With the women's indoor track season all but over, a few talented Quakers will get an opportunity to go head to head against some of the nation's best college athletes at the ECAC Championships this weekend. For most of the team, last weekend's disappointing last-place finish at the Heptagonal Championships was the final meet of the season. However, four Penn athletes will compete in the prestigious tournament this weekend in Boston. Bassey Adjah, Ruthie Neuhaus, Liz Wittels and Ami Desai met the difficult qualifying standards in their events to earn the right to compete on Saturday and Sunday. With the abundance of talent that will be present in Boston, these skilled Quakers definitely have their work cut out for them. "It isn't easy to even qualify for this meet, so this is a very elite field," Penn assistant coach Tony Tenisci said. "It is a step above Heps, so it can be a little intimidating, but our girls are ready and thrilled to be a part of it." With more freshmen on the team than head coach Betty Costanza can shake a stick at, this Quakers squad has been plagued by a severe lack of experience and depth. For perhaps the first time all season, this shouldn't play a role in the upcoming meet. All four Quakers competing are upperclassmen, and only Wittels is a sophomore. "This is a great opportunity for us to shine against some awesome competition," Tenisci said. "We obviously didn't do as well as we had hoped at Heps, but we also had some girls perform well at Heps and throughout the season. The ones that are going to Boston deserve to be there and have a chance to be part of something special." This meet could be very challenging both mentally and physically for the Penn athletes. For those competing on Saturday, this will be the ninth straight weekend competition. Also, the grueling two-day format of Heps had to take a toll on the team. "They were all pretty exhausted after the weekend," Tenisci said. "So we've been doing our best to help them out and give them some down time. They only had one hard workout this past week, so we're confident that they're ready to go." One advantage the Penn athletes will have is that no Quaker is competing in more than one event. This not only means that fatigue will be less of a factor, but also that each Penn athlete's preparation can be more targeted. "I am definitely a bit fatigued after Heps and all the other meets we've had," Adjah said. "But I don't think that it will be too much of a factor because I can focus all my energy on the long jump." The Penn pole vaulters could provide some excitement this weekend. Desai placed second last year at the ECACs, and Wittels, who was seventh last season, has been on a tear of late, breaking the school record three times in the span of a month. If Penn is to be successful at ECACs, it is important that the team does not get caught up in the scenery. With so much talent in the field, the Penn athletes seem to understand the importance of focusing on their own performances. "It would obviously be great to place in this meet, but that isn't really my goal," Adjah said. "My goal is just to improve on my own jumping and not worry about everyone else." Some strong individual performances at ECACs may help the team to forget a less than memorable Heps.Comments powered by Disqus
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