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Penn women's track repeated as winners in the Ivy League Outdoor Heptagonal Championships for the first time since 1985-86. (Photo from Penn Athletics)

Well that looked familiar.

This weekend, Penn women’s track captured its second consecutive Ivy League Outdoor Heptagonal Championship, the first time the team has gone back-to-back in the competition since 1985-86. Also for the second straight season, the men’s team finished the meet in second place.

It was the usual suspects who led the Red and Blue in rainy Princeton, N.J. For the women, five athletes came in first place individually, and three different relay teams took the top spot. 

Junior Nia Akins made history by becoming the third Quaker in program history to win the Most Outstanding Female Track Athlete award. The honor came after she posted a time of 2:04.86 seconds in the 800-meters, which was good for first place and is the second fastest time in Ivy Heps history. Akins also anchored the 4x800 relay team to victory, as the group ran the event in 8:45.48.

Freshmen Ellen Byrnes and Caroline O’Sullivan and sophomore Melissa Tanaka joined Akins on the 4x800 team. Tanaka was also with Akins on the podium in the 800 after finishing third in the event with a time of 2:08.57.

The 4x800 group wasn’t the only Penn relay team to take the top spot. In the 4x400, juniors Elena Brown-Soler and Cecil Ene, along with freshman Skyla Wilson and sophomore Uchechi Nwogwugwu, blew past the rest of the field with a 3:41.51 mark. The Penn quartet also finished first in the 4x440-yard relay at the Ivy League Indoor Heps in February. 

For the second straight year, Nwogwugwu took the crown in the 400 with a 54.24 time. Ene finished right behind her in the race, while also coming in second in the 200.

Perhaps more surprisingly, the Quakers’ 4x100 team of senior Imani Solan, Brown-Soler, freshman Mia Knight, and sophomore Camille Dickson also had the best time in the event. The victory was Penn’s first 4x100 title since 1988 and the fourth in program history at the Outdoor Heps.

In the field events, senior Rachel Lee Wilson, junior Maura Kimmel, and senior Anna Peyton Malizia each took first. Wilson won the hammer throw with a 63.58m throw, while Kimmel captured the program’s first shot put title since 2004 with a mark of 15.69m. Malizia followed her victory at the Penn Relays with another in the high jump this weekend. She cleared 1.79m to take the top spot.

On the men’s side, senior Calvary Rogers was named the meet’s Most Outstanding Male Track Athlete, making him the fourth Penn athlete ever to win the award. Rogers took first in his signature event, the 200, with a time of 20.99. He is now a six-time Ivy League champion in the 200, counting both the Indoor and Outdoor Heps Championships. This weekend, Rogers also finished second with the 4x400 relay team, and he was a runner-up in the 100, behind teammate Marvin Morgan, who ran it in 10.42.

The sophomore Morgan won the 60m at the Indoor Heps and became the first Quaker to win the 100 since 2005.

Also at the top of the podium for the Red and Blue were junior Sean Clarke and freshman Marc Minichello. Clarke won his second straight pole vault title with a clearance of 5.17m, while Minichello took victory in the javelin after throwing for a distance of 66.95m.

Overall, the women’s and men’s teams finished the weekend with 160 and 123 points, respectively. With the Ivy League season now in the books, the Quakers will move on to the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships before ultimately shifting their attention to qualifying for the NCAA Championships in June.

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