In a sport where individual accomplishments determine a team's success, the parts don't always add up to the whole. That was the fate of the women's track and field team at last weekend's Heptagonal Championships, the equivalent of Ivy Championships.
Despite numerous individuals earning personal bests and ECAC and Regional qualifications, the Quakers finished just seventh as a team with a total of 57 points at Franklin Field. Princeton - which hosts the 26th running of the ECACs today, tomorrow and Sunday - won the meet with 153 points, while Cornell was close behind with 146.
With a plethora of ECAC qualifiers - including more than 10 individuals and three relay teams composed mostly of underclassmen - coach Gwen Harris is more excited about the future of her squad than she is disappointed about the next-to-last-place finish.
"I think our girls did a pretty good job for what they could do in this meet," she said. "We have freshman and sophomores who are the people that scored."
"I know the score doesn't reflect how well we did as far as competing. . They have a great future from what I saw here, and I know they're going to be OK."
One of the top competitors was junior Anna Aagenes, whose effort in the 800-meters made for one of the best races of the weekend. She ran neck-and-neck with the indoor Heptagonal champion, Yale's Kate Grace, and pushed hard to move past her on the final stretch. But Grace hung on to win by just 17-hundredths of a second.
"[Kate Grace] is definitely a great athlete so I knew if I just kept up with her it'd be a good race," Aagenes said.
Aagenes' time of 2:09.18 was about a second behind her season-best performance, and though it didn't top Grace's, it was good enough to earn her a bid to the NCAA Regionals two weeks from today. Aagenes also earned second team All-Ivy honors in the 800 for the third consecutive year.
The 4x100 relay team of freshmen Renee McDougall, Paige Madison and Leah Brown and sophomore Kali Strother also earned a spot on the second team. The foursome took second place at Heps and qualified for ECACs with their time of 46.51, but missed the Regional qualifying time by less than a second.
Strother also set the third-best time in Penn history in the 200 with her fifth-place time of 24.65. Madison qualified for ECACs in the 100 hurdles, while Brown set a personal best and finished fourth in the 100.
Overall, Harris was pleased with the performance of her underclassmen and the experience they gained going forward.
"It was a little tough on them because they've never been to an outdoor Heps before," she said. "The first one's always tough, but then the next ones become a lot easier."
Beginning today, the ECACs will show just how much easier it has become.
- Staff Writer Brian Kotloff contributed reporting to this article.Comments powered by Disqus
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