For Penn track and field, this past week was one of the most anticipated all season.
Eleven Quakers traveled to Austin, Texas for the NCAA Championships, which spanned four days, from Wednesday to Saturday.
On Wednesday, the opening day of the championships, junior Sean Clarke competed in the pole vault, junior Colin Daly in the 3K steeplechase, and freshman Marc Minichello in the javelin.
The first highlight of the day came from Clarke, who posted a season-high clearance of 5.35 meters in the pole vault. His mark was good enough for a 13th-place finish and a spot on the second-team All-American roster. This was his second such recognition in his three years at Penn.
Minichello and Daly garnered honorable mention All-American honors. Minichello came in 17th place in the javelin with a score of 66.67m, and Daly came in 22nd place in the 3K steeplechase with a time of 9:22.96. None of the men advanced to the next day of competition.
Thursday marked the beginning of the women's competition.
Perhaps the most anticipated event of the day was junior Nia Akins' performance in the semifinals of the 800. Akins had a record-setting run in the 800m, breaking the school record with a time of 2:02.88. To add to the result, Akins' mark was good enough for first place and a spot in the national final on Saturday.
In addition, freshman Mayyi Mahama competed in the hammer throw. She posted a score of 55.63m, good enough for 24th place and an honorable mention All-American spot.
Later that day, Sophomore Uchechi Nwogwugwu ran in the 400, finishing with a time of 53.49. Nwogwugwu placed 17th overall and earned an honorable mention All-American as the first women's sprinter in program history to make it to the NCAA Championships.
Nwogwugwu was part of another record-breaking moment for Penn this weekend. For the first time in program history, the women of the Red and Blue had qualified to compete in the 4x400 relay. On Thursday night, Nwogwugwu joined freshman Skyla Wilson and juniors Cecil Ene and Elena Brown-Soler for the event. In the end, they finished with a time of 3:36.84 and in 18th place overall. Nwogwugwu's 52.87 split was the third-fastest of all eight anchor runners.
By Saturday, only three events remained for the Quakers to compete in: the 800 final, the high jump final, and the discus final.
Senior Anna Peyton Malizia competed in her last collegiate meet. She set a program record by clearing 1.84m in the finals of the high jump, finishing in third place.
With a time of 2:01.67, Akins came in as runner-up in the finals of the 800. This is Akins' second time finishing as national runner-up. She not only set a PR, but a program record as well.
Both Akins and Malizia were named first team All-American.
Sophomore Ashley Anumba finished 21st in the discus. For her mark of 49.60m, she was recognized with an honorable mention All-American.
The NCAA Championships signal the end of an impressive season for Penn track and field.
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