A two-week European trip featured five games against British teams and a chance to view the World Cup. For collegiate athletes, summer does not mean that the playing stops. Summer training is crucial for improved play during the season, and for many athletes, playing against international competition is one way to improve. This is especially true for sports that are more popular in other countries. With this thought in mind, the Penn field hockey team journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean for a European tour, which lasted from May 19 through June 2. The two-week voyage began with a 10-day, 5-game tour of England. The Quakers began the schedule of games in northern England, facing teams from the cities of Blackburn and York before making their way south to London. While the Red and Blue faced one university team during the trip, most of their games were against club teams. As the second most popular sport worldwide -- behind only soccer -- field hockey is taken very seriously by European clubs, who offer some of the best competition in the world. "We were overmatched," Penn coach Val Cloud said. "We were really challenged. The level of hockey was exceptional." After facing top club teams in England, the the 21-member group -- 18 players, two coaches and a trainer -- traveled south to Amsterdam to observe the World Cup of field hockey. "The highlight of the trip was spectating the World Cup," Cloud said. "It is the most prestigious field hockey event in the world, even beyond the Olympics." For the first time in history this year, the World Cups for both men and women were held at the same location. Several Quakers were in attendance to see the Australian women and Dutch men win World Cup titles. They also watched as the American women played in the seventh place game. The NCAA Rules Committee allows teams to make international trips at most once every four years, and this was the first European trip for the Penn field hockey team since 1988. Penn, which finished the 1997 season 10-8, with a 3-4 Ivy League record, believes the experience gained by playing top club teams and watching the World Cup will help it when the season begins in the fall. "Everything went really well," Cloud said. "It was a very positive experience." In addition to the field hockey experience, however, the Quakers gained more from this trip. "The most rewarding aspect of the trip was the bonding and interaction of the team away from the pressures of the season and school," Cloud said. When the fall season arrives, the Penn field hockey players will enter the season more experienced and knowledgeable. Two weeks of the summer -- and memories of their overseas competition -- will impact the team's entire season.
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Mina Pizzini was among the 226 women cyclists to ride in the First Union Liberty Classic. With the Tour de France not slated to begin until later in the summer, cycling enthusiasts have to turn somewhere else in these early summer months. Last weekend, they turned to the City of Brotherly Love. All eyes in the world of cycling were indeed on Philadelphia this past Sunday, as some of the world's top cyclists pedaled their way around a 14.5 mile loop that runs from the Art Museum, down Kelly Drive, through the streets of Manayunk -- and back again. The big stories of the weekend were those of First Union U.S. Pro Championship winner George Hincapie and his teammate on the U.S. Postal Service team, Lance Armstrong. The Penn community, however, also had a link to the event, as Mina Pizzini participated in the women's race. Hincapie -- who was disqualified last year when it was ruled that he drafted behind a team car for a portion of the race -- was able to keep his U.S. championship this year after he crossed the finish line a wheel length ahead of the front pack. "This is the biggest race in America," Hincapie said. "Last year was devastating for me, but professional cyclists have to go on." Hincapie's words seem to portray the determination of his teammate, a professional cyclist who has gone on after conquering a major obstacle. Armstrong, the U.S. Pro Champion in 1993, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996 and is now trying to make his way back onto the U.S. cycling circuit. Armstrong led for much of the race before dropping back in the final miles, finishing 33rd. While Hincapie and Armstrong captured national attention on Sunday, Pizzini, one of the few amateurs at Sunday's festival, rode to less fanfare. Pizzini, a second-year doctoral candidate in the Wharton School, was one of the 226 cyclists invited to race in the 57.6 mile First Union Liberty Classic, the female counterpart to the 156 mile U.S. Pro Championships. Pizzini, who finished in the second pack of riders after many of the professionals pulled away from the rest of the riders, also rode in the Liberty Classic last year. This time, however, the race was more prestigious, as it was recently named a World Cup event. "Last year, half the field was amateurs like me," Pizzini said. "This year, there were probably only ten or fifteen women that don't do this for a living." Unlike last year, when most top amateurs were permitted to enter the Liberty Classic, only invited riders were able to participate in Sunday's race. Pizzini, who finished second in the road race at the collegiate nationals this spring as a member of the Penn cycling team, raced for the Tri State Composite team in the Liberty Classic. In last year's race -- which was then known as the CoreStates Liberty Classic -- Pizzini finished in the third pack. With the race's new status resulting from the World Cup designation, Pizzini did not know what to expect before the race. She found herself in the second pack for most of the race. "It basically broke into two groups after the second time over the Wall," Pizzini said. "I was in the second group, and we were pretty far back." The "Wall" Pizzini speaks of is perhaps the most famous part of the entire First Union race course. After cruising through the cozy streets of Manayunk, the riders are treated to a narrow, 285-foot uphill climb that the majority of racers agree is the most difficult part of the course. "It's hard," Pizzini said. "The hardest part is really being in good position at the bottom of the Wall. When you have 90 people and the roads get really narrow, you're all long and stretched out." After conquering the Wall four times, Pizzini crossed the finish line, though her time was much slower than the winning time of 2:22:18 achieved by Germany's Petra Rossner, who raced for Vizir/Russian National Team. Rossner raced for Russia because Germany did not enter a team. For now, Pizzini is spending much of her time concentrating on her studies, but she will participate in a few more races this season. "I ride for a club here in Philadelphia (Tri State Composite), and I plan to do a lot of racing this summer," Pizzini said. While racing this summer, Pizzini will also be improving for next year's collegiate season. She also hopes to race in next year's Liberty Classic, because after all, it is only another 12 months before the cycling world once again focuses on Philly.
The Penn and Cornell track teams will compete in Europe over the next two weeks. Normally, a midseason dual meet with league rival Cornell is nothing out of the ordinary for a Penn track team. On April 18, however, the Quakers' matchup with the Big Red held special significance. This meet not only served as a tune-up for important championship meets, but it also determined which women athletes would earn the chance to compete in England on a tour beginning Monday. On the men's side, the English trip participants were decided by the Heptagonal Championships, in which Penn placed second. The quadrennial tour is a tradition for the schools. The Penn/Cornell squad rotates with teams from Yale/Harvard and Dartmouth/Brown and makes the trans-Atlantic voyage once every four years. On the fourth year of the cycle, the combined squad of Oxford and Cambridge makes its tour of the Ivies. Princeton and Columbia do not participate in the competition, which at 103 years old is the oldest international exchange of athletes. "It was at the turn of the century when it began, and they went across on boats," Penn assistant women's track coach Tony Tenisci said. "It's very historical." After arriving in London on Monday, the athletes will quickly make their way to Dublin where they will begin their whirlwind tour of competition by facing Irish club teams. The team, however, will have little time to rest. After the first meet in Ireland, the athletes will return to England to compete in two more meets before finally culminating the trip with the highlight of the tour, the competition against Oxford/Cambridge. The stakes are not high in this exhibition tour, but the Penn/Cornell squad does have a reputation to uphold. Unlike the other two Ivy combinations, Penn/Cornell has never lost a meet on this trip. Although the European clubs are permitted to bring back post-collegiate athletes, the talent level is not the same as it is for the Americans. "The United Kingdom is much smaller," Penn men's assistant coach Nathan Taylor said. "A top ten performer in England may not even be in the top 50 here." The squad will certainly give the Europeans trouble, as it is composed of several top athletes, including All-American Robin Martin, who will skip the national USATF championship for the trip. While competition is the purpose of the trip, it is sure to create memories for all participating athletes. "It is a huge honor for these young people to represent us," Tenisci said. "It's something they'll remember for the rest of their lives.
