Penn men's indoor track coach Charlie Powell claims that his team is among the most successful of the Ivy League schools in recent history. One could argue he is being a bit modest. The Quakers have been first or second in the Outdoor Track Heptagonal Championships in 22 of the past 30 years, and only Dartmouth does not have a coach on their staff that was once associated with Penn or Charlie Powell. Although Powell and his staff view indoor track as more of a training ground for outdoor track, the outlook for the Quakers is, again, very good. "We are always in the top five, and we expect that again this year," Powell said. "All our bases are covered, and we're good everywhere." One of the athletes who should have a great season is junior Tuan Wreh. Last year he was first team All-Ivy, and he holds the league record in the triple jump. "Well, I expect to have a great season," Wreh said. "I've been training hard all year, and I'm in pretty good shape." The coaches altered the training program for Wreh this off-season. They wouldn't reveal their secrets, but Powell and company expect the new training program to pay off with huge dividends. "The goals I've set this year are very large improvements," Wreh said. "I'm taking it meet by meet, day by day, and hopefully the goals I've set will materialize." Along with Wreh, a number of the Quakers look to be top-level national performers. Another returning Ivy champion is junior Chung-Yi Sun, who won the 55 meters at Indoor Heps last year. In the distance events, senior Bryan Kovalsky and junior Matt Gioffre look to be the top performers. The cross country squad finished seventh at Heps in late October. In the hurdles, Mike Aguilar returns for his senior season, and Powell expects a very strong campaign from him, as well as from up-and-coming junior O'Neil Bryan. "I'm really excited about Bryan," Powell said. "He's going to surprise a lot of people." In middle distance events, three sophomores look very promising. Billy Moore and Anthony Sager continue to improve, and Sam Burley -- who finished 11th as a freshman in the 800 meters at nationals -- is already a top-caliber runner. "He's a very strong runner," Powell said. One of the aspects of the team that should be much-improved is the throwing contingent. Penn lost All-American Matt Pagliasotti to graduation, but sophomore Brendan Callahan, senior Ben Williams and sophomore Justin King lead the group of throwers. "We really need people to come up big this year in the throws," Powell said. One of the strong traditions of the Quakers is the 4x400-meter relay. That team is almost always at the top of the Ivy League. Powell said that if he were setting his 4x400 team for Heps now, he would use, in order, sophomore Brian Abram, senior Darryl Olczak, senior Laethe Coleman and freshman Chris Edmonds. Powell is very excited about Edmonds, a freshman from San Marino, Calif. "He's a great addition to our team," Powell said. "He's an excellent 200 and 400 runner." Although these are the runners Powell currently expects to have strong seasons, anyone could step up at any time. The team also could be very young, with promising freshman Matt Wedge in the hurdles and other strong freshmen in the pole vault and hurdles. Wreh is very excited about the Quakers this year. "Each year we have a good team," Wreh said. "But this year we have not only a good team, but a group of guys training hard together." Despite the coaches' non-emphasis on the indoor season, the Quakers should have a good shot at making a run for the Ivy title. The Red and Blue's last win at Heps was in 1997, where they won both the indoor and outdoor championships. The Quakers' season begins on December 16 with the Princeton Holiday Invitational. The Quakers then travel to Annapolis for a tri-meet with Navy and Wake Forest on January 13. Indoor Heptagonal Championships are February 24 and 25 in Boston, Mass.Comments powered by Disqus
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