The winter season is a grind for Penn track and field — weeks of hard work and training with little fanfare culminating in a few significant team meets.
This weekend, the men’s and women’s squads hope that their weeks of practice and preparation pay off as they head to the 2015 Heptagonal Indoor Track and Field Championship, the de facto Ivy League championship meet.
The Quakers will head up to Harvard on Saturday to compete against the other seven Ivy League teams in what will be the final event of the indoor season before nationals.
“We always build up to Heps,” coach Steve Dolan said. “When we get together with the other Ivy League schools, it is like the main event of our season from a team perspective.”
The Red and Blue hope to utilize the momentum built up from last week’s successful meet at Haverford, in which they were able to claim the top four spots in the men’s mile, among other accomplishments. Even with such successes, the Quakers need to make sure they are on top of their collective game coming into Heps.
“The Ivy League is a very good track and field conference. All of the teams are among the best on the East Coast,” Dolan said. “There are no easy events and no teams you can assume you are going to be stronger than.”
For freshmen like sprinter Candace Taylor, Heps are an exciting time.
“[The upperclassmen] have told me that Heps are a lot of fun, and that it gives us a chance to see how we compare to the rest of the Ivy League,” Taylor said.
For veterans who have been to the competition before, Heps are about putting together strong performances in the hopes of winning events. According to Dolan, while most would argue that Penn is not a favorite to finish first overall this weekend, he thinks that the team could create favorable odds with a few breakout performances.
While both the men’s and women’s teams are going to face challenging competition over the weekend, there are a number of events in which Penn is confident that it will place highly.
“I think we have a really strong entry for the long sprints and middle distance area ... Since we’ve had really strong marks in those events so far this season,” Dolan said.
Additionally, junior distance runner Thomas Awad — who won the 1000-meter event at last year’s Heps — returns for the Quakers.
Coming into the meet, the Quakers also look very strong in the women’s shot put, with junior Serena Graf and freshman Taylor Hojnacki consistently placing at previous events. Also, in the men’s high jump, junior Thomas Pitt and freshman Mike Monroe have both performed well in meets thus far and look to continue their success this weekend.
As the event draws nearer, Penn looks to capitalize on the hard work it has put in this season and focus on achieving victory against its Ivy League counterparts.Comments powered by Disqus
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