The Penn varsity four with coxswain left its hope of an NCAA title unfulfilled, as it could not qualify for the Grand Final. For weeks, it had been the one race on which they concentrated. Despite finishing with 3-6 record in its cup season, the Penn women's crew team was still hopeful. A national championship in the varsity four with coxswain seemed within their grasp. "This is huge for our program. The freshman and junior varsity did very well this year, and now the varsity has a chance to row for a national championship," Penn coach Barb Kirch said before the race. All hopes of that title, however, were dashed last weekend at the NCAA Championships on Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Ga., when the Quakers did not even qualify for the Grand Final. A pre-race favorite, Penn entered the event, along with Southern California and North Carolina, as one of the three seeded boats. Unlike the champion Trojans or the third-place Tar Heels, however, the Quakers were not one of the six crews rowing in the Grand Final at 1:20 p.m. Sunday. Penn, who did not qualify to NCAAs as a team but earned an at-large bid in the four, rowed its race 20 minutes earlier, taking third place in the Petite Final in 8:06.0. The Quakers placed behind Michigan and Iowa in the Petite Final, though ahead of league rivals Princeton and Harvard. Despite not qualifying to the Grand Final, the Red and Blue got off to a good start at the meet. As the only seeded team in its first round heat on Friday, the Quakers performed as expected, winning the heat by 3.2 seconds over Iowa. Although Iowa got off to a fast start, Penn caught up and held the lead by the 1,000 meter mark. After this point, Penn never relinquished the lead and easily advanced to the semifinals. In the semifinals, however, Penn -- as the preliminary heat winner with the slowest time -- was placed in a heat with Southern Cal, the fastest qualifier. USC cruised to a second-place finish in the semifinals, advancing to the Grand Final with Washington and Virginia. Since only three crews from each heat advance, Penn -- the fourth place finisher in the heat -- was forced to row in Saturday's Petite Final. In the Petite Final, the six crews rowed in the same positions for most of the race, with Michigan and Iowa at the lead for the entire 2,000 meter race. The Penn boat of Rachel Jolley, Diane Lincoln, Maggie Klarberg, Kealy O'Connor and coxswain Catherine Eikel was a few seconds behind the leaders for most of the race, but fell behind in the final stretch, crossing the line eight seconds and approximately one boat length behind Michigan. Although the Quakers did not win an NCAA title, qualifying in the four was an accomplishment for a team who just completed a rebuilding year under first-year coach Kirch. As the team continues to build in the upcoming years, perhaps an NCAA title will become a reality.
Princeton won the heavyweight varsity eight final on the Cooper River, edging defending champion Washington. Two national championships for one school in a span of less than a week is quite an accomplishment. Unfortunately for Penn sports fans, this particular feat was accomplished by the Quakers' top rival, Princeton. Only five days after winning its third consecutive lacrosse national title, Princeton grabbed another title when its men's crew team rowed its way to the IRA national championship on the Cooper River in Pennsauken, N.J., last Saturday. In the heavyweight varsity eight final, the Tigers crossed the line 1.1 seconds ahead of defending champion Washington, winning in 5:31.1. California placed third, while the Quakers -- who won their preliminary heat on Thursday and placed third in Friday's semifinal heat -- finished in 5:40.0 to take home fourth place. "It was the top competition in the country. There were 20 crews in the varsity eight, and we took fourth," Penn coach Stan Bergman said. "That's nothing to be ashamed of, but we were hoping for a better performance." Only two weeks after taking first place at the Eastern Sprints Championships, the Quakers, who finished seventh at IRAs last year, could not get past Princeton a second time. Earlier in the season, Princeton defeated the Quakers at the Childs Cup at Columbia. That race, however, was decided by less than a second, unlike the IRA race in which Penn and Princeton were separated by almost nine seconds. Despite finishing with the victory, Princeton -- which finished third at Eastern Sprints but earned a seed when Harvard decided not to attend IRAs -- fell behind early in the 2,000 meter race. After pulling even with early leader Washington, the Tigers were back in the race. At this point, however, several crews, including Penn, were within a boat length of the Tigers. "That has to be the best race I've ever seen in rowing," Princeton coach Curtis Jordan said. After staying even with Washington for a while, Princeton pulled away in the final stretch of the race when coxswain Geoff Adamson raised the stroke rate to an exhausting 41 strokes per minute. In most crew races, 38 strokes per minute is the standard rate. "They don't row any higher at the Olympics," Adamson said. "That's what we rowed today." For Penn and most other teams in the Grand Final, Princeton's stroke rate was too much with which to keep pace. As a result, every crew except Washington was left in the wake of the black shell Princeton loaned from the U.S. national team. Although the first varsity eight race is the premier event, Princeton also took home victories in the second varsity eight and the lightweight eight, earning 354.7 points and the overall team title. Penn finished third in the second varsity eight and picked up various other points in the meet, earning 250.8 points and third place in the team standings. "The second varsity took third, and that's a tribute to them," Bergman said. "They're really a tough crew." Although the Penn team placed third overall and finished ahead of many talented crews in the varsity eight, the Quakers still walked away from the Cooper River with a feeling of disappointment. "We went into the event thinking we could win it, but we just couldn't get it together," Bergman said. For the Eastern Sprints champions, the team's fourth place finish at IRAs was not the way they wanted to end the season.
