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Relays, Saturday afternoon Credit: Alex Fleischman , Alex Fleischman

Deep in the heart of America’s rust belt, the Penn track team proved itself to be rust-free, turning in a number of stellar performances at Friday’s Lehigh Invitational in Bethlehem, Pa.

The men’s and women’s squads combined to post a total of 10 event victories, with winning performances from both old and new faces.

In the sprinting events, the top Red and Blue competitors were sophomore Tom Timmins and junior Gabrielle Piper.

Timmins narrowly won the men’s 500-meter dash, beating East Stroudsburg’s Damien Boham to the line by less than a quarter of a second with a time of 1:05.62.

Piper turned in a stellar all-around performance, finishing second in the women’s 60 meter dash, seventh in the women’s 200-meter dash and winning the women’s 60-meter hurdles in 8.84 seconds, just barely holding off Rider’s Dashana Ransome.

It was an impressive start to the season for the school’s all-time record holder in the 60m hurdles.

“She’s definitely one of our sprint leaders,” coach Steve Dolan said. “If you look at those events, that’s probably where we were the strongest … those events were where we really showed our depth and strength. Gabby’s clearly someone we count on.”

In the throwing events, a pair of Quakers not only found themselves atop the leaderboards, but also ended up in the team’s record book.

Junior Jake Brenza, a 2012 NCAA East Regional qualifier in the shot put, launched himself into fourth place on the Red and Blue’s all-time leaderboards with a toss of 16.59 meters.

Dolan saw plenty to like from Brenza’s performance.

“Jake was great,” Dolan said. “Not only did he have the best score of the day and a very good early-season mark, [but] his series was really good.

“Every throw he had was within a few centimeters of his best …it was really neat to watch.”

His freshman counterpart on the women’s team, Theresa Picciallo, also ended up in fourth place in the record books with a throw of 13.75 meters in her collegiate debut.

The Quakers also asserted their dominance in other events.

Junior Maalik Reynolds and sophomore Annie Holland both won the high jump, while the men’s and women’s squads won the 4×800m relay.

With their next meet not until Jan. 12th at the famous Armory in New York, the Quakers head into a long break with positive momentum and a lot of hardware.

“Spirits are high,” Dolan said. “So we’re in a good spot heading into winter break coming out of the meet healthy and with a lot of success.”

At the rate these Quakers are going, success could come far quicker than anyone associated with the program could have envisioned.

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