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Credit: Photo courtesy of Lamorinda Weekly , Photo courtesy of The Episcopal Academy, Photo courtesy of Franklin Matters

As waits to see if Penn's athletes will win their heats in this year's Penn Relays, others are sitting at home waiting for their turn to don the Red and Blue. In the case of women’s track and field, these commits hope to uphold Penn’s longstanding history of success in the near future.

Avery Elliott

A multi-sport athlete, and Pennsylvanian native, Elliott has dominated the competition in high school en route to her commitment to Penn. A star in the making, Elliott’s affinity for all things track and field has led her to excel in the Heptathlon, previously ranking top-20 in the United States in 2023. Despite her dominance in the Heptathlon, Elliot doesn’t want to be seen as a singular sports athlete, which is what drew her to the Quakers.

“What I really appreciated was that she didn't necessarily recruit me for one specific event or label me in one group yet,” Elliott said in regards to Penn coach Chené Townsend. “She wants to let me develop and continue to get stronger in all of my events, which I just really love because I don't want to feel stuck in something, and I feel like we both knew that I had a lot of room to grow in all my events.”

Elliott is no stranger to the Carnival as she raced in the Penn Relays last year, finishing second in the women’s high school 4x400m. Slated to once again compete in the upcoming Carnival, Elliott now looks to compete in the long jump, and 4x100m. 

Already having a taste for the blinding lights of Franklin Field, Elliott seemingly has a bright future as she transitions to competing for Penn.

Olivia Williams

In comparison to Elliott, Williams has a much more unorthodox story regarding her commitment to Penn. After succeeding early in her high school career, an injury that took her out for her entire junior year led a lot of coaches to stop calling. Despite this, Williams persevered, and Penn took notice.

“Unlike other coaches who, once they heard I was injured my junior year, just stopped talking to me, coach Gosselin was really open and supportive and never ghosted me,” Williams said in regards to Penn track and field coach Matt Gosselin. “once I was back running, and he could see that my times were improving again, he brought me out for a visit, and I think just going into that knowing that I was going on a visit with a coach who had maintained trust in me the whole time really made me feel like I belonged.”

With college on the horizon, the California native sees big changes ahead. Williams will be trading in her hot west coast tracks for Philadelphia's tumultuous weather, but that won't be the only chance as she will also be transitioning from her focus events from the 1600-meter and 3200-meter races to the 5ks and 10k. Despite these obstacles, Williams knows that Penn will have her back when the time comes.

“Penn can offer such a great opportunity for me to not only be able to push myself and run at school, but to also feel really supported and know that if I do get injured I have a coach who will support me through that.” Williams said. 

Sarah Dumas

Rounding out the list, Dumas enters Penn with an incredibly impressive resume. Being named an All American three times in her career for her performances at both Indoor and Outdoor New Balance National Championships, Dumas has continuously made her presence known at the highest level. While compatibility originally drew in her aforementioned '28 classmates, Dumas felt that she saw her success being reflected by what Penn has been able to accomplish.

“They've been really impressing me. You know, [Penn] ha[s] the best women's team in the Ivy League right now, and they're just obviously very, very impressive” Dumas said.

On top of this competitive fire, Dumas has gained an appreciation for the facilities and coaching staff. Competing at Franklin Field in 2023 was how she earned her second All-American bid, and keeping in contact with Quaker coaches has given her insight into what her locker room experience may be.

“They have a designated Multis [event] group, and a lot of schools for the pentathlon and heptathlon, there's probably two people who float around to the different event groups,” Dumas said. “But here, there's a whole group that you can train with … which is really really nice.”

As one chapter of their career ends, and another one opens, these Penn commits stand at a new proverbial start line. Hoping to fulfill their athletic collegiate dreams, one can only look forward to what they may accomplish for the Quakers.