Penn finished tied for 34th place at the ECAC meet, scoring 6 points. A long season reached its conclusion last weekend as the Penn women's track team tied with William & Mary and Massachusetts for 34th place at the 1998 ECAC championship. Two weeks after taking fifth place at the Heps championship, Penn once again finished fifth among the Heptagonal teams at the ECAC meet, which was won by host George Mason. The Quakers received their six points from two individuals -- triple jumper Aqiyla Muhammad and shot putter Luana Botelho. Muhammad and Botelho, both juniors, finished sixth in their respective events, earning three points apiece for Penn. Muhammad leaped 38'5" in the triple jump for her second best outdoor performance ever. Botelho tossed the shot 44'10.25", just over an inch behind fifth-place finisher Allison Cardlin of Dartmouth. Although Botelho and Muhammad were the only Quakers to earn points for the team, several other Penn athletes contributed quality showings in their events. "Performances across the board were very good and very respectable," Penn assistant coach Tony Tenisci said. One performance that was particularly promising for the Quakers was turned in by freshman Ami Desai. Desai cleared 9'4.5" in the pole vault, an event which was making its first appearance at the ECAC meet. Since the pole vault was in its inaugural year, it was contested as an exhibition event and was not scored. If the event had been scored, Desai would have finished tied for seventh and would have scored one point. The future looks bright for Desai. After placing high as a freshman, Desai should improve during the next three years -- when the pole vault will be scored. In addition, freshman Amy Nichols performed well against the ECAC competition. Nichols threw the discus 131'1" for 22nd place. "We had two freshmen perform well at this meet, which was nice for us," Tenisci said. "It's nice to have freshmen there with the upperclasspeople." Several upperclass athletes also turned in good performances. Senior Dawn McGee ran 14.57 in the 100 meter high hurdles, just two weeks after running a disappointing 14.94 at Heps. Like McGee, senior sprinter Jen Roy performed well at her last ECAC meet. Roy ran 56.61 in the 400 meters and then joined with Jessica Mitchell, Bassey Adjah and Vicki Moore to run 3:47.3 for 13th place in the 4x400 meter relay. Penn has run faster times in the 4x400 several times this season, including a school record of 3:43.7. In addition to the slow 4x400 time, another relay disappointment came in the 4x100, in which Penn was disqualified for dropping the baton. Despite the relay troubles, Tenisci still views the meet as a success. "As a coach, you always want more," Tenisci said. "But we're extremely pleased with our two sixth place finishes." Penn's six points are more than the five scored at last year's meet, in which only one Penn athlete scored. Things look bright for the Quakers, as both point scorers and several top performers will return next season. For 14 Penn women track athletes, however, this season is not yet complete. The Quakers will take a week off before beginning training for their European trip, which begins June 15.
Two weeks after their first place showing at the EARC Sprints, the Quakers head to the IRA national championships on Pennsauken's Cooper River. As one of the most successful Penn teams of the 1998 spring season, the Quakers men's crew team hopes to show that it is one of the nation's top teams at this weekend's Intercollegiate Rowing Championships at the Cooper River in Pennsauken, N.J. Although the races during the season were key in solidifying Penn's position in the world of intercollegiate rowing, the IRA Championship is the most important event of the season. Penn's showing at the championships in Pennsauken, which run from today through Saturday, will weigh heavily on how successful the Quakers' season is viewed to be. Last spring, the Quakers' varsity eight boat finished a disappointing seventh at the IRAs. This year, however, Penn has higher hopes after the first varsity eight took first at the EARC Sprints -- the crew equivalent of the Ivy League championship -- two weeks ago. The second varsity eight finished fourth at Easterns, while the freshman eight took home tenth place. Penn's finish at Easterns may be a good sign for the Quakers, as recent history suggests a good showing at Easterns accompanies a good showing at IRAs. "We flip-flopped between the 1996 and 1997 spring rowing seasons," Penn coach Stan Bergman said before the season. "In 1996, we didn't fare too well in our cup races and then went on to win Easterns and finish third at IRAs. In 1997, we had a terrific cup race season and then finished seventh at both postseason contests. This season, we'd like to see success on both ends of the season." With the Eastern title already under their belts, the Quakers only have the IRA Championships remaining on their schedule. Penn finished off its cup season this past Friday with a convincing victory over Cornell at the Madeira Cup in the Schuylkill River. The first varsity eight boat cruised to first place in 5:35.6, over 15 seconds before the Big Red crossed the finish line. The second varsity eight boat had just as easy a victory, winning by 18.5 seconds in 5:45.9. In fact, the freshman four was the only Penn boat that did not cross the finish line first at the Madeira Cup, as both the freshman eight and varsity four finished before Cornell. The IRAs will host several teams that the Quakers have already faced this spring. The only teams that competed in the Eastern Sprints who will not attend the IRA Championships are Harvard and Yale. The Crimson and the Elis elected not to compete at the 103-year-old IRAs, but instead will face each other in the 133rd annual Harvard-Yale Regatta, the oldest collegiate sporting event in the nation. In addition to Penn's familiar foes, several West Coast rowing powerhouses, including defending champion Washington, will be in attendance at IRAs. As a result of their first place finish at Eastern Sprints, Penn earned one of the top seeds at IRAs. Penn and the three other seeded teams -- Washington, California and Princeton -- will be in separate heats. The other teams will be placed randomly into the heats. Princeton, the third place finisher at Eastern Sprints, earned a seed since Harvard, the runner-up at Easterns, will not be at IRAs. Two weeks ago, Penn proved that it is the best crew team on the East Coast this year. When the West Coast rowing teams invade the Cooper River for the national championship this weekend, the Quakers will have the opportunity to see where they rank on a larger scale.
Princeton and Brown shared the title at the rain-soaked championship on May 9-10. For Penn hurdler Dawn McGee, the weekend of May 9-10 could have gone better. It could could have gone a lot better. Despite qualifying to the finals of the 100 meter high hurdles in the Heptagonal Championships at Brown, McGee finished a disappointing sixth in a slow time of 14.94 seconds. "It was my worst Heps performance since I've been here," McGee said. "I've always finished first or second and this time, I finished sixth. It was just a really bad weekend." Unfortunately for McGee and her women's track teammates, the Heps meet turned out to be a bad weekend for the entire team, as various misfortunes combined with poor performances to put the Quakers in fifth place with 80 points, 36 behind co-champions Brown and Princeton. "We only scored double-digit points in one event, and usually, we can get first and second place finishes in a few events," McGee said. The one Penn double-digit scorer was triple jumper Lisa El. El, who will be a senior in the fall, captured first place with a hop, skip and jump of 37'8.75", outdistancing second place Mary Moore of Cornell by three inches. "[The victory] was bittersweet, because it didn't help us win the meet or even place in the top three," El said. "And we really should have placed in the top three." "It is nice to contribute to the team, but it is difficult when your contribution doesn't mean much," she added. El, who has been battling stress fractures in her legs all season, will not not compete in this weekend's ECAC meet in order to rest for the team's trip to England next month. On June 15, several members of the Penn team will join a handful of Cornell runners in a competition against British teams. While El was battling her injury in the triple jump, one of her teammates developed an injury of her own. During one of her throws in the shot put competition, Mandy Bennett, who finished fifth in the shot at last year's Heps, broke her foot. Her broken foot not only prohibited Bennett from competing in the hammer throw and the discus, but it also kept her from scoring more points in the shot. If she had not fallen over the toe board when she broke her foot, Bennett's throw would have put her in third place. Instead, one of Bennett's previous throws garnered her sixth place. Although Bennett did not finish as high as possible, the shot put was actually one of the better events for Penn, as junior Luana Botelho's toss of 45'2.25" was good enough for second place. Botelho's finish allowed her to join El as the only Quakers on the All-Ivy team. The relays were another disappointment for the Quakers. They finished in third place in both the 4x100 and 4x400 meter relays and in last place in the 4x800, 19 seconds behind seventh-place Dartmouth. The 4x400 team finished in 3:52.0, well below the school record of 3:43.7 set earlier this year. The slower time can be attributed to the bad weather conditions in Brown Stadium and the Red and Blue's low morale at that time. "By the time the 4x400 race started, we were out of the running for a team title," Penn's Jen Roy said. "We were disappointed that we didn't make a better run at first place, though." The horrible conditions were also apparent in the 400 meters, a race in which Roy finished fourth while running on a track that contained almost two inches of water in the first lane. This Saturday, Penn will travel to George Mason for the ECAC Championships. McGee, who will run in the high hurdles, does not expect to have a repeat performance from Heps. Looking back at the Heps meet, McGee is probably not alone, as many of her teammates can perform better than they did two weeks ago.
