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Coming off its highest placing performance ever under Charlie Powell at the indoor Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America Championships (IC4As), the Penn men's track and field team is ready for the real season to begin. "Track and field is an outdoor sport," Powell said. "The spring season is what it's all about." After finishing fourth at IC4As and second at the Heptagonal Championships in the indoor season, the Quakers begin the outdoor season at 10:00 a.m. Sunday at Franklin Field with the Quaker Invitational. The Quaker Invitational is not a big meet, and the Quakers are not worried about the competition. Penn will host several schools, including La Salle, St. Joe's, Rider and Fordham, who are not as strong as the Quakers. Many Penn athletes are looking at this meet as an opportunity to improve without the pressure of top competition. "You won't have to set some ridiculous mark to win the thing," junior Dan Nord said. "It's basically just practice except it's against other teams." Nord, who finished second in the long jump at the indoor IC4As, will compete in the long jump and the 110 meter high hurdles this weekend. He will not triple jump in order to rest his knees for later meets. Resting and improving for later meets is part of Powell's game plan as he wants his athletes to be ready for the outdoor Heps, a meet the Quakers won by 63 points in 1997, and IC4As at the end of the season. "We are going to take it fairly easy in the beginning of the season," Powell said. "A few guys are going to lay low until the bigger meets." "We definitely have to win Heps and not just win, but we have to destroy Princeton and get them back for what happened indoors," Nord said. Sprinter Shawn Fernandes looks at the outdoor championship as Penn's to lose and not as something that needs to be regained from the Tigers. "We are still the outdoor champions," Fernandes said. "We are the ones who will be going out to defend our title." Fernandes, who will run the 100 and 200 meter dashes as well as the 4x100 meter relay this weekend, has also set personal goals for this season of breaking the Penn record of 10.36 seconds in the 100 and putting together a team that can break the 4x100 record of 39.79 seconds. Fernandes will look to the Quaker Invitational as a starting place for his quest to achieve these goals. While the Quaker Invitational may not be as important as later meets, it is a starting point. Penn will use that starting point as a chance to prepare to defend their Heps title and to put together top individual performances this season.

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