Don’t blink, or you might miss them.
Penn track and field’s sprinters have a busy weekend in front of them. As one of premier units on the team, both the men’s and women’s sprinters will be facing some of the best schools in the country this weekend at the Penn Relays. But that won’t faze them, as they’ve shown throughout the year that they belong with the best.
While this is familiar territory for the women’s sprinters, this year might represent their best chance at winning it all.
Last year at Penn Relays, the Quakers’ women’s 4x100m team finished eighth in the Championship of America with a time of 46.39, but two combinations of sprinters have already topped that so far this year. The team of junior Barbara Biney, freshman Elena Soler-Brown, sophomore Imani Solan and junior Taylor McCorkle broke the school record with a time of 45.27 seconds, and McCorkle, Biney and Soler-Brown along with freshman Cecil Ene finished third in school history with a time of 45.70 seconds.
“I want to credit coach Porscha Dobson on the women’s side,” head coach Steve Dolan said. “It’s been really a record breaking year. I think we field a very strong 4x1, 4x4 and shuttle hurdles on the women’s side there, all potentially record breaking type teams for us if we have a great day at the Penn Relays.”
Regardless of the lineup the Quakers put out there for the 4x100m, they will have the ability to take down perennial, national powerhouses such as Oregon, Stanford and Notre Dame, something they have not been able to do in previous years.
The women’s 4x100m squad will get its first shot at competition on Thursday afternoon in the preliminary heats. If the sprinters finish within the top nine, which they did last year, they’ll move on to the College Championship of America, which takes place early on Friday.
McCorkle, who has been nothing short of spectacular this year for the Red and Blue, will also be competing individually in the 100m dash. The junior from Pittsburgh, Pa. has already broken the school in the event this year, posting a blistering time of 11.58 seconds, which would have been good enough for fourth place in last year’s finals for the event.
McCorkle will have her first chance to prove herself individually on Friday in the late afternoon, and if she is one of the eight sprinters who make it to the final, she’ll race again on Saturday.
Over on the men’s side, the sprinters have already made significant improvements from the same time last year. At last year’s Relays, the men’s 4x100 team finished 54th out of 74, with a time of 43.67, but this year’s quartet of juniors Wyatt David, Ayman Mayberry, senior Peter Whiteneck and freshman Kyle Oden shaved nearly a second and a half off, with a time of 42.22 seconds earlier this year.
And that doesn’t include star sprinter and sophomore Calvary Rogers, who earlier this year set a meet record in the 200m sprint en route to an Ivy title at the Indoor Heptagonal Championship. With Rogers at the helm, this unit has a chance to improve drastically on last year’s performance.
“Our top sprinter is Calvary Rogers,” Dolan said. “He’s run 20.95 in the 200, so he’ll be a big part of sprint relays and the 400 meter running for us.”
Lastly, both men’s and women’s teams will be competing in the sprint medley relay, which is a 1600m race split into four parts — two 200m legs, one 400m leg and one 800m leg. The women haven’t competed in this race since 2015, when they finished 20th, and the men haven’t raced in this event in seven years, running last in 2009.
The sprints will be over in a blur for all of the teams competing, but if all goes well for the Red and Blue, they could have a chance to be up on the podium when the dust clears.