The All-Ivy teams for the spring season feature several Quakers. Penn athletics has definitely seen better seasons than spring 1998, as the golf team's Ivy championship -- their first in 88 years -- was the only league title the Quakers brought back to West Philly. Despite the failure of their teams to finish first in th standings, several Penn athletes received honors when the Ivy League announced its All-Ivy teams over the last week. The Penn men's lacrosse team, despite finishing tied for last in the league, did see some of its stars recognized. Attacker Pete Janney -- last year's Ivy League Rookie of the Year -- and midfielder Joe Mauro led the way for the Quakers by being named second team All-Ivy. Junior middie Jeff Zuckerman received honorable mention. "It was great to see a senior captain come out and have the season Joe did," men's lacrosse coach Marc Van Arsdale said. "And Peter has gotten a lot of people's attention by playing very well, especially against our toughest opponents." Janney scored a hat trick in Penn's last game, a loss to defending national champ Princeton. On the women's side, senior defender Emily Hansel was Penn's lone representative on the first team. Senior midfielder Darah Ross earned second team status for the 2-5 Red and Blue. On the baseball diamond, Penn picked up several honors, as designated hitter Mark Nagata and centerfielder Drew Corradini made the first team. Nagata, the Ivy League batting champ last season, was unanimously chosen after leading the Ancient Eight in walks and on-base percentage. Corradini led the Quakers with a .414 batting average this spring. Second baseman Joe Carlon, who tied Nagata for the team lead in home runs, and pitcher Sean McDonald, who threw a no-hitter against Cornell, were named to the second team. Unlike their baseball counterparts, the Penn softball team was completely shut out of the All-Ivy team after a dismal season which featured no league wins. For the women's tennis team, sophomore standout Anastasia Pozdniakova -- last year's Rookie of the Year -- retained her spot on the first team, while her doubles partner, Julia Feldman, was named to the second team. The team of Pozdniakova/Feldman was not named All-Ivy, but Penn's pair of Brooke Herman and Elana Gold earned second team doubles honors. The first-team All-EITA doubles pairing of Marc Fisicaro and Urs Baertschi was the only spot the Penn men's tennis team earned on the honor roll. After edging Yale by two strokes to win the Ivy Championships, the Penn golf team had three players named All-Ivy. Kiki Kyrle shot a 147 in the two-round championship to place second behind Harvard's Alex Gonzalez. Kyrle was joined on the All-Ivy squad by teammates Rob Goldfaden and Adam Bradshaw.
Seniors Armen Simonian and Mark Nagata try to extend their baseball careers this summer and as pros. Summer carries with it certain things that are regarded as symbols of the season. Perhaps there is no symbol stronger than the American pastime itself, baseball. For years, boys playing baseball has been just as representative of the summer months as trips to the beach, hot weather and no school. For the Penn baseball team, the season may have ended, but the playing has not stopped and will not stop in the off-season. "Many of our players play a lot," Quakers coach Bob Seddon said. "They better be playing. That is the only way to improve." During the summer, several high- profile leagues are held throughout the nation. Many Quakers have played in such leagues, including ones in Cape Cod and Alaska, in the past. This year, however, most Penn players will be playing in other leagues, such as the Atlantic Coast Baseball League. One Penn player who will become more experienced in this league is junior pitcher Sean McDonald. McDonald, who will play for a team in West Deptford, N.J., was the Quakers' number two pitcher behind graduating senior Armen Simonian. Like the New Jersey native McDonald, most Quakers will be playing for teams near their homes. Kevin McCabe and Jeremy McDowell will be teammates on a team in Malvern, Pa. Quakers playing together in a summer league is uncommon because most leagues have a cap of two or three school teammates per summer team. While these Quakers will be toiling away in various summer leagues to improve from a third place finish in the Lou Gehrig Division, some of their former teammates have more elaborate plans. Armen Simonian is one such former Quaker. "Basically, I'm just looking to get a chance to play pro ball next year," Simonian said. Simonian, a 1997 first team All-Ivy selection, has spoken to several major league scouts and hopes to be selected in the June 1 draft. "It's a very complex and confusing thing with baseball. Scouts don't let you know what they think," Simonian, who has spoken with representatives of the Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Devil Rays, said. "They give you no feedback, so I'm in no-man's land right now." If Simonian is not selected in the draft, he has expressed interest in playing in an independent league. "Armen is doing everything he can to continue playing baseball," Seddon said. "I have made it clear that the draft is my first priority," Simonian said. "I do not intend to sign with an independent league until after the draft." If Simonian does play in an independent league, he will be hoping to improve his status for the Majors. Likewise, former Penn designated hitter and 1997 Blair Batting Champion Mark Nagata hopes to do the same by playing in Japan next season. Nagata, who is half Japanese and has been contacted by several Japanese scouts, hopes to have a try-out with a team in Japan and play for a year or so in the Far East. In the past, Major League stars, such as Cecil Fielder, Don Newcombe and Pete Incaviglia, have spent time in Japan. Recently, native Japanese players have made their way to America through the Japanese leagues. Pitchers Hideo Nomo and Chan Ho Park of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Hideki Irabu of the New York Yankees are the most prominent examples. This summer represents various opportunities for several members of the Penn baseball team. Whether they are preparing for the pros or playing in a summer league, they will be playing baseball, because almost nothing defines summer more than baseball.
