The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Penn junior Julie Siebert-Johnson earned All-East honors after placing fourth in the javelin at ECACs with a throw of 44.64 meters.[Theodore Schweitz/DP File Photo]

When a team fails to meet its own expectations, it can sometimes be hard for its individual members to stand up on their own in future contests.

But that was not the case for the four members of the Penn women's track team who participated in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships May 19-20 in Princeton, N.J.

It was the Quakers' second trip in three weeks to Old Nassau. Just two weekends earlier, Penn was at the home of the Tigers for the Outdoor Heptagonal Championships, where the Quakers suffered a disappointing sixth-place finish for the second straight year.

But ECACs had a different purpose -- to bring some closure to the season, and to allow the three seniors that competed to end their collegiate careers on a high note.

With no pressure, the Quakers pulled through with a number of great performances.

"We were just thrilled with their efforts, and the fact that two of them were able to have their personal bests at that meet was very exciting for us," Penn assistant coach Tony Tenisci said.

Graduating Penn senior JaJuan Gair sprinted to a third place finish in the 100-meter hurdles with a personal-best time of 13.90 seconds, just 5/100ths of a second off the Penn record. Gair was named to the All-East team for her performance.

The native of LaPlace, Pa., took third in her preliminary heat with a time of 13.96 the day before.

"JaJuan's race was incredible, and I am so happy for her to be going out on such a strong note," Penn junior Julie Siebert-Johnson said.

Gair improved a quarter of a second from her time at Heps during the first weekend of May.

Another Penn senior who performed well was long jumper Bassey Adjah, who took ninth place with a jump of 5.84 meters.

Adjah was just 5/100ths of a meter short of placing in the event, and 1/10th of a meter short of tying the Penn record.

The other graduating senior competing was thrower Yinka Orafidiya, who struggled and ended up fouling in the hammer throw.

But that was just a small blemish on what had been a great track career at Penn for Orafidiya. She broke the school record in the hammer throw in April.

"Yinka was disappointed with her weekend, but she has had such a great year and career here, that she is happy overall," Siebert-Johnson said.

The only non-senior competing at ECACs for Penn was Siebert-Johnson, who placed fourth in the javelin with a distance of 44.64 meters. The native of Holmdel, N.J., earned All-East honors for her throw.

"I was very pleased with my performance this past weekend at ECACs because it was my best throw this season," Siebert-Johnson said. "Although I am still a few feet off what I was throwing last year, I understand my knee injury is the only thing preventing me from improving.

"Hopefully when it is fixed I will be able to throw well again."

Siebert-Johnson already owns the Penn school record in the javelin throw, which she set as a freshman with a distance of 46.28 meters.

Placing in two events and scoring 11 points, the Quakers managed to take 25th place in a tough field.

Perennial track and field powerhouse Georgetown successfully defended its 2000 ECAC team title by scoring 87 points.

The Hoyas took the 2001 championships on the strength of placing five runners in both the 800 and 3,000 and winning the 4x400 and 4x800 relays.

And while the Hoyas may still be out of the Red and Blue's reach, that's not to say that Penn won't improve.

"The future is bright," Siebert-Johnson said. "Although we are losing key seniors in all the events, the freshman class will be mature, and our leadership from the juniors will be great.

"I am very excited,... because it looks like we will be strong all around."

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.