Gloomy skies and a persistent rain couldn't put out the Penn men's track team's competitive fire this past weekend.
At the IC4A Championships, the Quakers put an exclamation point on their 2000 outdoor campaign, finishing 10th in the hugely competitive field with 28 points and higher than any other Ivy League team except for host Princeton.
Sophomore jumper extraordinaire Tuan Wreh led the way for the Red and Blue. At a wet Old Nassau, Wreh finished first in the triple jump with a winning leap of 15.54 meters.
Wreh, who had won the Heptagonal championship the week before, narrowly missed an automatic qualification for next week's NCAA Championships. But his victory was sweet just the same.
"He was awesome," Penn coach Charlie Powell said. "He was looking for an NCAA qualification, and he didn't get that. But it was great to see him jump so well in the rain. He was definitely the best jumper in the field."
Although Wreh will be missed by Penn at NCAAs, which get underway this Tuesday at Duke, the Quakers will still be well represented by a trio of clutch performers who also showed their best stuff at IC4As.
Senior Matt Pagliasotti, the first of those national hopefuls, continued his inspiring ways over the Delaware in New Jersey by taking third place in the hammer throw with a mighty chuck of 61.98 m.
Although Pagliasotti's third-place throw failed to eclipse his own all-time Penn standard, it would have been good enough to break the school mark at the beginning of the season before he began his season-long string of record breaking.performances. In addition, a throw of nearly 62 meters is especially laudable when it comes in the rain.
"The hammer may be about the toughest event to do well in the rain," Powell said. "Matt just did a very fine job."
Joining Pagliasotti down on Tobacco Road at NCAAs will be freshman middle-distance phenom Sam Burley. Burley, who two weekends ago ran a positively blistering 1:48.33 in the 800, finished sixth at IC4As in a better-than-respectable clip of 1:50.86.
What made this showing even more impressive from the Penn first-year was the fact that he had been nursing an illness throughout the week leading into the Eastern showdown.
"That was pretty neat for him," Powell said of Burley's outing. "To make the finals and to be able to score is just nice since he was feeling pretty sick."
Powell also feels that his talented freshman is learning more and more about what it takes to win in a heavily tactical event like the 800. That battlefield experience can only help down at Duke against the nation's best.
"It's not like high school where you're just better than everybody else, and he's really starting to learn a little bit more about strategy," Powell said.
Penn's third NCAA entrant, steeplechaser Sean MacMillan, elected to sit out IC4As. The reasoning behind MacMillan scratch was rather simple. The 3000 meters of the steeplechase are among the most demanding in the sport, and it really didn't make sense to start him in the event three important and competitive weekends in a row.
MacMillan is also preparing for the U.S. Olympic Trials, which he qualified for after a stellar fifth-place finish at the Penn Relays in late April.
In many respects, this year's Penn freshman class is something special, and this was no more evident than at IC4As. Not only did Burley score points in the 800, but freshman David Arundel wound up with a third-place finish in the high jump with a clearance of 6'10.25".
Arundel, a Heps champion in the high jump, has cleared seven feet numerous times in his rookie season. And from here it really looks as if any height is reachable for him.
"Again, the fact that he did that in the rain is even better for him," Powell said.
Penn's remaining three points at Old Nassau came from the 4x100 relay squad of Gene Sun, Brian Abram, Darryl Olczak and Shawn Fernandes.
The Quakers quartet finished in sixth place, securing three points for the Red and Blue total. That finish was especially satisfying given the fact the Penn has had trouble with baton passes all season long.
Finishing in a time of 41.80, the 4x100, like the rest of the Penn team at IC4As proved that they can succeed when it counts.Comments powered by Disqus
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