There might have been snow last week, but Penn track and field was anything but cold on Saturday.
Strong performances from both the men and women got the outdoor season started on a bright note for the Quakers, as the Red and Blue hosted eight other teams in the Penn Challenge.
The women’s team finished in first place, crushing the field with 146.66 team points, over 50 points ahead of second-place Columbia. The men finished in second place with 111.5 team points, behind only Army with an unbeatable score of 196.5.
Both squads earned their share of individual title victories for the Red and Blue, together making many first-place finishes on the day.
Sophomore Maura Kimmel powered the way for the women with new program records in both the discus and the shot put, finishing first and second in the two events, respectively. Her distance of 50.80 meters in the discus was nearly two meters farther than her nearest opponent.
Freshman Ashley Anumba also performed well in the discus, throwing 44.96m for a third-place finish on Saturday, Penn’s sixth-highest mark of all time. With a few years left to compete, both Kimmel and Anumba will look to extend these records even more.
The Quakers won two track events, behind dominating showings all around. First, sophomore Breanne Bygrave narrowly edged Army’s Lynne Mooradian by 0.03 seconds in the 400m hurdles, followed by two more Penn runners in third and fourth.
Later, the Red and Blue easily captured the 4x100-meter relay, as Penn’s “A” and “B” groupings claimed the top two finishes, ahead of teams from Army and Columbia.
Women from Penn swept first through fourth places in two events, led by senior Molly Minnig and junior Nicole Macco both clearing the 3.75m mark in pole vault, and senior Barbara Biney outperforming the field with a 5.78 long jump.
The men had similar success, thanks to a consistent showing from both newcomers and veterans, leading to more than a few event victories for the Quakers.
The only high jumper to clear 2.11m on Saturday, senior Mike Monroe had a great start to his outdoor season, leading a trio of Quakers to a 1-3-4 finish in the event. Three jumpers cleared 2.07m, but Monroe’s success on his last attempt at 2.11m sealed the win.
Sophomore pole vaulter Sean Clarke nabbed another title with a 5.15m jump, tying Army’s Lee Bares but finishing above him because Bares missed a jump and Clarke did not.
Penn had a top-two finish in the hammer, with senior Sean Ryan throwing over 60m to win and multi-event freshman Jake Kubiatowicz finishing second. Kubiatowicz also finished third in the discus and fourth in the shot put.
On the track, sophomore Anthony Okolo was the only runner from the Red and Blue in the 400m hurdles, but his time of 55.06 seconds was good enough to beat the field. The 1500m race came down to the wire, but in the end senior Patrick Hally slid past Columbia’s Lucky Schreiner for first with a time of 3:50.80.
Both teams will have little time to recover before next weekend’s events. For the first time this outdoor season, the Quakers will be away from home, in action at both the Florida and Raleigh Relays.
If they can replicate their performance today, both teams will continue to light up the competition all season long.