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Now-sophomore Moforehan Abinusawa runs in the Penn Challenge on Mar. 18, 2023.

Credit: Samantha Turner

This past weekend, Penn men's and women's track and field traveled to Cambridge, Mass. to compete in the 2024 Heptagonal Championships, known as the “Heps.” Founded in 1934, the Heps are a yearly tradition where all Ivy League schools' track and field teams compete for the coveted first place prize. 

The tournament was a major success for Penn. The women’s track and field team came in first place with a score of 140 points, while the men’s team came in third with 106 points, behind Princeton (168) and Cornell (115). Records were broken and many athletes came home to Philadelphia as champions.

In the first day, Penn dominated in seven events, six of which were thanks to the women’s team's efforts. Junior Scott Toney became an Ivy champion after placing first in the pole vault event, clearing a height of 5.36 meters. Junior James Rhoads placed second. Though he ultimately came in third, Penn junior Scott Dochat set yet another program record in the weight throw, with a distance of 20.74 meters. 

Three program records were also broken by the women’s team on the first day, two of which came from sophomore sprinter Moforehan Abinusawa. She previously held the program record for the 200m, set at 24.06 seconds, but on Saturday, she ran the race in 23.55. Similarly, she held the previous Penn record for the 60m at 7.34 seconds, but broke it again on Saturday with 7.27 seconds. Senior hurdler Aliya Garozzo also broke a program record — one previously held by herself — this weekend. On Saturday she ran the 60m hurdles in 8.29 seconds, shaving 0.2 seconds off of her previous record. 

Other Penn winners from Saturday's meet include senior Isabella Whittaker in the 400m, junior Jocelyn Niemiec in the 500m, and junior Bronwyn Patterson in the 800m. These performances set the Quakers up for an even more successful Sunday to conclude the tournament.

On the final day of the Heps, Penn took home eight Ivy League titles, including four from the women’s team and four from the men’s team. 

Following up on her amazing Saturday race, Garozzo took home first place in the 60m hurdles. Whittaker also won first place in the 400m. The women’s 60m sprint saw Penn dominating the top three with Abinusawa taking first, sophomore Christiana Nwachuku in second, and Whittaker in third. The one-two-three sweep made another appearance in the 200m event, just in a different order. Abinusawa claimed the top spot; however, Whittaker was able to just edge out Nwachuku for second. 

The men's team also won the 60m hurdles, with sophomore Shane Gardner running it in 7.83 seconds, making it a personal best. The Quakers also found success in the 500m with freshman Ryan Matulonis running the distance in 1:02.22, earning first. Like the women’s team, the men's team was also able to win the 60m dash, where senior Dimitri Nicholson ran a personal best at 6.71 seconds. The men's team's final trophy came from the men’s high jump when sophomore Kampton Kam jumped 2.18m. 

Next for Penn track and field is the NCAA Indoor Championships which are set to take place in Boston on March 8 and 9.