With Penn Relays on the horizon, Penn women’s track and field is shaping up to be a force to be reckoned with, after three back-to-back weekends of strong performances across the board.
To kick off the season, the Quakers hosted their annual outdoor season opener meet — Penn Challenge — in mid March. The schools joining them on the field included Army, Bucknell, Cornell, La Salle, Penn State, Princeton, Towson, and Villanova.
This year, the Red and Blue dominated the podium with five first place finishes and two podium sweeps. In her outdoor season debut, freshman Moforehan Abinusawa finished first in the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.33. Sophomore Jocelyn Niemiec was also first to cross the finish line in her event, the 400 meters, and teammates junior Lily Orr and sophomore Caia Gelli followed in second and third, respectively. In the 400 meter hurdles, junior Aliya Garozzo led another Penn podium sweep where she grabbed the gold, and teammates senior Katherine Muccio and freshman Megan Webb followed closely behind.
The Red and Blue continued their streak of strong finishes at two different meets the weekend after. The Quakers split their roster with some athletes heading to Raleigh Relays and the others off to the Hurricane Collegiate Invitational in Miami.
In North Carolina, just over a year after she broke her first indoor program record, junior Maeve Stiles added an outdoor program record in the 10,000m to her accolades. Stiles finished with a time of 33:49.19 — smashing the program-record time of 34:09.65 set back in 2017.
In Miami, Abinusawa clocked another podium finish, this time in the 100m with a time of 11.63 seconds, which placed her second in Penn records for the event. Similarly, sophomore Nataliia Ilieva put up a strong performance on the pole vault but just miss the Quaker record, but etched her name as second best in program history.
However, Ilieva reached for the top again just a weekend later, and succeeded. At the Big 5 Invitational, she headlined the meet for the Quakers with her program record-breaking performance. She cleared 4.08m to overtake the old program record of 4.07m set in 2017. On the track, Abinusawa continued to dominate in the sprint events. She took home another first-place finish in the 200m with a time of 23.97 — seventh best performance in Penn history in the event.
Sophomore Chloe Hassman also added a medal to the Quakers’ medal count, finishing in first in the 800m just a second off from her personal best. Teammates senior Olivia Babski and Lily Orr joined Hassman on the podium finishing in second and third, respectively. The Red and Blue had three more first-places finishes: sophomore Bronwyn Patterson in the 1500m, freshman Daniella Oyenuga in the long jump, and sophomore Tumi Onaleye in the triple jump.
Next up, women’s track and field return to North Carolina this weekend to compete in the Duke Invitational, where the Quakers will look to continue their hot streak of strong performances.