Two days. 15 champions. 319 points.
Penn track and field dominated on its home field on the weekend of May 5th, claiming first place in the women’s competition and second place in the men’s competition of the 2018 Ivy League Outdoor Heptagonal Championship. After two days of competition, the women scored a program-record 177 points behind 10 individual champions, and the men claimed a clear second place with 142 points behind five event winners.
The women added this outdoor win to their indoor victory earlier in the season, and the team swept both editions of the Heps for the first time since 1988.
Among the big winners of the weekend was distance superstar Abby Hong. In her final Ivy Heps, the senior swept both the 5,000-meter and 10,000m races, always in the leading pack before separating for the wins. After not placing at the Heps in her first three years, Hong swept both the indoor and outdoor championships this season to finish on top.
Taking second in both events was freshman Danielle Orie, who kept pace with Hong in each race to claim two silvers. Orie won a battle of the twins in the 5k, as her sister Gabrielle, running for Cornell, kept close to the two Quakers before faltering near the end to finish third.
The Red and Blue’s 4x800m team of Gina Alm, Mikayla Schneider, Rachel Stremme and Nia Akins continued its domination with its winning time of 8:40.93, Penn’s first-ever outdoor win in the event. Sophomores Akins and Schneider also came up big in the 800m race, sweeping the top two spots for 18 more team points. Also on the track, freshman phenom Uche Nwogwugwu broke a school record with her time of 52.41 to claim victory in the women’s 400m.
The Quakers were equally as dominant in the jumping and throwing events, carried by winning performances from a trio of juniors and a pair of rookies.
Freshman Ashley Anumba, voted most outstanding female field performer afterwards, demolished the school discus record with her mark of 55m even to win the event. Fellow freshman Brooke Cope won the javelin throw with her distance of 47.16m, beating the nearest competitor by nearly two meters.
Junior Anna Peyton Malizia claimed Penn’s first Heps title in the women’s high jump since 1994, clearing a height of 1.76m. In the hammer, junior Rachel Lee Wilson threw 57.43m to take home first place. Penn’s record holder in the pole vault, Molly Minnig, was out with a stress fracture, but the Red and Blue finished on top anyway courtesy of junior Nicole Macco’s clearance of 4.01m.
Penn women could not stop winning the whole weekend, receiving points from all but five of the 22 events and outscoring second-place Harvard by an incredible gap of 63 points.
But the women weren’t the only stars this weekend. The men also showed out well among talented competition, securing a clear second place with five champions of their own.
The Red and Blue took home a pair of wins in jumps, as senior Mike Monroe took first place in the high jump and sophomore Sean Clarke pole vaulted his way to victory. Monroe’s mark of 2.11m was enough to for his second Heps victory in four years, and Clarke claimed his first Heps win with his height of 5.36m.
The Penn men continued their good form on the track, making history all weekend. Sophomore twins Will and Colin Daly took first and second in the 3,000m steeplechase, handing Penn its fifth consecutive win in the event.
Sophomore Anthony Okolo gave the Quakers their first win in the 400m hurdles since 2003, surprising the home crowd with his personal best time of 51.79.
His victory was followed by junior Calvary Rogers with a first-place showing in the 200m, whose time of 21.11 was good enough for his fourth Heps title (second outdoor). Freshman Marvin Morgan was right behind Rogers all day, setting a personal best 10.56 for fourth in the 100m and coming fifth in the 200m.
The team’s efforts were good for 142 points, 36 behind winners Princeton at 178 but far above Cornell in third with 81. Like the women, the men scored in 17 of the 22 events and had 30 athletes pick up team points.
All in all, the Red and Blue came ready to compete this weekend and it showed. 15 champions combined with first and second-place finishes is the best outdoor showing the Quakers have put together in many years.
Both teams will look to carry the positive momentum into next weekend’s ECAC Championships and then on to the NCAA East Region Preliminaries in the coming weeks.
Let’s see if they can keep up the dominance.