With the world's greatest track and field athletes invading their home turf, the Penn women's track team showed that it can compete with the best in the Penn Relays Carnival. While Marion Jones and her teammates at Nike were burning the Franklin Field track in Olympic development races, the Penn women sprinters were doing some burning of their own in the sprint relays. The Quakers sprint medley team of Jen Roy, Shana McDonald-Black, Vicki Moore and Jessica Mitchell finished its race in 3:58.31, annihilating the former Penn record by six seconds. The time put Penn in 17th place overall and second in their heat behind a powerful Tennessee foursome. After breaking the sprint medley record Friday, Roy, Moore and McDonald-Black regrouped with Richelle Clements Saturday to see another Penn record come crashing down. The four ran the 4x200 meter relay in 1:37.57, three seconds under the previous mark -- placing them third among four teams in the ECAC division. The Quakers finished behind George Mason and Seton Hall and ahead of Virginia Tech. "Everyone was really excited about both relays," senior captain Roy said. "We performed very well against the Eastern teams." One race in which the Red and Blue did not excel, surprisingly, was the 4x400 relay. One week earlier, Penn ran a time of 3:43.72 to set a new school record. If the Quakers had run their time from the previous week, they would have won. However, the team of Mitchell, Moore, Sonya Crosswell and Roy ran 3:46.59, only good enough for third place behind defending champion Brown and Princeton. "One of our legs wasn't as strong as it usually is," Roy said. "But it was still our second-fastest time ever." Although Penn turned in good performances on the track, the jumpers and throwers also showed their talent by placing in several events. Lindsay Anderson jumped 5'3.25" to tie for ninth in the Eastern division of the high jump, and Luanna Botelho put the shot 43'.5" to take fourth in the Eastern competition. Freshman Amy Mitchell also improved in her event, as she hurled the discus 145'7" to set a school record. This mark outdistances Botelho's record of 143'9" set last season. "It was satisfying in one sense because it was an accomplishment," Mitchell said. "But I still have more work to do. I can't settle for this." Mitchell, competing at her first Penn Relays, said she was also excited by the Relays atmosphere. Highlighting the Relays was the 4x200 team from Texas, who set a new national collegiate record of 1:31.23. This time outpaced the favorites and former recordholders from LSU, who finished second, also in a time below the old mark. "Being the favorite doesn't mean anything," Texas anchor runner Nanceen Perry said. "We'll always come ready." Another thrilling moment came in the distance medley in which Wisconsin edged out perennial distance power Villanova, winning by less than one second. "I wanted it so bad I could taste it," Wisconsin anchor Sara Fredrickson said. "I used all that I had to finish." This past weekend, everyone wanted to win like Fredrickson did. From Penn freshman Mitchell breaking a school record to the Texas women breaking a national record, the Penn Relays brought out the best in all athletes.
A loss to Princeton this weekend could eliminate the Penn baseball team from recapturing an Ivy crown. It has been the Achilles' heel for Penn baseball all year. If a team has poor pitching, it is not likely to win. Despite possessing one of the most potent offenses in the Ivy League and breaking the club's season home run record with six games remaining, the Quakers' (12-18-1, 8-8 Ivy League) chance at an Ivy League title has diminished significantly. The main reason for Penn's predicament seems to be the inability of their hurlers to get batters out. As the Red and Blue travels to Princeton for four games this weekend, only a variety of strange occurrences could earn them the Gehrig Division crown. There is bad blood between the two teams, as the Tigers swept Penn four straight on the final weekend for the Ivy title in 1996 and beat the Quakers in a tiebreaker game last season. "We definitely have a vendetta against that team," Penn centerfielder Drew Corradini said. We still have some bad memories from two years ago when we pretty much had the league title in our hands and they swept us." In order to take the division, Penn must either sweep the Tigers (16-9, 8-4) or take three of four from the division leader -- with a series of other events out of the Quakers' control also occurring. If the Quakers win all four from Princeton, the Tigers must then lose at least one more, to second-place Cornell, and the Big Red must drop four of its final eight. If Penn beats Princeton three out of four, Princeton must drop three games to Cornell, and Cornell, which split four games with Penn last weekend, must lose its four games to Gehrig cellar-dweller Columbia, plus one to the Tigers. Whichever way one looks at this scenario, the Quakers' playoff chances are slim. But Penn is not mathematically out of the picture. "It always comes down to this weekend, and hopefully, the third time is the charm," Penn senior designated hitter Mark Nagata said. "Two years ago, Princeton swept us. Now, it's our turn." Last season, the Quakers and Tigers finished tied atop the division at 10-10. Princeton defeated Penn in a one-game playoff. This season, however, a 10-10 record will not be enough to make the playoffs. "Cornell and Princeton still have to play each other four times, so with a reasonably good weekend, we're still in it," Penn coach Bob Seddon said. "With us having split with Cornell, Cornell is in the hunt, and when you have three teams in it, it makes it a little tougher to win." It also makes it a little tougher to win when your pitching staff's combined Earned Run Average is above seven. The Quakers staff's ERA was not helped by its most recent outing, a loss to Army in which Penn pitchers allowed 16 runs. In New Jersey, Penn will be facing a Tigers staff that has much better numbers from the mound. "Their ERA is around 4.0, ours is in the middle sevens. We've walked 160 kids, and they've walked maybe 80," Seddon said. "Everything that we've done, they're half that." Despite Penn's pitching difficulties, the staff is not expected to have a weekend reminiscent of the Army game, as the Quakers' top two pitchers -- neither of whom pitched against the Cadets -- are expected to start in two of the games. Staff ace and team captain Armen Simonian will start the first game Saturday, while Sean McDonald, who threw a no-hitter against Cornell last weekend, is likely to start the first game Sunday. Seddon, however, is still concerned about McDonald's health. Strep throat prevented McDonald from making the trip to West Point Wednesday and he still has not worked out since. Seddon is undecided about the starters for the second games each day. "We gave all our top guns the rest they needed," Penn centerfielder Drew Corradini said. "Hopefully they will be back this weekend and the younger guys are going to step it up." Whoever takes the mound for the Quakers this weekend will not have an easy task. Although the Tigers are not as productive as the Quakers from the plate, they do have several batsmen who can cause trouble. Leading the way for Princeton is centerfielder Mike Hazen. Hazen, who was named to last week's Ivy League Honor Roll after hitting .571 with nine RBI in five games, is currently hitting at a .404 clip. The Quakers' pitchers must also pitch carefully to shortstop Justin Griffin (.376, 32 hits) and first baseman Matt Evans (.356, 36 hits) if they are to be successful. Although pitching has been Penn's main concern, the Quakers' potent offense must also learn to step up at the right times, according to Seddon. "We have to get more timely hitting. We need a home run with a guy on, we need a two-out single," Seddon said. "We would have won all four games last weekend if we had just gotten a hit." In order to get those timely hits, the Quakers will most likely have to get them off Princeton's top pitchers. Although he does not know who will be starting each game, Seddon does know which pitchers to expect from the Tigers.
