Since last Friday’s Philadelphia College Classic was cancelled due to weather, this Saturday’s Penn Challenge with Army, Princeton, Rider, Connecticut and Villanova will mark the beginning of Penn track and field’s outdoor season. With the Red and Blue eager to start the spring on the right foot, here are three key questions to look out for when the Quakers take the track at Franklin Field this weekend.
1) How will Penn respond to last week’s Philadelphia College classic being cancelled?
It seems likely that the cancellation of last week’s meet due to weather will have some kind of effect on the Red and Blue, but it’s anyone’s guess if it will be negative or positive.
On one hand, the team was probably pretty eager to get the outdoor season started last week, and this might disrupt some of their momentum. But on the other hand, it also just gave them more time to train and rest. Junior sprinter Taylor McCorkle, for one, thinks the cancellation will help Penn.
“We were honestly kind of happy about it, because it was cold and we didn’t want to run poorly,” McCorkle said. “However, it also gave us a good chance to just train through the week and become even better and stronger, so I think we’re just ready to kind of open up this weekend. It’ll be nice weather so we’re excited about that, and we’re just ready to roll I think.”
2) How will Penn’s freshmen perform?
Penn’s upperclassmen have all been here before, but for the freshmen, this will be their first time competing outdoors in the Red and Blue. All of them have surely competed outdoors at earlier stages in their careers, but adjusting from indoors to outdoors is nothing to scoff at.
In addition to different events that the added space of outdoor venues allows, outdoor and indoor meets often feature different tactics. Not only do the tracks themselves differ in dimensions with the outdoor track being larger, but weather can often be a factor as well. Saturday’s forecast calls for mild temperatures in the 60s, but it will be paramount that Penn’s freshmen do not underestimate any of the unique challenges that outdoor meets present.
Coach Steve Dolan, however, is confident that all his athletes are prepared to have a strong meet.
“I think we had a good training transition between the two seasons and I think at this point, they’re just excited and anxious to compete again after training for a few weeks,” he said.
3) How will Penn do in the events that we didn’t get to see them compete in during the indoor season?
As mentioned earlier, the space constraints of indoor track venues mean that certain events can’t be held. That means that this weekend will be the first time the Quakers get to compete in events such as the javelin throw, hammer throw, discus throw, 400-meter hurdle, and the steeplechase.
The Red and Blue are especially looking forward to the longer throwing events as several talented athletes like senior Lisa Sesink-Clee have had to wait patiently for their turns to shine. On Saturday, their turn will finally come, and Dolan is excited to get things started.
“We should see really good competition, and they’re talking about a near 70 degree day,” Dolan said. “It will definitely be a good day to enjoy some track and field, and hopefully people come out to see us in action.”