Midway through April, spring sports teams are entering the back half of the season filled with conference play. Though many Penn teams have had much success up to this point, they'll need great performances in order to stay at the top of the Ivy League standings.
Here's a look at three impressive athletes who can make a big impact this weekend in their respective sports.
Jennifer Brann — Softball
Though freshman center fielder Emma Nedley often gets the spotlight for Penn softball, junior pitcher and Texas native Jennifer Brann has quietly put together a solid season for the Red and Blue. She is 5-4 this season with a 2.73 earned run average, which is behind only sophomore pitcher Tabitha Dyer on the Quakers. What's more important for Brann is her improvement as of late.
Recently, Brann was a dominant force from the circle against Cornell. She pitched two complete games, both mercy-rule shortened five-inning shutouts. In those 10 innings, she fanned eight batters and only surrendered seven total hits en route to two wins. Penn now sits atop the Ivy League standings, has won six straight games, and allowed just seven runs in their series sweep of the Big Red.
The Red and Blue will need Brann in top form against Princeton, which is riding a four-game winning streak of its own. Princeton is 6-3 in conference play this season, and the Tigers are coming off a sweep of Brown. They won their series against Yale and lost two games to Columbia by just one run each. Last season, Brann pitched eight innings against the Tigers and allowed two runs, picking up a win.
The Quakers will be in great position if Brann can pitch like she did against the Big Red when they host Princeton at Penn Park this weekend.
Dmitry Shatalin — Men's Tennis
Sitting in the lineup behind senior Kyle Mautner and freshman phenom Edoardo Graziani, senior Dmitry Shatalin has accrued impressive numbers in his final season for the Red and Blue. After going 5-5 in the fall season, Shatalin has improved to a 14-5 record in the spring. He has also been effective in doubles, going 10-6 during the spring season.
His last loss was over a month ago, and he has put together impressive wins against Duke and Princeton while playing No. 3 and No. 4, respectively. Against Princeton, he was only the second player to pick up a singles win besides Mautner, and he also won in doubles alongside freshman Kevin Zhu.
In some ways, Shatalin's performance has aligned with his team's — when Shatalin wins, Penn tends to win too. If the Red and Blue — who have dropped their past three Ivy matches after winning the Eastern College Athletic Conference Tournament — want to get back on track this weekend against Cornell, they will need Shatalin to continue his strong play.
Maura Kimmel — Women's Track
Penn track will be traveling to the Volunteer State this weekend to take part in the Tennessee Relays. Junior and Pennsylvania native Maura Kimmel has put up impressive numbers for the Red and Blue this year in throwing events. She put up top-three performances in seven of the nine meets in the 2018-19 indoor season and posted 12 top-five finishes during the 2018 outdoor season.
Last week, Kimmel won the shot put with a mark of 14.96 meters at the Sam Howell Invitational at Princeton. She also won the shot put at the Penn Challenge with the same mark and won the discus throw with a 48.43m performance. She holds all-time program records in the indoor (15.19m) and outdoor (15.91m) shot put and is second all-time in the discus throw (53.83m).
With the Penn Relays coming up later this April, the Tennessee Relays provide Kimmel a way to put up big numbers and get prepared for the biggest event of the season.
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