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4-3-21-philadelphia-big-5-track-laure-baeyens-chase-sutton

Penn Track continued its success off of Franklin Field at the Temple Invitational with four top-10 finishers including freshman Laura Baeyens.

Credit: Chase Sutton

Coming off two successful meets, Penn track and field carried its momentum to its first meet away from Franklin Field.

The Temple Invitational, which included Big 5 schools and the women's teams from Delaware and Loyola University Maryland, was hosted by Temple on Friday and Saturday. 

“After two weeks at home, it was fun to compete in a different venue,” Penn head coach Steve Dolan said.

Day one of the event saw multiple personal bests and historically great performances on the track. Sophomore Grace O’Shea continued to dominate the 100-meter hurdle, racking up her second consecutive first-place finish. O’Shea also improved on her 100-m dash time from the Penn Challenge, finishing in 12.24 seconds.

Junior Haley Rizek not only set a personal record in the 400-m hurdle, but her time of 1:01.20 was good for sixth-best in school history. 

Impressive feats continued to pile up for the jumpers of the women’s team. Junior Claire Moreau improved on her third-place high jump finish at the Penn Challenge, going from 1.65m to 1.73m. This 1.73m mark qualified as the fifth-best in school history.

“[Moreau] jumped to 1.71m in practice last week, which made her confident that she was capable of it," Dolan said. "She even exceeded that just in the moment of competition to jump 1.73m. That is a current top-20 jump in terms of all the NCAA Division I jumpers on the East Coast."

Additionally, just a week after setting the school long jump record twice in one meet, senior team captain Camille Dickson netted another first-place finish in the event.

The women’s team also found success in the 5000-m run, with four top-10 finishers, including seniors Niamh Hayes and Alyssa Condell, junior Ariana Gardizy, and freshman Laura Baeyens. Gardizy led the way with a fifth-place finish and a time of 16:38.34, which was over half a minute better than the next finisher.

Dolan credited the seniors’ success to their “impressive resilience and focus” during what has been an emotional time.

The men's runners and jumpers were also successful on Friday. Sophomore Emerson Douds finished first in both the 100-m and 200-m sprints, with times of 10.92 and 21.74, respectively. Junior Weston Wendt placed second in the 100-m, finishing a tenth of a second behind Douds, and also finished third in the 200-m sprint. 

Sophomore Alex Ruhl took second in the 200-m. Ruhl also set a personal best in the 400-m, finishing third with a time of 49.86. This was not the only impressive time for a Penn sophomore in the 400-m, however, as Robbie Ruppel finished first with a time of 49.38. This was Ruppel’s second first-place finish in two races, and his time improved from 49.55.

Freshman George Adams, who has now improved his time in the 800-m in three consecutive meets, placed third with a time of 1:58.13.

“It’s pretty impressive with the freshmen that are competing, and competing well, with all that we’ve been through this year,” Dolan said.

Both the 1500-m and 5000-m races saw record-breaking performances from Penn runners. 

In the 1500-m, senior and team captain Ryan Renken finished second with a time of 3:44.45, only .02 seconds behind the first place finisher. Renken's time was good for third-best in program history, and shattered his personal best by 12 seconds.  

“[Renken] led the whole second half of the race, all the way until the finish line, and it’s really difficult to be in the lead. It’s easier to be the chaser," Dolan said. "The group at-large would not have done as well, if he wouldn’t have pushed the pace.” 

The fourth and eighth best 1500-m times in Penn history are now held by senior Noah Carey and sophomore Michael Keehan, respectively, as they placed third and fourth behind Renken. Junior Justin Cornetta now holds the 10th best time in school history as he finished sixth in the event, just ahead of fellow Penn junior Mason Gatewood.

A week after setting his personal best in the 1500-m, sophomore Zubeir Dagane set his best in the 5000-m with a time of 14:27.47. He finished third as freshmen Will Shaughnessy and Justin Iler finished fourth and fifth. 

In another event with three top finishers from Penn, sophomore Michael Hermes finished first in high jump, and sophomore Mark Anselmi tied freshman Jack Miegel for second. 

The Quakers were also successful on Saturday in the throwing events at Mondschein Throwing Complex. Sophomore Olatide Abinusawa finished first for the third consecutive week and set a personal record with a 15.68m throw in the shot put. Sophomore Andrew Colbert, who is typically a jumper, placed first in the discus throw with a throw of 35.51m.

Dolan credits the team's “group spirit and communal support” with allowing them to compete at a high level week-to-week. The Red and Blue will compete next at the Quaker Invite on April 17. 

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