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Penn junior Jeraldine Cofie (left) won the 500-meter race at the Brown Invitational on Saturday. Her time of 1:17.65 was just off the Quakers' school record of 1:16.18. (Andrew Margolies/DP File Photo)

The women's track team traveled to Brown last weekend to begin its indoor season. Although the Quakers only managed to win two events at the meet, Penn assistant coach Tony Tenisci was enthusiastic about his team's performance. "We were much better than last year at this time," Tenisci said. "We had some very, very nice performances." Although Tenisci would be hard-pressed to expect anything but improvement from a team that finished dead last at Heps last year, he was elated to see that there was marked improvement across all events. "We threw better, we jumped better, we ran better... we were just real pleased with everybody," Tenisci said. Though Penn's assistant coach heaped praise on the team as a whole, there were some individual Quakers who really stood out above the rest. Senior co-captain JaJuan Gair took second in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 8:23 seconds. Gair followed up that performance with another second-place finish in the 55-meter dash after only five minutes of down time between events. Asked if he was concerned about Gair's ability to perform with such a quick turnaround, Tenisci unflinchingly answered, "Absolutely not." "She was probably just the most impressive athlete in the group," Tenisci said. "She always leads by exampl. Always And that doesn't go unnoticed." The freshmen who were competing for the first time certainly took note of Gair's resilience. In her first ever collegiate event, Megan Scanlon took one of the Red and Blue's two first-place finishes by wining the 300 dash with a time of 48:24. Though no other freshmen placed near the top of their events, Tenisci was still surprised at the level of maturity and skill that the young Quakers exhibited in Providence. "We have an infusion of freshmen talent and they bring all of their energy to it and are a real boost to the team," Tenisci said. A number of upperclassmen also left a favorable impression from the Alden invitational. Junior Jeraldine Cofie was the Quakers lone other event-winner. With a 1:17.65 in the 500-meter race, Cofie recorded a time that was just 1.47 seconds off the school record. Sophomores Crystal Marsh and Alex Bliss also placed high in the 500, finishing second and fourth, respectively. Though Marsh and Bliss posted good times, they never had a chance at Cofie, who paced the field wire to wire. "She led the whole race," Tenisci said. "After the first 100 meters she just took off and that was it." Seniors Bassey Adjah and Kiki Snooks also finished close seconds in their respective events. Snook missed the 400-meter crown by just a tenth of a second, and Adjah's jump of 18'06.50" was half and inch off the mark of UConn's Kaki Davis. The Red and Blue also turned in strong performances in the throwing events. Yinka Orafidya had a shot put of 41' 3 1/4" and freshman Tonia Sabino finished eighth in the same event. Tenisci was extremely pleased with the way the talented freshmen have come along under the tutelage of the veterans. "Our kids have just matured so much... and our older kids are just doing a nice job of leading the new ones," Tenisci said. If the exemplary leadership continues to help bring along the freshmen, the Quakers should only get better as they head to Princeton this weekend. Tenisci hopes the Red and Blue can improve on the strong performance they put in at Brown this weekend and erase some of the ghosts from last year's disappointing season. "Sometimes you have to go to the bottom to realize that's not where you want to be." Tenisci said. "I hope that this meet just sets the tone for the rest of the year."

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