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04-03-21-philadelphiabig5trackmeet-chase-sutton
Freshman Laura Baeyens and senior Alyssa Condell placed first and second in the women's 1500m run at Philadelphia Big 5 meet on Saturday. Credit: Chase Sutton

With 15 first-place wins in the Big 5 meet this past weekend and an 11-year-old program record broken twice in the same day, Penn track and field refused to disappoint in their second meet of the adjusted outdoor season.

On the track, sophomore Grace O’Shea placed first in the women's 100-meter hurdles at a time of 14.21, after placing second in the 100-meter dash in the Penn Challenge the previous weekend.

"As a sophomore, I haven't competed in outdoor since my senior year of high school," O'Shea said. "So it's pretty crazy to think of that, but it's great to get back into the competitive mindset and start racing again."

Fellow sophomore Haley Rizek also improved her time in the women's 100-meter hurdles since the first meet of the season, pushing her time from 15.11 to 14.74 to place third.

Senior captain Camille Dickson placed first in the 200-meter dash; running 24.32 in the first heat and remaining unbeaten for the rest of the afternoon. With Dickson's win, Penn placed three out of the first five places in the women's 200-meter dash, as O'Shea placed third and sophomore Katherine Muccio followed in fourth.

With sophomore Emerson Douds finishing first at 21.88s, the Quakers took first place in both men's and women's 200 m. Robbie Ruppel, another sophomore, secured the top finish in men's 400 m at 49.55s.

In an electric finish to the men's 800-meter run, junior duo James Lee and Justin Cornetta placed first and second respectively with times of 1:52.54 and 1:52.73; overtaking St. Joseph's John Walker in the final moments of the race.

Despite not securing the first-place finish, junior runner Ellen Byrnes topped her time from her 800-meter run win at the Penn challenge, clocking an improvement from 2:14.38 to 2:13.42. 

Freshman Laura Baeyens and senior Alyssa Condell placed first and second respectively in the women's 1500-meter run to continue Penn's second winning streak in the event since the Penn Challenge.

A win by a Quaker emerged from the men's 1500-meter as well, with sophomore Zubeir Dagane setting a personal record of 3:50.84 to cross the finish first.

Several freshmen stepped up to top rankings and set personal records on the track and in throws. Freshman Emerson Douds finished first in the men's 200-meter dash, running 21.88s in the first heat and remaining unbeaten on the table for the rest of the afternoon.

In the women's high jump, freshman Addie Renner made 1.75m to place first in her event as well, improving from 1.70m the previous weekend.

Freshman Ben Kioko also became a name to remember as he won a second straight week in the javelin. His new personal record at 61.40m comes after three years of missing competition.

"I actually had to get elbow surgery in my junior year [of high school]," Kioko said. "And just going through that whole recovery process — an entire year of physical therapy — and now being able to see results, it's definitely really rewarding to see all those hours in the gym and all those hours in physical therapy pay off."

Kioko's main goal for the rest of the season is to improve by about five more meters to qualify for the nationals in Florida.

"I think that's definitely going to be my focus for the rest of the meets that we have this season, definitely this weekend's," Kioko said.

Senior Ashley Anumba placed first in women's discus throw with a toss of 52.50m, and was joined by fellow junior Campbell Parker who placed second in the men's event. At 49.46m, he was just 2.5 meters off the first place that was taken by Villanova.

In addition to personal records, an 11-year-old program record was toppled twice in the women's long jump, as Dickson unseated Kathryn Gevitz’s record of 6.10m set in 2010 in her first jump of the day at 6.12m. Dickson then bested her own record on her second attempt with a mark of 6.21m, which sealed her fourth first-place finish of the season so far. 

Senior Demetri Whitsett placed first in the long jump on the men's side, with a distance of 7.19m to take the first place finish.

At the Mondschein Throwing Complex, sophomore Olatide Abinusawa improved his results in shot put from the previous weekend from 14.92m to 14.96m, and placed first in his event.

Sophomore Morgan Johnson earned results in women's shot put as well; placing second by throwing 13.94m.

With the revival of competition, Penn track and field has welcomed a return to the weekly rhythm of preparing for meets on the weekends.

"We started training February 1, so it's definitely been a different training cycle than we've ever experienced," O'Shea said. "And although it's been tough with our situation, I just think that the support and the team, and the love for each other, and the great coaching has helped us a lot throughout, throughout this process."

The Quakers will look to build on their successes over the past two weekends in the two-day Temple Invitational starting on Apr. 9.

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