You might not know it based on the snow we just got, but this week marks the beginning of the outdoor track and field season.
Despite the storm, Penn track and field is preparing to co-host the Philadelphia College Classic on Friday at Franklin Field. After exceeding expectations during the indoor season, Penn’s throwers and jumpers are gearing up for a big outdoor season.
The Quakers saw a very strong performance from sophomore Rachel Wilson with her silver medal finish in the weight throw at the recent Ivy League Indoor Heptagonal Championships in New York City, but the Red and Blue will look to match that success with the addition of new outdoor events.
The outdoor season allows the space necessary for long throwing events like the javelin, discus, and hammer. For some schools, being competitive in more events might be difficult, but senior thrower Noah Kennedy-White expects the new events to benefit the Quakers.
“We have more people whose events are outdoors than we do indoors, and we also have some people coming back from other sports that are trying to get back into their rhythm now,” Kennedy-White said. “So I think that the outdoor season is just going to be really good for us.”
Senior Lisa Sesink-Clee is another long thrower who has patiently been waiting her turn. Coming off two consecutive seasons that saw her qualify for NCAA East Regionals in javelin, Sesink-Clee is hoping to take it a step further this year.
“I’d love to reach nationals,” Sesink-Clee said. “I’d love to go to Oregon, it’s been the background on my lap for years, so I want to go there. I have the picture up on my mirror, I see it every morning, and that is definitely my goal that I’m reaching for.”
Perhaps most impressive for the Quakers was the performance of freshman thrower Maura Kimmel, who broke the school record for shot put several times in the indoor season. She will also be competitive in the discus, an event not held during the indoor season.
Coach Steve Dolan is confident that Penn’s depth will help them in jumping events too.
“We have a lot of women’s pole vaulters,” Dolan said, “but we actually have a mix of all the grades in the pole vault, so I think we have a nice mix in the jumping events and we’ll need to be good in those events if we want to have a great season.”
One of those pole vaulters who will be hoping to help Penn have a great season is junior Molly Minnig. At the Ivy Heps, Minnig set a program record in the pole vault with a 3.95 meter vault that was good enough to earn a silver medal.
Despite her own individual accomplishment, Minnig is most excited for what all the pole-vaulters might be capable of this season.
“Based on our indoor performance, the pole vaulters have been really strong this year,” Minnig said. “It seems like every week, someone’s been PRing [setting a personal record] or someone’s been moving up on the top 10 list. Come outdoor season, I expect the same thing from all of us.”
It remains to be seen how just how well Penn’s throwers and jumpers will be able to do in the outdoor season, but the Quakers certainly have their sights set high.
Just hopefully the snow won’t get in the way.