With the historic Penn Relays set to kickoff Thursday at Franklin Field, Penn women’s track and field is looking to raise the bar throughout the three-day competition. To prepare for the festivities, here are five athletes to look out for during this year’s Relays.
Bronwyn Patterson (Relays)
Coming off of a stellar indoor season where she earned an Ivy League title in the 800-meter run and a trip to the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, Patterson has carried that momentum into the outdoor season. The sophomore continues to cement her place in the Penn record books, as her 800m time of 2:05.30 at the Larry Ellis Invitational on April 14 is now second in program history. She picked up a key win in the 1,500m race at the Big 5 Invitational on April 1 with a time of 4:24.81 — three seconds faster than the second-place finisher. Despite her individual accolades, Patterson will focus on the team events during the Relays as she will compete in the 4x800m and 4x1,500m races.
Moforehan Abinusawa (Sprints/Relays)
Abinusawa’s first year in Red and Blue has been nothing short of dominant. During the indoor season, the freshman set a program record in the 60m on her way to winning an Ivy title. The transition to outdoor track has yet to slow her down, as she set another program record — this time in the 100m — with a time of 11.38 at the Virginia Challenge. She’s also shown mastery at the 200m, picking up wins at the Penn Challenge, Big 5 Invitational, and Transatlantic Series. Her 23.97 mark at the Big 5 Invitational sits at seventh best in program history, another addition to her rapidly growing Penn records. At the Relays, Abinusawa will represent Penn in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays, and the 100m dash.
Isabella Whittaker (Relays)
Coming into this year’s Relays, Whittaker brings seasoned experience to the track as one of the team’s veterans. The junior has continued to improve after a successful indoor campaign, in which she placed second in both the 400m and 4x400m at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships. She’s been a key member of the Quakers’ relay victories during the outdoor season, contributing to the 4x100m relay team at the Transatlantic Series and the 4x400m team at the Virginia Challenge. In addition, she notched her first individual victory of the season with a time of 53.79 in the 400m on April 21. Whittaker will compete in the 4x100m and 4x400 races at the Relays.
Nataliia Ilieva (Pole Vault)
The outdoor season has been defined by broken records for Ilieva — who has been making waves on the infield. The sophomore pole vaulter set a program record at the Big 5 Invitational on April 1 with a clearance of 4.08m, placing second overall in the event. She didn’t stop there, however, as she shattered her own record two weeks later with a 4.22m clearance at the Transatlantic Series — securing one of her first victories of the season. Her new record puts her solidly above the record heading into this season of 4.07m, which was set by Molly Minnig in 2017. Ilieva will look to potentially raise the bar higher at this year's Relays, and secure another first-place finish.
Daniella Oyenuga (Long Jump)
In her first season as a Quaker, Oyenuga has made her presence known both on the track and on the infield. After a respectable indoor season with multiple top-10 finishes, the freshman has been on an upward trajectory with the transition to outdoor events. Oyenuga notched her first win of the season at the Big 5 Invitational with her 5.99m long jump victory catapulting her into fourth best in program history. Alongside her work in the field, she has also placed in the top 10 of all her 100m outdoor races this season — including two top-five placements. At the Relays, Oyenuga will participate in the Long Jump College competition.