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Senior Nia Akins is starting her senior winter track season on a high note, as she ran a career-best in the 400-meter race this past weekend.

Credit: Pranay Vemulamada

Penn track and field is bound to have a record-breaking season, and Nia Akins is shaping up to be a large part of that, earning her DP Sports Player of the Week. 

It may be early in the season, but Penn women’s track and field has gotten off to a hot start this year. On Saturday, the Red and Blue travelled to Staten Island, N.Y. for the Penn 8-Team Select meet, where the Quakers tallied a total of eight wins across the men’s and women’s events.

On the women’s side, a large part of the team's success can be attributed to senior middle distance runner Nia Akins. Her success this weekend not only contributed to the team's performance, but also landed her in the program record books.

Akins played an important role by placing second in the 400-meter race with a time of 54.90, only .01 seconds off of the top spot. Akins’ time was her career best and moved her into third all-time in program history for that event. Akins also raced in the 4x400 relay event leading the squad to a 4:00.04 time.

Akins comes into this year with several accolades including 2019 NCAA Outdoor first team All-American in the 800-meter race and 2019 Penn Relays College Athlete of the Meet. While her performance on the track is going to be impactful, her leadership as a senior is going to make her invaluable for the team. 

As Akins enters the final months of her college career, she still has more to give, and Penn will need her dominance to continue as the season heats up.