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Penn track and field competed in the Penn Challenge at Franklin Field on Mar. 23.

Credit: Anna Vazhaeparambil

Saturday morning revealed a cloudy and gray day filled with torrential downpours. Nevertheless, the Penn men’s and women’s track and field teams suited up to race their rivals in the annual Penn Challenge at Franklin Field. Despite the less-than-ideal weather, the Quakers exploded onto the track for their first meet of the outdoor season.

The Quakers welcomed Ivy rivals Columbia, Cornell, and Princeton, fellow Philadelphia schools La Salle, St. Josephs, Temple, and Villanova, with Lehigh, Navy, and Rutgers rounding out the pack. Each school battled the harsh weather and each other to sweep as many of the events as possible. Penn walked away with 15 total victories, seven of which were attributed to the women’s team and eight to the men’s team. 

The women’s team dominated on the field, with athletes placing first in five of the eight field events. Senior jumper Sarah Lavery jumped 1.65m and freshman jumper Samantha Strydesky jumped 1.55m, placing first and third, respectively, in the women’s high jump. The women’s team had three athletes place in the top five in the pole vault: freshman jumper Evangeline Thomson in first, junior jumper Meghan Hart in fourth, and freshman jumper Y’Lan Nguyen in fifth. Thomson set a personal record and is now ranked at No. 24 on the 2024 DI Track and Field Performance List for Pole Vaults. 

The long jump experienced a similar pattern with sophomore jumper Daniella Oyenuga jumping 5.69m to earn first place, and freshmen jumpers Paris Ivery and Amelia Kristen jumping 5.42m and 5.24m to snag third and fourth place, respectively. The final field events that the women’s team won were the triple jump and discus throw. Freshman jumper Adannia Agbo and sophomore jumper Ijeoma Eziri beat out athletes from Cornell, Temple, Villanova, and La Salle for first and second place in the Triple Jump, while sophomore thrower Angeludi Asaah threw 42.85m for first place in the discus throw. 

Most notably, four Quakers placed in the top five of the women’s 1500m dash, some earning personal records among other accolades. Junior distance runner Bronwyn Patterson, who won first, ran the race in 4:31.59, ranking No. 87 out of 1000 athletes on the 2024 DI Track and Field Performance List for the 1500m. Third, fourth, and fifth place went to senior distance runner Phoebe White and junior distance runners Chloe Hassman and Katie Pou, respectively, with White and Hassman setting personal records. Finally, Penn senior distance runner Laura Baeyens and sophomore distance runner Kyra Compton raced against 29 other athletes in the 3000m to earn first and second place, respectively. 

Similar to the women’s team, Penn’s men’s track and field team also placed first in the high jump and pole vault, with junior jumper Conrad Moore jumping 1.93m and junior jumper Benedikt Sachta vaulting 4.82m. Sachta earned the No. 66 spot on the 2024 DI Track and Field Performance List for Pole Vaults. However, the men’s team experienced more wins on the track than on the field, unlike the women’s team. 

Junior sprinter Aaron Stillitano placed first in the 100m dash with a time of 10.63. This earned him the No. 100 ranking out of 631 athletes on the 2024 D-I Track and Field Performance List for the 100m dash. Stillitano also placed fourth in the 200m, with his teammates, freshman sprinter Nayyir Newash-Campbell and sophomore sprinter Andrew O’Donnell earning first and fifth, respectively.

Four Quakers placed in the top five of the men’s 800m: junior mid-distance runner Edwin Klanke for first, sophomore distance runner Liam Going for third, freshman mid-distance runner George Keen for fourth and freshman sprinter Nicholas DeVita for fifth. Klanke and Going are newly ranked No. 46 and No. 66 respectively, on the 2024 D-I Track and Field Performance List for the 800m. The Penn men’s 4x400 relay team also earned the No. 53 ranking on the DI Performance List after placing first with their 3:18.52 time.

Most notably, the men’s team outperformed all of the other schools in hurdles. The team swept the top three in the 110m hurdles, with sophomore hurdler Shane Gardner, freshman multi-eventer Sean Golembiewski, and sophomore hurdler Jake Rose placing first, second, and third, respectively, with Gardner and Golembiewski ranking No. 51 and No. 64 on the 2024 D-I Track and Field Performance List for 110m Hurdles, respectively. With an even more impressive performance, the Quakers swept the top four in the 400m hurdles. Freshman sprinter and hurdler Ryan Matulonis placed first, Golembiewski placed second, and freshmen sprinters and hurdlers Alexander Sadikov and Nicolas West placed third and fourth, respectively, with each of them ranking No. 35, 51, 62, and 103, respectively, on the 2024 D-I Track and Field Performance List for 400m Hurdles.

The Quakers experienced an extremely successful weekend and proved that they are the team to watch out for this season. Next up in their season is the Raleigh Relays taking place in North Carolina on March 28-30.