There is no bigger event in Penn Athletics than Penn Relays, and as such, there is no greater opportunity for the members of the Quaker track and field team to show off their skills. It has been an electric season for Penn thus far, with jaw-dropping performances and record-breaking marks. Let’s check in with the men’s team as the Relays arrive.
Penn opened the outdoor season with a bang, securing four victories at the Penn Challenge in March. Those in Red and Blue owned the single-lap loop, with freshman Andrew O’Donnell winning the 400-meter dash with a time 48.94 seconds and junior Liam O’Hara winning the 400-meter hurdles at 53.55.
Since then, O’Hara has been one of Penn’s most consistent runners, with a fifth place finish at the Duke Invitational and second place at the Transatlantic Series at Cornell. O’Donnell has also been critical in buoying the Quakers’ elite relay teams, with sound contributions in both the 4x100 meter and 4x400 meter relays at the Transatlantic Series.
The distance runners for Penn have also enjoyed historic campaigns. At the Raleigh Relays, sophomore Dylan Throop set a new program mark in the 10,000 meter with a run of 28:48.59. Not to be outdone, a few weeks later, senior Michael Keehan broke the 3,000 meter steeplechase record in style, taking gold at the Larry Ellis Invitational with 8:36.79.
In the field, senior Olatide Abinusawa has led the way for Penn’s throwers, with five top-ten finishes, including landing as a runner-up three times. Sophomore pole vaulter James Rhoads and junior pole vaulter Scott Toney have also served as a one-two punch for the Quakers in that event with their consistently elite performances. At last weekend’s Virginia Challenge, Toney nabbed third and Rhoads took fourth, while the pair both tied the third-best mark in program history with jumps of 5.36 meters at the Transatlantic Series.
In total, Penn’s track and field team is slated to compete in 32 events at the Relays, just a small subset of the hundreds of athletes that will descend upon Franklin Field over the course of the three-day extravaganza. Among that group there will be competitors of all skill levels, from Olympians to high schoolers to 75-year olds. But among that vast swathe of athletes, only one group will be able to claim home field advantage: the Quakers.