A new season is an opportunity for a fresh start. After an extremely successful 2017-18 indoor season that included a team championship for the women, Penn track and field looks to embark on another successful campaign and recapture its success from last year.
The Quakers will travel to New York City to compete at the Armory Track for the College of New Jersey Indoor Opener this Saturday.
Track and field is a unique program because the athletes stay in season for around six months and have had time to prepare and maintain form going into the indoor season opener.
“We’ve just been in preseason, so whenever we’re on campus we’re training,” senior and men’s captain Lance Yassay said. “We’ve been training since August.”
“I’ve been working on my speed a lot to try to get some more momentum going into my jump,” senior and women’s captain Anna Peyton Malizia added. “Just getting stronger and trying to get my maxes up.”
Penn is not sending the whole team to New York, so this will be a great opportunity both for newcomers to show off their skills and for returning athletes to step into bigger shoes. Both the captains for the men’s and women’s teams have individuals they are excited about this year.
For the men, the team is excited about a comeback possibility for junior Nathan Fisher. Fisher, who placed in the top ten of every meet he competed in and finished first at the Penn 8-Team Select with a height of 4.8 meters during the 2017 indoor season, did not compete in the 2018 indoor season.
“Nathan Fisher, who’s had some issues with concussions and injuries that are over now, has big goals for the season,” Yassay said. “And he is doing super, super well in practices.”
Malizia knows the team has high aspirations for freshman sprinter Mia Knight, who could possibly step in for sprinters who graduated last year. Knight was ranked number two in Ohio and number 39 in the U.S. in the 100m sprint, and she won the 2018 MileSplit Ohio State Indoor Athlete of the Year award.
“Mia is supposed to be really good,” Malizia said. “She’s a short sprinter, and we lost two of our really successful short sprinters last year, so we’re looking for her to take a big role and step into those shoes. Her high school success was really promising.”
After the success of last season, there seems to be a positive vibe surrounding the teams going into the opener and beyond.
“I am really excited about the schedule,” Yassay said. “The coaches have done a great job getting us a really awesome schedule for this season and we have a lot of big meets.”
“Armory is one of our favorite venues to compete at. It is really state of the art, so that is great for us,” Malizia concluded. “We’re gonna tune up for our big Armory meet at the end of January, which will be against some of the best teams in the country.”
The College of New Jersey Opener at the Armory is the first chance for both the men's and women's track and field to start off on the right foot following a wildly successful campaign.