EUGENE, Ore. - Freshman Thomas Awad concluded a spectacular rookie campaign with an 18th-place finish for the University of Pennsylvania men's track and field team at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships inside historic Hayward Field.
Awad ran for the national title in the 5,000 meters against the top 24 runners in the nation on Saturday. After the first mile, the East Norwich, N.Y., native was in the middle of the pack and was running about 16th through the first half of the race - he completed the first 2,600 meters in 7:16. When the leaders began to pull away, Awad was pacing at about 70 seconds each lap and finished his final 400 meters in 65 seconds. In front of a final-day crowd of 11,482, Awad finished in 14:24.81.
With his 18th-place showing, Awad is set to earn honorable mention All-America honors when the USTFCCCA makes the official announcement early next week. Awad would become the first Penn men's runner to earn outdoor All-America since Courtney Jaworski earned the honor in the 800 meters in 2005.
On Friday, junior high jumper Maalik Reynolds finished sixth to earn his fourth career All-America accolade at Penn (three outdoor, one indoor). Against some of the top competition in the country and the world, Reynolds matched two Olympic medalists jump-for-jump for most of the afternoon and finished at 2.20 meters (7 feet, 2 1/2 inches) to earn three team points for the Quakers.
There were 79 schools that earned points at the meet. The Quakers finished tied for 58th. It was the third straight year the Red and Blue scored at the NCAA Championships - the program's longest stretch since 2001-05.
Awad and several Quakers are expected to continue the year and compete in the USA Junior Outdoor Championships, June 19-22. It has been an outstanding freshman campaign for Awad. In addition to his NCAA Finals appearance, he owns the third-fastest outdoor 5,000 meters in school history after he ran 14:04.24 at the NCAA East Preliminaries. He also ran the fifth-fastest indoor 3,000 meters (8:10.20) in program history and scored for the Quakers at both indoor and outdoor Heps.
PennAthletics.com will have all the updates on the Quakers throughout the summer.