BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Sophomore Tom Pitt earned a victory in the heptathlon and sophomore Chad Payne won the 60 and 200 meters as part of six victories for the University of Pennsylvania men's track and field team on Saturday at Lehigh's Fast Time Before Finals meet inside Rauch Fieldhouse.
Penn won the meet with 39.5 points. The Quakers topped six other schools at the season opener, including host Lehigh, which finished as the runner up with 25.5 points.
Payne opened with a win in the 60 meters. He was tops in the prelims with a time of 7.12 and then bested that effort to top the field in the final with a career-best time of 7.05. In the 200 meters, Payne was the only runner to break 23 seconds in the field of 31. He stopped the clock at 22.73 and was a half second ahead of the nearest competition.
Only four men have reached 5,000 points in the heptathlon in program history, but Pitt came close with 4,976 in his victory this weekend. He gained a healthy lead when he came within one centimeter of winning all four events on Friday night. He earned 802 points in the 60 meters (7.23), 803 in the high jump (2.00m/6-06.75 ft.) and 659 in shot put (12.86m/42-02.25 ft.) as the top finisher in each of those events. His leap of 6.80 meters (22-03.75 ft.) in the long jump garnered 767 points and was just a centimeter behind the top jump of the night. But it all came down to the 1,000 meters on Saturday afternoon. Pitt's lead was just 38 points heading into the final event, but he left no doubt by winning the race (2:50.16) and the heptathlon.
Another sophomore Ben Bowers posted the first win of the season for the Quakers. He had the top time in the prelims of the 60-meter hurdles at 8.38 and then finished with a career-best 8.30 in the finals to win the event handily.
Penn also finished 1-2 in the 1,000 meters. Junior Mato Bekelja took home the crown with a time of 2:31.77 as he beat out freshman teammate Clark Mangini by two seconds.
Even more impressive, the Quakers claimed the top four spots in the shot put. Senior Jake Brenza won the event when his best toss landed at 16.19 meters (53-01.50 ft.). That was just a few inches better than the toss from junior Marcus LaRoche who hit 16.09 meters (52-08.25). In his first collegiate meet, Billy Bishop was third at 15.72 meters (51-07.00 ft.) and Sam Mattis was fourth at 15.49 meters (50-10 ft.).
Mattis was third in the weight throw at 16.16 meters (53-00.25 ft.) and Penn was second in the 4x400-meter relay with a time of 3:27.04.
Following the holiday break, the Quakers are back at Rauch Fieldhouse for the Lehigh Challenge on Saturday, Jan. 18..