junior Ashley Montgomery provided the weekend's biggest highlight, notching a 16:08.64 mark in the 5K — the best time in the Ivy League this season by 11 seconds. The Whiting sisters — juniors Cleo and Clarissa — also impressed in the event, each registering a top-five all-time Penn time.
Meanwhile, sophomore sprinter Taylor McCorkle raced to an impressive time of 24.05 seconds in the 200m, a career best.
Junior Ella Wurth also posted a lifetime best — one of four Quaker women to do so — as she posted a 2:11.39 in the 800m.
Next weekend the team will head to just one place — Charlottesvilles, Va. — in hopes of better weather and continued success.
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