As the winter sports season gets underway, new and returning athletes are working their hardest to make sure that their teams succeed. Penn’s indoor men's and women's track and field teams are no different, and certain students across classes and events have already become standouts.
Senior thrower Mayyi Mahama holds a long list of accolades from both the 2019 and 2020 indoor seasons, including being the 2020 indoor Ivy League heptagonal champion for the weight throw and earning first team All-Ivy honors both seasons. She also qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the weight throw in 2020, but the meet was canceled due to COVID-19. This impressive record makes Mahama one to watch, and it is solidified by the fact that she holds the Ivy League and program record in the weight throw. Her first time competing in the 2022 indoor season was at the Sykes Sabock Challenge on Jan. 29, and she placed third in the weight throw. As the season progresses, Mahama is sure to be a top competitor once again.
Multi-event athlete and senior Haley Rizek is an Ivy League Indoor Heps Team Champion for both the 2019 and 2020 seasons. She started the 2022 indoor season off very strongly at the Seahawk Shootout on Dec. 10, finishing second in the 60m hurdles. She missed first place by just a tenth of a second, so future competitions are sure to feature Rizek in a leading position.
As a 2020 Indoor Heps Champion and first team All-Ivy athlete for both the 500m and the 4x400m relay, senior sprinter and hurdler Skyla Wilson is sure to make an impact this season. At the Penn 10-Team Select on Jan. 15, Wilson finished fourth in the 60m hurdles. Her time represented a notable accomplishment, as it marked the fifth-best time for the event in program history. At the Sykes Sabock Challenge, Wilson finished first in the 400m, showing that she is a standout this season, too.
Although she has no previous college running experience, freshman distance runner Bronwyn Patterson has quickly proven herself to be a top athlete. At the Penn 10-Team Select, Patterson ran the third-best time in program history for the mile. She followed this performance with a third-place finish in the 600m at the Sykes Sabock Challenge.
Freshman sprinter Caia Gelli has had an early start with being included in program history. At the Villanova Invitational on Jan. 22, she placed second in the 200m with a time that is sixth-best in program history. She also took second place in the 500m at the same meet. The next week, Gelli finished first in the 200m at the Sykes Sabock Challenge, moving her record up one spot to fifth-best. Her 400m time was 10th best in program history, and she was a part of the 4x400m relay team that finished first with a time strong enough to be the fifth-best in program history.
Before a canceled 2021 indoor season, senior distance runner Ray Sellaro earned second team All-Ivy honors for the mile in 2020. As the 2022 indoor season gets underway, Sellaro has proven that he is, once again, a standout competitor. At the Villanova Invitational, he won the 1,000m, giving him the third-fastest time in program history. At the Sykes Sabock Challenge, Sellaro became one of just four Penn runners in program history to run a sub-four-minute mile. His time of 3:57.89 places him second in program history.
Heading into the 2022 indoor season, senior thrower Cam Landis was coming off an indoor 2019 season in which he finished in the top five in eight of his nine meets. His start to this season cements this impressive record, as he finished in first place in shot put in his first two meets, the Seahawk Shootout, and the Penn 10-Team Select. Landis’ throw at the Seahawk Shootout was fifth-best in program history, although he also holds the record for second in program history for a throw from 2019.
After earning second team All-Ivy honors for both the 500m and the 4x400m relay for the 2020 indoor season, junior sprinter Robbie Ruppel has proven himself to be a competitor to look out for. At the Villanova Invitational, Ruppel placed first in the 500m and helped his team take home second place in the 4x400m relay. In addition, he placed third in the 4x400m relay at the Sykes Sabock Challenge.
Sophomore sprinter Dimitri Nicholson has had a record-breaking start to the 2022 season, beginning with a second-place finish in the 60m at the Seahawk Shootout. This gave him the eighth-best time for the event in program history, a spot he quickly broke through at the Villanova Invitational shortly after. At this meet, he beat his previous best in the 60m preliminaries to move up to the sixth-best time in program history, then again in the finals to get to fourth.
By placing first in pole vault at two early competitions, the Seahawk Shootout and the Villanova Invitational, freshman jumper James Rhoads has proved himself to be a standout on the team. His clearance of 5.15m at the Seahawk Shootout also happened to be the seventh-highest mark in program history. Most recently, Rhoads placed second in pole vault at the Sykes Sabock Challenge, clearing a way for more strong performances in the future.
With both the men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams heading to the Dr. Sanders/Columbia Challenge on Feb. 4, these top competitors are bound to stand out — and more will be sure to join them.