PHILADELPHIA - Heading into the final meet prior to the Penn Relays, the University of Pennsylvania track and field teams each jumped into the Top 10 of the regional rankings. The men are ranked seventh in the Mid-Atlantic Region and the women are ninth entering this weekend's Larry Ellis Invitational at Princeton.
More than 30 teams are ranked in each region and the Quakers launched into the top 10 after several impressive weeks. In fact, Penn has individuals ranked in the top 30 in the nation in five different events, which includes three among the top 10 in the country.
Sophomore Thomas Awad ranks among the top five in the nation in two events -- he is third in the 1,500 meters and fifth in the 5,000 meters. Senior Maalik Reynolds is just outside the top 10 with the 11th-best high jump in the country this year. Sophomore Sam Mattis is ranks eighth in the NCAA in the men's discus, while classmate Kelsey Hay is 27th in the women's javelin. All four are school-record holders.
Awad recorded the second-fastest time in Penn history in the 1,500 meters last week and broke a 36-year-old school record in the 5,000 meters in his previous outing. Last Saturday, he finished in 3:42.89 -- the fastest time for a member of the Red and Blue since 1974. Two weeks prior, his time of 13:48.90 topped a school standard that had stood since 1978.
Mattis also ranks in the top 10 in the NCAA with a school-record mark. On April 5, he became the first man in school history to eclipse 60 meters in the discus at 60.50 meters (198 feet, 6 inches). It eclipsed his old school record -- which he set just two weeks earlier at Franklin Field -- by two feet.
The best jump of the year for Reynolds came during the indoor season when he broke his own school record. His leap of 2.24 meters (7-04.25 ft.) was set in a win at Penn State. In the early outset of the outdoor season, his best mark is at 2.18 meters (7-02.25 ft.) in a win at the Raleigh Relays.
Hay ranks among the nation's best in the javelin after she set the school standard at the George Mason Spring Invitational on Saturday. Hay entered the meet ranked second all-time at Penn, but dethroned a 12-year-old record with a meet-winning toss of 48.78 meters (160 feet).
At the Larry Ellis Invitational last year, the Quakers edged Ivy rival Princeton in a photo finish in a thrilling men's 4x100-meter relay to start the day (42.00). Meanwhile, the women posted the fifth-fastest 4x100-meter relay in school history (46.56). Mattis won the discus at 54.02 meters (177 feet, 3 inches), Chelsea Delaney cracked into 10th all-time in the school record book with her time of 4:30.82 to place 13th in the 1,500 meters, and Kaci Jones, registered the third-best toss in school history in the women's javelin at 46.07 meters (151 feet, 2 inches).
A full recap will be available at PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of the meet.
In addition, tickets are on sale for the 120th edition of the Penn Relays -- the world's oldest and largest relay carnival -- where the track and field programs will also dedicate their new throwing complex to former coach and Hall of Famer Irv "Moon" Mondschein. Read about the dedication here and get your tickets for the meet here.