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Last Friday and Saturday the Penn men's indoor track team travelled to Blacksburg, Va. for the Virginia Tech Invitational. This weekend's individual competition was highlighted by the performance of junior Robin Martin, who won the 800 meter run after missing last weekend's action with a cold. Martin, with a time of 1:48.89, edged out South Carolina senior Marvin Watts by one one-hundredth of a second to finish first in the race. Martin was leading down the stretch, but Watts came on strong to make the race a photo-finish. With his time of 1:48.89 -- currently the best in the nation -- Martin qualified for the National Collegiate Athletic Association Championship. The race may be a preview of the national championships because four of the men who finished behind him were in the NCAAs last year. "I wanted to compete well and qualify for the NCAAs," Martin said. "I also wanted to prove myself by running against some good competition." Martin was not the only first place finisher for the Quakers. Dan Nord won the long jump on his last leap of the day. Going into his final jump, Nord was third on the leader board and he knew he needed a jump of at least 24 feet in order to win. Nord leaped 24 feet and 5.75 inches, putting himself in first place, a spot he didn't relinquish as he finished over 4 inches ahead of the second place athlete, Morgan State senior Ralph Jones. "I knew I could jump well because I had been jumping far, but I was fouling so they didn't count," Nord said. "This time I came up with a good jump." Nord also placed well in the triple jump where he jumped for a total of 48 feet and 8.25 inches. His jump was fifth best at the Invitational. Teammate Stan Anderson finished fourth in the triple jump with his leap of 49 feet and 4.25 inches. In addition to Penn's two first place finishes, the Quakers had many other impressive results. In the 400 meter run, senior Mike Stiffler finished seventh out of over 60 runners with a time of 48.76 seconds. Of the 54 runners in the mile run, senior Paolo Frescura finished sixth with a time of 4:16.91, only ten seconds behind the leader. The Red and Blue also had impressive results in both relay events, in which over twenty teams competed. The 4x400 meter relay team finished sixth overall with a time of 3:15.79. The distance medley team was fourth best at the competition with their time of 10:01.25. The Quakers also had a strong showing in the field events. In the high jump, Rich Carlson, who jumped 6 feet, 9.75 inches, and Anderson, who jumped 6 feet, 6 inches, finished fourth and ninth, respectively. In the pole vault, John Linhart vaulted 15 feet and 11 inches to place third overall. With the Quakers' excellent showing in Blacksburg, the team is beginning to show signs of taking the next step towards building a championship team, a goal coach Charlie Powell hopes to attain.

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