Well that’s one way to start a season.
Penn track and field kicked off the outdoor portion of the 2017 campaign with a bang, as both the men’s and women’s squads took first on their home turf at the Penn Challenge.
But they didn’t just win: the Quakers blew their competition away. The women amassed a total of 277 points — to second-place Villanova’s 100 — while the men finished with 162, ahead of second-place Army by 28 points.
All of the team’s top athletes performed at the top of their game, recording a number of names in the history books in the process.
Here’s three stars who shone brighter than the others on Saturday:
The freshman can do no wrong. In the first meet of the outdoor season, Kimmel broke the school record in the discus to win the event with a toss of 47.71 meters. She wasn’t done, though, as she went on to win the shot put next, this time with a throw of 14.10m, the third best mark in Penn history.
In her first ever outdoor meet as a collegiate athlete, she broke a school record in one event and registered the third-best performance in another. It’s very hard to overstate how impressive that is.
Another Quaker with two wins at the Penn Challenge was junior Taylor McCorkle. The sprinter took first in the 100-meter dash and the 200m, with times of 11.72 and 23.99 seconds, respectively. The former was just one millisecond off the school record — which she already holds.
The captain had a strong indoor season, and every indicator points to the best female sprinter in Penn history continuing her string of victories into the bulk of the outdoor campaign.
While it was the rookie thrower on the women’s side that took all the plaudits, the best man on the day was senior Noah Kennedy-White. The Jericho, N.Y. native got Penn 20 points by winning both the discus and the shot put, which he recorded a personal best of 16.57m in — 10th best in program history.
It bodes well for the veteran’s last hurrah on the throwing fields. Hitting a new best with just two months left in his collegiate career, Kennedy-White could be shaping up for an effort to qualify for the NCAA championships in May.
While a number of other athletes starred on Saturday, the trio of two-win performers stood tall above everyone else at Franklin Field for the Penn Challenge. And though they all either set personal bests or came extremely close to them, expect a number of new records to be set next weekend when the Quakers seek out the highest level of competition before the Penn Relays by traveling across the country to high-caliber meets in three different locations. The Penn Challenge was a good start, but there’s much to do still before championship season in May.
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