The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

A victory at league championships would give the Quakers their first repeat championships since 1976. Almost three months ago, the Penn men's indoor track team began preparing for its biggest weekends of the season: Indoor Heptagonals weekend. This year's Indoor Heps, featuring the eight Ivy League teams and Navy, will be held in Princeton's Jadwin Gym Saturday and Sunday. After winning the Heps last year for the first time since 1984, the Quakers are on a quest to make it two in a row. Penn is looking for its third back-to-back Heps championship ever, and its first since 1975-6. "It's going to be a battle between us and Princeton," junior Dan Nord said. "We're confident, but we have to run on all cylinders." Last year, Penn's greatest competition came from the second-place-finishing Tigers. Penn overcame a Princeton rally with the help of the triple jumpers, who scored 25 points by earning five of the top six finishes. "It was awesome to rule one event," Nord, who won the event last year, said. "We wanted to sweep, but one guy from Dartmouth snuck in there." These 25 points made the difference as Penn won the 1997 Indoor Heps by 24 points. The 25 points that the triple jumpers won actually exceeded the total number of overall points Cornell scored at the meet. "If we keep doing what we can do and if we have solid performances from everyone, we have a good chance of repeating," coach Charlie Powell said. Penn's depth gives them a legitimate shot at glory. Unlike many of the other schools, Penn is so well-rounded that they have athletes competing in all 19 events with a strong chance to score points. "We are spread throughout," junior Robin Martin said. "It's a different look for our team. Heps is the one time where it is a huge team effort." Customarily, Powell does not schedule a meet the weekend before either Indoor or Outdoor Heps. "It helps us focus, and it also lets us heal nagging injuries," Powell said. Currently, the team is healthy except for shot put thrower Brent Stiles. Stiles has a bad tendon in his hand, which may inhibit him from competing this weekend. Although most of the team had last weekend off, the 4x400 relay team travelled to Northern Arizona, where they set an Ivy League record. After setting a school record, with a time of 3:12.34 the week before at the St. Valentine's Invitational, the team broke their own record the following weekend. At Northern Arizona's Flagstaff Invitational, the 4x400 relay team set an Ivy League best time of 3:11.57. "It's cahsing times," Martin said. "It's a different side of track that's not about the team." Also, at the St. Valentine's Invitational, Martin set another school record, this time in the 1000 meter run. His time of 2:24.62 is his second individual school-breaking record of the year; the first came last month when he broke his own record in the 800 meter run. The year-long impressive individual and relay accolades of the Red and Blue, however, are not the focus this weekend. Scoring points for the team is the priority for the Quakers, as they try to win back-to-back Heptagonals for the first time in 22 years.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.