It is the largest track and field competition in the world. This week, almost every top track athlete from high school through Olympic development level will travel to Philadelphia for the Penn Relay Carnival. This lineup includes all the best from the world of women's collegiate track and field, including Florida State, Louisiana State, Texas, Tennessee and Miami. While the Penn Relays offer top-level competition for these and every other team competing, the Carnival represents more than this to the Penn women's track team. "When you wear Penn and you're at the Penn Relays, it takes on a whole new meaning," Penn assistant coach Tony Tenisci said. Penn, despite carrying the job of representing the host institution, is also aware of the competition the Relays offer and knows it must turn in quality performances. "It is very exciting, because no matter where you go, you are not going to find better competition than the Penn Relays," Tenisci said. "Even at nationals, you don't have the same depth in some events." The Red and Blue will be keying in on several important events, especially the sprint relays. Tenisci expects good showings from the 4x100 meter, 4x200 meter and sprint medley relays. Sprinter Vicki Moore, who will be running in the 4x200 and sprint medley, also has high expectations for herself and her teammates. Moore believes the Quakers should definitely challenge and possibly break the school records in both relay events. "We've been training so hard, so we should come out and run very well," Moore said. Another relay team that has high expectations for itself is the 4x400 meter relay. The team of Jen Roy, Moore, Jessica Mitchell and Sonya Crosswell will run at 4:30 tomorrow afternoon. This particular foursome is coming off a weekend in which it set a school record of 3:43.7, defeating Ivy League rival Cornell in a dual meet. This race is especially important for the Penn women because the heat will consist entirely of teams who the Quakers will meet at the Heptagonal Championships. All eight Ivy teams, as well as Navy, will run in this heat. The Heptagonal heat is one of 13 4x400 heats, and if Penn qualifies, it will run in the championship heat Saturday. Moore believes the Quakers' toughest competition should come from Harvard and Brown, the winner of last year's race. Last year, the Bears ran 3:42.72, approximately one second below the school record Penn set last week. "I think we have a good shot to win the event," Moore said. "We should run faster because we'll have more than one team pushing us, unlike last week." The sprint relays, however, are not the only areas in which the Quakers expect to perform well. Tenisci believes several athletes can make the finals in the jumping and throwing events. One athlete who should perform well is thrower Luana Botelho, who will throw the shot and the discus at the Relays. Botelho, a junior, won the shot put against Cornell with a throw of 13.40 meters. "Shot should be a good event for us," Botelho said. "Discus has been up and down, so we're just looking to go out, to have fun and do well." With the Heptagonal and ECAC championships only a few weeks away, the Penn Relays are the last chance for the Quakers to get in good performances against the competition. With Penn hosting the 104th running of the Penn Relay Carnival, the Red and Blue find the best competition in the nation right at their doorstep.
Two weekends ago, the Penn men's track team lost a dual meet to Princeton. Saturday, at Franklin Field, the Quakers were not about to lose to another Ivy foe in a meet with Cornell. A 114-49 thrashing of the Big Red proved this point. The final score was not much of a surprise because Cornell, the sixth-place finisher at the Indoor Heptagonal Championships, was not as highly touted as the Penn team. The competitive edge of the Cornell squad was never in doubt, however, as the Big Red consider the Quakers their biggest rival. "They were pretty psyched," Penn coach Charlie Powell said. "They came after us, but we're a pretty strong team right now." Despite their fired-up state, the Big Red could not do much to stop the Quakers' talent. Penn finished first in most events and had several athletes make the all-time top 10 at Penn. Indoor NCAA qualifier Robin Martin led the way for Penn as he smoked the field in the 400 meter, running away with first place in 47.1 seconds. The time places Martin sixth on the all-time list. While Martin showcased his speed in the 400, senior captain Kael Coleman did the same in the 200 meter. Coleman took first with a time of 21.4 seconds. "I'm happy with my performance because I've run pretty poorly outdoors," Coleman said. Coleman is peaking at just the right time of year. This weekend, Franklin Field will play host to the Penn Relays, the world's largest relay meet. Also, the Quakers will enter the championship portion of the season in just a few weeks. The dual meet with Cornell was the first step in the preparation. "I think everyone was hungry to get a good meet in before Penn Relays and Heps," Coleman said. Most of the Penn team did get a good meet in by achieving personal bests in their events. Senior captain Lucas Deines earned himself a fifth-place spot on the all-time Penn list with a 191'3" mark in the hammer throw. Lucas was not the only Deines to make an all-time list. His brother, sophomore Josh Deines, threw the discus 165'3" for a personal record and eighth all-time. The jumpers also turned in impressive marks at the second and final dual meet of the year. Dan Nord leaped 24'4 1/2" to take first in the long jump, and Stan Anderson hopped, skipped and jumped to first in the triple jump with 49'3/4". Anderson also improved two inches from 6'7" to 6'9" and took first place in the high jump. "Personally, I knew that I needed to shape up because these are all big meets from now on and there is no room to mess around," Anderson said. With the big meets rapidly approaching, the Quakers used the Cornell meet to work on their mental approach for the big meets. The 4x100 meter relay was able to get the baton all the way around the track flawlessly and ran 41.2 seconds, currently the fastest time in the Ivy League. While the Cornell meet did not offer the best competition, the Red and Blue did use it to prepare for bigger meets. If their performance Saturday is any indication of how they will perform, the Quakers should excel in the postseason. "We're getting there," Powell said. "We're getting there fast and furious."
The Penn men's lacrosse team faces the No. 7 Orangemen at home. Traditional excellence is a term that can be used to describe very few athletic programs. Even the best usually have their down years. For the Syracuse men's lacrosse program, however, there seems to be no other appropriate description. Syracuse (6-2) is the winner of six NCAA championships and was the breeding ground for NFL great Jim Brown, who is generally regarded as the greatest lacrosse player of all time. The Orangemen have appeared in the last 15 NCAA Final Fours, and tomorrow night at 7 p.m., they bring their tradition of excellence to Franklin Field to face the Quakers. Penn (4-6), however, is not phased by Syracuse's stellar reputation. "Everyone outside the lacrosse world thinks Syracuse is an unbeatable power," senior tri-captain Joe Mauro, who has scored 20 goals this season, said. "But this University of Pennsylvania team has never played that Syracuse team. Regardless of what happened in the past, there will be no intimidation on the field." Penn is coming off an impressive 14-4 drubbing of Villanova Wednesday night. The win was desperately needed as the Red and Blue have dropped several winnable games by close scores this season. Penn's play against the Wildcats showed improvement in several areas. The Quakers were able to control the flow of the game and scored several fast break goals after stopping the 'Cats on defense. "It was nice to see the players have some fun and put in a strong effort," Penn coach Marc Van Arsdale said of the Villanova win. "We were not competing against the best team, but they aren't bad either." Unlike Wednesday night, the Quakers will be competing against one of the best tomorrow. Led by coach Roy Simmons, who was inducted into the Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1992, the Orangemen are currently ranked No. 7 in the country. History does not bode well for the Quakers in this matchup. Since their first meeting in 1918, these two teams have faced each other 22 times. Penn has finished on the losing side after 20 of those games and has not beaten the Orange since 1919. In last year's contest, Syracuse rolled off 10 second-half goals to beat Quakers 19-10 at the Carrier Dome. "Last year's game will not have a large impact on where we're coming from," Van Arsdale said. "We'll let history be history." In order to prevent history from repeating itself, the Quakers must be sharp on several aspects of their game. "We can't let Syracuse have a big transition game," Mauro said. "We don't want to get our middies into a track meet with them. We are also putting in a specific defense to go against them and shut them down." One player the Quakers' defense must particularly try to stop is Casey Powell, one of only two collegiate athletes on the 1998 U.S. National Team. The Syracuse attackman and last year's Division I Player of the Year currently leads the nation with 6.5 points per game. He also leads the NCAA in goals and is eighth in assists. "Casey Powell is the Michael Jordan of lacrosse right now," Van Arsdale said. "Personally, I think he is the best player in the world." The Quakers recognize the threat Powell poses and know that they must have long possessions in order to keep the ball out of his hands. Mauro believes it is important for Penn to keep the ball for at least 45 seconds to a minute on each possession. Keeping the ball away from Powell, though, is not the only thing the Quakers must do to win. "We can't give him too much attention, because they have other guys who can beat you," goalie Matt Schroeder said. With the improved play shown in the Villanova game and the energy the crowd will bring to Franklin Field during Spring Fling weekend, Penn should compete with Syracuse. For a team as traditionally excellent as the Orange, though, competing with them is not as easy as it sounds.
