This weekend, Penn track and field found itself strewn across the country in three different states and two different time zones to compete in three separate meets: the Stanford Invitational, the Danny Curran Invitational, and the Pepsi Florida Relays.
Despite being forced to compete without their teammates, the Quakers made the most of their time apart, registering a number of personal bests and shattering four program records.
“We do cross country together, so the distance team is used to traveling as a squad,” senior distance runner Chris Hatler said. “It wasn’t anything abnormal, but it’s certainly a different energy not having the entire team with you.”
Hatler and his fellow distance runners created their own energy on the West Coast to break records in some events and inch closer to coveted times in others.
Senior Cleo Whiting set a school record in the 10,000-meters with a time of 34:09.65, adding to the number of accolades that the Penn women would gather over the weekend. Hatler showed up to the Golden State with an impressive performance in the 1500m, finishing with a new personal best of 3:42.89. The time places him a mere four seconds above the school record held by former teammate Thomas Awad.
While the distance runners were striding to success in temperatures a bit more moderate, the Red and Blue sprinters and throwers took on the heat in Florida to break some records of their own.
“Some of those [events] in Florida were really impressive performances for us. The women had a really great sprint meet with the 4x100m and the 4x400m relays, and those relays also had great individual performances,” coach Dolan said of his athletes’ successes from afar.
Dolan traveled with the distance runners to the Stanford Invitational, but he was able to keep a close eye on his East Coast athletes and revel in their victories remotely.
Junior Taylor McCorkle bolted to an eye-catching 11.5 second finish in the 100m dash, improving on her own school record and later contributing to two more record-breaking performances in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays.
“Florida is a big meet for us, and it’s one of the ones that we really try to prepare for. We try to get some good times. It’s not like a lot of other meets, because there are Olympians and Olympic trial qualifiers there, so it’s definitely a great experience having that level of competition,” McCorkle said.
The remainder of the Quakers were able to stay a bit closer to home at the Danny Curran Invitational held at Widener University.
“We had some good things at Widener. We had some good javelin throws, a good pole vault, very good hurdles, and some very good middle distance running. We had a whole group of athletes run quite well,” Dolan said.
Penn was able to sweep an impressive number of first place finishes in events across the board at Widener. The women dominated in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays, the 100m- and 400m-hurdles, the 100m dash, the 800m, the 1500, the pole vault, the hammer-throw, and the long jump. The Red and Blue men were able to snag gold in the long jump, the hammer, and the 1500m. Overall, it was a meet riddled with success for the Quakers, who made their fellow teammates proud with their performances from across the nation.
With such a successful weekend behind them, the Quakers will reunite in University City and look to continue their momentum next week in the Virginia Quad meet.