After three consecutive weekends of being bombarded with college basketball, you could hardly be blamed for being burned out as a college sports fan.
With the end of March Madness and the football season still months away, along with the approach of John Legend, Train and finals, many Penn students will lose interest in supporting the Red and Blue over the next month.
But there are plenty of reasons to be interested in spring athletics at Penn and to get yourself out to at least one home sporting event in the next few weeks.
Let’s start with track and field. An extremely talented group of freshmen like Thomas Awad, Sam Mattis and Drew Magaha will give fans plenty to be excited about for the next few years.
Those rookies will join the team’s more experienced athletes like junior Maalik Reynolds — 2011 All-American in the high jump — and senior hurdler Tim Carey to form a squad that will surprise some people this season.
The women’s side has one of the strongest sprinting and hurdling cores in school history, led by junior Gabrielle Piper and senior Nony Onyeador.
Freshman thrower Theresa Picciallo, a four-time All-American in high school, already owns the school indoor record for the shot put and should have a stellar career at Penn.
And the Red and Blue’s next home meet? The prestigious Penn Relays, the oldest and largest track meet in the United States — and one of the best in the world. It’s a must-see for any sports fan.
Men’s tennis, led by sophomore sensation Jeremy Court, has two matches this weekends, which will go a long way in determining if the Quakers will make it to the NCAA team tournament.
The women’s tennis squad was ranked 41st in the nation last week before a loss to Yale but will try to get back on course with this weekend’s road trip.
Sophomore Sol Eskenazi was a unanimous first-team All-Ivy selection last year as a freshman, and she will lead Penn next weekend in its last home match of the year against Columbia.
Fresh off a home race, men’s lightweight rowing will be right back out on the Schuylkill River this weekend. The freshman team came in third, losing to a pair of top-five programs — Cornell and Harvard — its last time out.
The heavyweights showed how unpredictable rowing can be when a high school team’s boat wandered into Penn’s lane, causing the Quakers’ varsity eight to fall out of contention.
Softball has racked up seven straight Ivy League wins behind the bats of junior Elysse Gorney and senior Brooke Coloma. After a game against Drexel and a Ivy road trip to Cornell, the Quakers return home on the 24th to face Temple, the perfect event to distract you from studying for finals.
The team’s star pitcher, Alexis Borden, has been dominant all year, setting the school record for career strikeouts just a couple weeks ago — and she’s only a sophomore.
In baseball, the team finds itself in a tight race for the Gehrig Division title — just three games separate the four teams at this point. Senior captain Ryan Deitrich has been lighting it up so far this season and sophomore pitcher Dan Gautieri leads a deep pitching staff.
Penn finds itself three games back going into a four game stretch against Cornell in Ithaca, NY, and the Quakers will need a strong performance on the road if they hope to stay in the race.
Of course, the women’s lacrosse team has been the definition of Ivy League dominance over the past few years. Penn has won at least a share of an incredible six consecutive league championships.
This season, the Quakers are a perfect 5-0 in Ivy play, with a chance to claim the league title over the next week as they host Princeton on Wednesday. The Tigers are also undefeated in the Ancient Eight.
Senior captain Tim Schwalje has been an offensive force for Penn men’s lacrosse, leading the way with 34 points. The No. 14 Quakers have knocked off three ranked teams already.
The Red and Blue only have one home game left — this weekend against Dartmouth — as they try to get back into the Ivy title hunt.
So every team gives the Penn sports fan at least one reason to root for the Red and Blue at home sporting events for the rest of this spring.
And I haven’t even mentioned the weather yet. No longer will you have to worry about being caught out in a snowstorm while going to a game. The sun will be out, along with some impressive performances by Penn athletes.
Trust me, it will be worth your while to go support them.
MARS JACOBSON is a junior political science major from Salem, Ore. He can be reached at dpsports@theDP.com.
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