PHILADELPHIA - Five freshmen - , Clark Shurtleff, Brendan Smith, Gabby Cuccia and - will represent the University of Pennsylvania track & field teams at the USA Junior Outdoor Championships this week in Des Moines, Iowa, June 19-23.
Cuccia will be the first member of the Red and Blue to compete on Drake University's unique blue track when she lines up for the first round of the 800 meters at 1:30 p.m. EST on Thursday. Shortly thereafter, Gensib is in the 3,000 meters at 2:10 p.m. Cuccia may then also run in the 1,500 meters at 2:10 p.m. on Friday.
On the men's side, Smith will also compete on Thursday in the steeplechase at 2:25 p.m. Awad, who is coming off an All-America performance in the 5,000 meters, continues his successful rookie season in the same event at 8:15 p.m. Shurtleff will have to wait until Friday for the first round of 1,500 meters at 2:30 p.m. Smith and Awad are also eligible to compete in the 10,000 meters at 10 p.m. on Friday.
The USA Junior Outdoor Championships serve as the selection meet for the 2013 Pan-American Junior Athletics Championships, August 23-25 in Medellin, Colombia. The top two finishers with a world standard in each event are invited to compete as members of Team USA. Entering the meet, all five Quakers rank in the top 10 of their event.
When this meet was last held, then-freshman high jumper Maalik Reynolds finished second in Eugene, Ore., and advanced to the Pan-Am Games in Florida in 2011. The Penn school record-holder then won the Pan-Am Junior Championship with a height of 2.22 meters (7 feet, 3 1/4 inches).
A full recap will be available at PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of the meet.