"We definitely have to win Heps and not just win, but we have to destroy Princeton and get them back for what happened indoors and on the basketball court and everything." This hope, expressed by junior Dan Nord before the start of the outdoor track and field season, can start to become reality tomorrow as the Penn men's track team heads to Princeton for a dual meet against the 1998 Heptagonal indoor champion Tigers. Although the Quakers look to the outdoor Heps championship as the most important time to defeat Princeton, tomorrow's dual meet will pit the two most dominating teams in the Ivy League against each other. "Between our team and Princeton, we have been the premier teams in the league for the past 10 or 12 years," Penn coach Charlie Powell said. "So there is a lot of pride on the line." As last year's indoor Heps champion, the Quakers had a lot of pride going into this season's Heps meet. Penn was unable to repeat, however, as Princeton finished in first place with 138 points at the meet held in its own Jadwin Gymnasium. The Quakers were second with 115 points. "At Heps, there were a lot of other teams who took points away from us and helped Princeton," Penn freshman middle distance runner Andy Girardin said. The following week, the Quakers showed that they were second to none in the Ivy League when they placed fourth among 51 teams at the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America championship. Princeton finished ninth, 21 points behind the Red and Blue. Throughout the beginning of this outdoor season, the Quakers have continued to face difficult competition. Two weeks ago, they traveled to North Carolina for the Raleigh Relays, a meet featuring top collegiate teams as well as several professional track athletes. Last week, a few members of the Penn team competed in the Texas Relays, another top-level national meet. Not only did the Quakers compete with these highly-ranked athletes, but they also performed well. Penn decathlete Eric Hyde and hammer throwers Lucas Deines and Matt Pagliasotti all placed in the top 10 at the Texas Relays, and the 1600 meter sprint medley team of Mike Wise, Kael Coleman, Mike Stiffler and Robin Martin finished second with a time of 3:21.16 among stiff competition. Also, several other Penn athletes finished in the top 20 in their respective events. While the top Penn athletes have been facing national level competition, all Quakers have been given the chance to compete. Penn hosted the Quaker Invitational the first week of the season and the Penn Invitational last week in which all team members competed. Unlike the Red and Blue, Princeton has only competed in two meets during the outdoor season and has not attended any large national meets. The Tigers participated in the Rutgers Invitational on March 28 and hosted the Sam Howell Memorial Invitational last week. As the defending outdoor Heps champion, Penn must wait another month to defend its league championship. But the results of tomorrow's dual meet should indicate how easy that task will be to accomplish. After running, jumping and throwing against the best in the country, Penn is confident heading into a dual meet against its top rival. "Personally, I think we're going to go in there and blow them away," Girardin said.
The Penn men's track and field team participated in two very different meets this past weekend. While several top athletes traveled to the University of Texas for the Texas Relays, the remainder of the Quakers, including many freshmen and sophomores, remained on campus for the Penn Invitational. The Texas Relays, which ran from Thursday through Saturday, offered competition on a level few other meets offer. The Quakers showed they can definitely compete on this level by turning in several top-10 finishes. Eric Hyde finished sixth in the decathlon, while hammer throwers Lucas Deines and Matt Pagliasotti finished eighth and ninth, respectively, with throws of 186'7" and 182' 5". The most impressive Penn performance, however, was by the 1600 meter sprint medley relay team of Mike Wise, Kael Coleman, Mike Stiffler and Robin Martin. The foursome finished at 3:21.16, second only to Texas Christian's 3:18.87. "We're content with second place," Stiffler said. "Although our goal was to finish first, we ran well and we're happy with that. "The competition was superb. There were a lot of great teams who usually finish high at nationals." Although Stiffler believes he went out too fast in the beginning of his 400 meter leg and did not run as well in the finals as in the preliminaries, the second place finish is still impressive considering the level of competition at this meet. "The fact that we had top-10 finishers in the hammer and the decathlon and that we took second in the sprint medley says a lot," Penn coach Charlie Powell said. "All the great sprint teams go down there." While these Quakers were competing with the best in the nation, their teammates remained at Franklin Field to face several lower-profile teams. The Penn Invitational, like the Quaker Invitational two weeks earlier, featured local teams like La Salle, Temple and West Chester. In addition to these teams, Ivy rival Cornell made its first appearance in Philadelphia this season. The meet did not get off to a great start Saturday as the rainy and cold weather caused problems. The Penn 4x100 meter relay was disqualified for dropping the baton, and performances in several early events were not at the normal levels. In fact, the winning height in the high jump by Cornell's Pete Ippel was only 6'3" as jumpers struggled on the slippery runway. As the meet progressed, however, many Penn athletes turned in good performances. Javelin thrower Charlie O'Connell and hammer thrower Kyle Turley both reached IC4A qualifying marks, and John Church finished first in the pole vault. Even while competing without several top athletes, the younger Quakers performed well against the top athletes from other schools. Although the meet was not officially scored, the Quakers had high finishers in almost every event. "I think the younger [Penn] team can hold its own against any other team in the Ivies," Andy Girardin, who ran the in the 800 meter run and 4x800 meter relay, said.
