GREENSBORO, N.C. - It was undoubtedly the greatest season in the javelin in the history of the University of Pennsylvania women's track and field program. But the year came to an end on Saturday after three Quakers finished competition at the NCAA East Preliminary at North Carolina A&T's Irwin Belk Track.
Senior Morgan Wheeler and freshmen Kaci Jones and Kelsey Hay all competed in the javelin on the final day of competition at the NCAA meet. It was the final collegiate meet for Wheeler - a three-time NCAA qualifier in the event. She was Penn's top finisher and just missed qualifying for the NCAA final. All three Quakers were in the same flight. Wheeler's opening toss of 45.57 meters (149 feet, 6 inches) placed her second after the first throw. It remained her best toss and she finished seventh in the flight and 19th overall - just outside the top 12 that qualify.
Her freshmen teammates were not far behind. Hay's best throw was also her first. It landed at 43.72 meters (143-05 ft.). That was just two places behind Wheeler in the flight and placed her 27th overall. Also making her NCAA debut, Jones nearly matched that effort when she finished 29th overall. Her second toss was her best and measured 43.47 meters (142-07 ft.).
It was an incredible season for the trio. All three are among the top five all-time at Penn. Prior to this year, only two Quakers had ever passed 150 feet in the javelin. Wheeler, Hay and Jones have all eclipsed that mark within the last month.
On Friday, junior Gabrielle Piper competed in 100-meter hurdles for the Quakers and finished in 13.83 to place eighth in her heat. She entered the meet seeded 47th and finished 40th overall. Her time would have set the school record, but it was wind-aided.
Though the NCAA Championships conclude the collegiate season, several Quakers will compete in the USA Junior Outdoor Championships, June 19-22. PennAthletics.com will have all the updates on the Quakers throughout the summer.