It was a busy weekend for Penn men’s and women’s track, as each team attended two different meets, one in Texas and the other in North Carolina. The Quakers displayed impressive performances, returning home with two titles and 14 top 10 all-time records.
In the Raleigh Relays, junior Nia Akins — who finished second in the 800-meters at the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 9 — placed fourth in the 1500 this weekend with a time of 4:19.45, good for the second-best 1500 performance in school history. In the same event, junior Maddie Villalba finished ninth and also set a top three all-time Penn mark at 4:21.92.
“It was a great place to start the season; I am really happy with it,” Akins said, “It’s not an event that I run often, and improving in the 1500 and other events also gives me more confidence and more strength for my 800. I’m excited to see what this result does for the 800.”
Twin brothers and juniors Colin and Will Daly notched the seventh and eighth all-time program performances in the 3K steeplechase, finishing third and fourth in the event, respectively.
Later on Friday, freshman Isabel Hebner competed in her first collegiate 10K and did not disappoint. She clocked in at 34:32.03 to finish second and secure the second-best time in program history. In the same event on the men’s side, sophomore Anthony Russo crossed the finish line in sixth place with a time of 29:44.57, which is the fifth-best mark in Penn history.
“It was my first 10K, so it was exciting to go out there and see what I can do,” Hebner said. “It was a good confidence boost because putting yourself on the track to run 25 laps at a fast pace is nerve-wracking, but it was good to see that I could finish it well. Overall, it was a super fun race to run.”
The freshmen continued to impress in North Carolina, with Ray Sellaro claiming the seventh-best program time in the 1500 and Mayyi Mahama placing fourth in the hammer throw. Senior Rachel Lee Wilson recorded a 61.48m throw and finished the event in third. She continues to hold the Penn record in the hammer throw, while Mahama is right behind her at second in program history.
But the record breaking did not stop there.
In the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, freshman Marc Minichello set a new personal best in the javelin throw. The mark of 70.16m was also the third-best of the meet and earned Minichello first place in the Section B final. On the women’s side, freshman Skyla Wilson advanced to the finals of the 400m hurdles with the second-best time in program history (59.50). In the championship heat, she ran a 1:00.03 and finished in sixth.
On Saturday, senior Anna Peyton Malizia broke both her personal and program records in the high jump, where she earned Penn’s first title of the meet by clearing 1.82m.
The Quakers ended the weekend on a high note when the quartet of Skyla Wilson, sophomore Uchechi Nwogwugwu, and juniors Cecil Ene and Elena Brown-Soler completed the 4x400 relay in 3:36.13 and won the title with the best time in school history.
“Anna [Peyton Malizia] and the 4x400 team did amazing and we always feed off each other, so we have to make sure that we’re performing our bests,” Akins said. “It’s just a good environment for everyone when someone has a great result.”
After a successful weekend, the Quakers will head back to Philadelphia, where they will compete in the Temple Invitational on April 5.
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