Cornell's quick start was too much for the Penn men's lacrosse team. Recently, the Penn men's lacrosse team has been relying on late surges to pull out games. Once again, it didn't work Saturday against Cornell, as the Big Red defeated the Quakers 14-10 at Franklin Field despite five Penn fourth-quarter goals. Penn (2-5, 0-2 Ivy League) found itself in a situation similar to last week's loss to Harvard in which five late-game Penn goals could not prevent a 16-13 Crimson win. "It's becoming a broken record," Penn coach Marc Van Arsdale said. "We wait until it's too late until we put the pressure on." Entering this game, the Big Red (3-3, 2-0) knew they would have to be in top shape to beat Penn. Cornell's other two wins came against Colgate and Yale -- two relatively weak teams, and the Big Red were not considered as strong a team as Penn. "We knew if we came down here and played well, we would have a chance to win," first-year Cornell coach Dave Pietramala said. "Our offense really stepped up, and we are very fortunate to win." Although he acknowledged Cornell's tough defense, Van Arsdale also felt his players did not play as well as they should have. "[Cornell] is a team that is not very different from us," Van Arsdale said. "With the home field and the great weather, it was a good chance to pick up a win. We just didn't play well enough." The Big Red offense didn't perform up to capabilities at first, as Penn held a 2-1 lead after the first quarter. Cornell started to move away from the Quakers in the second quarter. While the Big Red rolled off four goals in the period, a John Ward goal with 3:07 left in the quarter was the Quakers' only score. Penn's offensive troubles continued in the third quarter. The Quakers only penetrated the Cornell defense for two goals in the period. Cornell, on the other hand, got the ball past Penn goalie Matt Schroeder five times. One match-up, which held special importance for the involved players, was between Penn freshman attackman Todd Minerley and his brother, Cornell senior defenseman Glenn Minerley. "I've competed against my brother for years," Penn's Minerley said. "This was the first and last time I would compete against him in college, so it was a special moment for me." Despite admitting that competing against his brother gave him an extra boost to win, Minerley, who led the Quakers with 13 goals coming into the game, could not use that boost to lift his play, as the younger Minerley finished without a goal. "Cornell's defense shut off our attack pretty well," Minerley said. "They didn't allow us to do what we usually can do." The Cornell defense was strong for most of the afternoon, allowing only five Penn goals through three periods. The floodgates opened in the fourth period, however, as Penn doubled its point total from the previous 45 minutes in the final 15. "Our defense was effective until the fourth quarter," Pietramala said. "The end was very disappointing. We were playing not to lose instead of to win, and Penn took advantage of that." Penn certainly did take advantage of Cornell's weakened defensive performance. Senior captain Joe Mauro scored twice in the period, which earned him a hat trick for the game. Midfielder Jeff Zuckerman also added two goals, and middie Billy Reidy chipped in another. Unfortunately for the Quakers, their efforts were not enough to pull out a victory. Cornell also rattled off four goals in the final period to walk away with the win. With their season halfway finished and with no wins in Ivy League competition, the Quakers find themselves in an undesirable position. The rest of the Ivy schedule still lies ahead, and it features several teams that the Quakers will need to step up play to defeat. Penn's non-league schedule also includes a meeting with Syracuse, currently the top-ranked team in the nation. "We haven't proven anything to anyone, and the rest of the schedule is just as tough," Minerley said. Preparing for the rest of the year, Penn must improve several aspects of its game. As Saturday's loss to Cornell proved, the Quakers can no longer rely on late-game charges. If they are to win, they need to start their charge at the opening faceoff.
Raleigh Relays, held at North Carolina State, will get the Penn men's track team out of the cold. The indoor season ended a few weeks ago for the Penn men's track and field team, but last Sunday the Quakers probably wished their season lasted a bit longer. Penn, along with the nine other teams competing, found the weather outside to be a difficult adversary, as temperatures in windy Franklin Field hovered around the freezing mark during the Quaker Invitational. This weekend, Penn coach Charlie Powell's team hopes to find more favorable conditions as it travels south to Raleigh, N.C., for the Raleigh Relays, which will take place tomorrow and Saturday. "It will be warm and feature much better competition," junior Dan Nord said. "It will be the exact opposite of last week's meet." Nord, who competes in the hurdles and the jumps, feels the weather hurt his performance Sunday. "It was freezing out there," Nord said. "It was like trying to jump in the Arctic. I couldn't wait for the meet to end." He does, however, look forward to this weekend's meet at North Carolina State as a chance to turn in better performances. "This meet serves as a little spring break for us track athletes," Nord said. "I'm a California guy, so I definitely shine when the sun shines." While Nord and other Quakers may be shining, so will many other athletes at this meet. Unlike the Quaker Invitational, which featured mainly small schools from the area, the Raleigh Relays will host many of the top collegiate track teams in the East, as well as several professional track stars. Last year, Nord raced in a heat of the 110 meter high hurdles immediately after the one that featured 1996 Olympic gold medalist and record holder Allen Johnson. The Relays require competitors to meet specific qualifying times to ensure a high level of competition. As a result, not as many Quakers will be permitted to participate. For example, freshman Andy Girardin, who finished first in the 800 meter at the Quaker Invitational, is not sure whether his time of 1:55.75 will be enough to qualify him for the open 800 meter run. Girardin, despite winning the race, was not satisfied with his time and felt he should have run faster. "I just went out too fast, and I don't think the weather had anything to do with it," Girardin said. "I had a lot left when I crossed the line." Even if Girardin's time does not qualify him for the open 800, he will probably run a leg on the Quakers' 4x800 meter relay. The 4x800 was a top event for Penn during the indoor season, as the team ran one of the fastest times in the nation. After taking last weekend off, Robin Martin, the IC4A indoor 800 champion, will also run as part of that team.
Coming off its highest placing performance ever under Charlie Powell at the indoor Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America Championships (IC4As), the Penn men's track and field team is ready for the real season to begin. "Track and field is an outdoor sport," Powell said. "The spring season is what it's all about." After finishing fourth at IC4As and second at the Heptagonal Championships in the indoor season, the Quakers begin the outdoor season at 10:00 a.m. Sunday at Franklin Field with the Quaker Invitational. The Quaker Invitational is not a big meet, and the Quakers are not worried about the competition. Penn will host several schools, including La Salle, St. Joe's, Rider and Fordham, who are not as strong as the Quakers. Many Penn athletes are looking at this meet as an opportunity to improve without the pressure of top competition. "You won't have to set some ridiculous mark to win the thing," junior Dan Nord said. "It's basically just practice except it's against other teams." Nord, who finished second in the long jump at the indoor IC4As, will compete in the long jump and the 110 meter high hurdles this weekend. He will not triple jump in order to rest his knees for later meets. Resting and improving for later meets is part of Powell's game plan as he wants his athletes to be ready for the outdoor Heps, a meet the Quakers won by 63 points in 1997, and IC4As at the end of the season. "We are going to take it fairly easy in the beginning of the season," Powell said. "A few guys are going to lay low until the bigger meets." "We definitely have to win Heps and not just win, but we have to destroy Princeton and get them back for what happened indoors," Nord said. Sprinter Shawn Fernandes looks at the outdoor championship as Penn's to lose and not as something that needs to be regained from the Tigers. "We are still the outdoor champions," Fernandes said. "We are the ones who will be going out to defend our title." Fernandes, who will run the 100 and 200 meter dashes as well as the 4x100 meter relay this weekend, has also set personal goals for this season of breaking the Penn record of 10.36 seconds in the 100 and putting together a team that can break the 4x100 record of 39.79 seconds. Fernandes will look to the Quaker Invitational as a starting place for his quest to achieve these goals. While the Quaker Invitational may not be as important as later meets, it is a starting point. Penn will use that starting point as a chance to prepare to defend their Heps title and to put together top individual performances this season.