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wtrack-nia-akins

Junior Nia Akins continued her stellar season as she recorded a program best time of 4:16.44 in the 1500 at the Larry Ellis Invitational.

Credit: Chase Sutton

This Saturday at the Larry Ellis Invitational at Princeton, Penn men's and women's track had one final chance to ready themselves for next weekend’s 125th Penn Relays. The Red and Blue took this opportunity in stride, ending the meet with two program records and six top-10 all-time finishes.

The one-day meet brought numerous competitive East Coast teams to Princeton's Weaver Stadium, which meant the Quakers had to perform well in order to maintain their No. 2 ranking in the Mid-Atlantic Region. 

The women had an impressive showing, with several standout performances. Junior Nia Akins, who took second in the 800-meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships, continued to excel on the track with a 4:16.44 in the 1500. She finished fourth in the race, but her time was fast enough to set an all-time program record. Akins now has two top-three times on the NCAA East qualifying list.

Sophomore Ashley Anumba, who already held Penn’s longest throw in the discus, rewrote the history books with a new personal record. Her throw of 57.36m was enough to take second place as well as second on the NCAA East qualifying list.

Sophomore Uchechi Nwogwugwu sprinted to first place in the women’s 400, and her time of 54.43 seconds was the fifth best in program history.

Unsurprisingly, senior Rachel Lee Wilson and junior Maura Kimmel continued their reign over the hammer throw and shot put, respectively. The two both grabbed first-place finishes and seem well prepared for championship season.

While the women had several top finishes in the meet, the talent on the men’s side shined through as well. Freshman Payton Morris had another impressive performance in the pole vault, placing first and clearing a height of 5.05m.

Sophomore Chudi Ikpeazu threw for second place in the discus, tossing for a distance of 56.86m, long enough for third-best in program history. Sophomore Campbell Parker’s throw in the discus was eighth-best in program history. 

Junior Colin Daly ran against professionals in the Mike Brady 1500 Elite race and was able to secure a sixth-place spot, finishing in a time of 3:46.04. This was also good enough for ninth place in program history. A pair of Penn freshmen, Mason Gatewood and Ray Sellaro, came in 15th and 16th, respectively, in the highly contested event. 

The Red and Blue now approach championship season, and with the Conference Rating Index ranking both the Penn men and women at the top of the Ivy League, expectations are at an all-time high.

The next three weekends are championship-packed for the Quakers. The Penn Relays will take place next weekend, the Ivy League Outdoor Heptagonal Championships will be from May 4-5, and the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships will occur from May 11-12. Depending on how the Quakers do in these three meets, a trip to the NCAA Eastern Region Preliminaries and NCAA Championships could be on the horizon. 

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