Liz Wittels set yet another new Penn record in the pole vault. By turning in probably its best meet of the season Saturday, the Penn women's track team gave notice to all of its rivals that the Quakers are a force to be reckoned with as the indoor season draws to a close. With the all-important Heptagonal Championships a mere week away, the Red and Blue went to Fairfax, Va., to compete in an invitational hosted by George Mason. The Quakers turned in a host of impressive performances which bode well for the team's chances at the end of this week at Dartmouth for Heps. One highlight of the meet for Penn was the efforts by pole vaulters Ami Desai and Liz Wittels. Wittels broke the school pole vault record for the third time in under a month en route to winning the event with a vault of 11'6 1/4". Desai was also impressive, finishing in third-place with a leap of 10'6". "Those two are so big for our team," Penn assistant coach Tony Tenisci said. "It is really neat because they are such close friends and really feed off of each other. They go back and forth all the time and are both doing really well." Perhaps the biggest surprise in the meet was the breakthrough performance by the team's 4x400 relay squad. The team of sophomore Jeraldine Cofie, junior Melissa MacIntyre, sophomore Petra Stewart and junior Bassey Adjah turned in its fastest time of the year in the event with a 3:54.29 to finish second in the meet. "It was incredible what our relay teams did," MacIntyre said. "Not only did our first team go out and turn in an awesome time, but our B-team came in with a better time than the A-team previously had all season." Adjah turned in a solid all-around meet for the Quakers. Besides being a member of the 4x400 relay team, Adjah set a personal record in the long jump to finish fifth and placed fourth in the 60-meter hurdles. The 200-meter dash was another event in which Penn excelled. Senior Richelle Clements placed second in the race with a time of 26.20, and junior Qianna Snooks was third, finishing in 26.68. The meet at George Mason had an interesting format. The 10 teams competing in the field were limited to only two runners per event. This greatly limits available spots and caused the Quakers to bring a limited number of athletes. "This was a great meet for us to have right before Heps," Tenisci said. "We decided that we could rest up some people and give a break to some people who have nagging injuries because of the limit of two per event." The meet seemed to help the squad build an increased sense of team unity at this very important juncture. Maybe it was the smaller group of people, or maybe it was just the fact that everyone was performing so well, but the bottom line was that the team really came together as a unit. "With the smaller number of people we really bonded, and everyone came together," Wittels said. "I don't know if it was because we had less athletes, but when you have your whole team waiting and wildly cheering for you, it really pushes you forward." Penn will now have one final week to make any last minute adjustments and to make sure everyone is ready to go. "We are trying to taper our practice time so we can keep our legs fresh," Wittels said. "What's done is done at this point in the season, and we just want to make sure that we don't have any injuries." All season Penn has preached the importance of being ready when it really counts, meaning at Heps. With the abundance of outstanding performances in Fairfax, it appears that the Quakers have indeed peaked at the right time.Comments powered by Disqus
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