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Junior Nia Akins set a school record in the 800-meter race with her time of 2:05.86, also good for the fifth-fastest in the country this season. 

Credit: Chase Sutton

Penn track continued its hot start to the season with great performances this weekend.

The Red and Blue hosted the Penn 8-Team Select in Staten Island, N.Y. on Saturday, with the nine other teams in attendance being Monmouth, Providence, St. John’s, Stony Brook, Temple, Rutgers, St. Joseph’s, Fordham, and Wagner. Temple and St. John’s were only represented in the competition on the women’s side. 

“It was fun to host an event; we had a great group of schools together,” coach Steve Dolan said. “It was our second meet back from the new year, and we got off to a good start.”

The men’s team finished in third place with a score of 92, falling more than 17 points shy of Monmouth, the first place finisher. The women’s squad dominated from start to finish, scoring 160 points, which was 62 points ahead of Monmouth in second place.

In just their fourth meet of the season, the two Penn teams combined to set eight different top 10 all-time program performances.

On the men’s side, freshmen Payton Morris and Mason Gatewood won their respective events. Gatewood won the 800-meters with a time of 1:54.49, while Morris won the pole vault with a height of 5.11m. 

Morris’ height was a personal record and was good for fifth all-time in Penn track history. It was also the third best in the Ivy League this season. However, he was only able to take one healthy attempt after this jump due to cramping in his calf. 

“It always feels good to get a [personal record],” Morris said. “I know I can do better; I know I can put up a bigger height.” 

Freshman Cameron Landis and senior Sam Webb also set all-time Penn marks. Landis recorded the sixth-best shot put effort in Penn history, coming in second place in the competition. Webb, who finished third in the 800 with a time of 4:06.70, recorded the eighth-best time in program history.

On the women's side, the Red and Blue showed their versatility through top performances in nine different events. 

The group's night was highlighted by performances from juniors Nia Akins and Cecil Ene. Ene took first and second in the 200 and 60m dash, respectively. She recorded a time of 6.67 seconds in the dash preliminaries and a 24.25 in the 200. Her 200 time was good for the third-fastest in program history. 

“In the sprints, I thought that one of the top performances for us was Cecil Ene. She had a great meet. Cecil continues to run great every meet,” Dolan said. 

Akins set a program record that previously stood for more than 10 years. In the 800, Akins ran a 2:05.86, winning the event for the Quakers. This time was also the fifth-fastest in the country this season. 

“We had some really good middle distance performances,” Dolan said. “The 800 was probably our most exciting event; [Akins] set the school record. She had a great race — the woman from Monmouth was in the NCAA finals last year, and she got second.”

Looking ahead, the Quakers will begin to prepare for the Penn State University National Open next weekend.

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