NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Add three more Heps champions for the University of Pennsylvania track and field teams. Sophomore Sam Mattis, sophomore Brendan Smith and senior Maalik Reynolds all won on Sunday to propel the men to an impressive fourth-place finish at the 2014 Outdoor Heptagonal Championships in New Haven on Sunday.
Overall, the men finished in fourth with 82 points. That was an impressive jump from a seventh-place finish at the same meet a year ago. The women were seventh overall with 46.5 points, two school records and another Heps champion. The women also garnered 30 of those points from freshmen and sophomores.
For the second straight year, Mattis won the Heps title with a meet-record toss in the men's discus. It came down to his final throw. Brown's Courtland Clavette led the meet with a toss of 58.68 meters -- which had eclipsed Mattis' Heps record from last year. But Penn's school record holder landed one just beyond that mark to reclaim the meet record and the Heptagonal championship at 58.72 meters (192 feet, 8 inches). Also in the event, Noah Kennedy-White earned four more points for Penn with a toss of 52.77 meters (173-01 ft.).
Reynolds won his fifth career Heps title and third outdoor championship in the men's high jump. It took the fourth-best jump in the nation to do it as Reynolds cleared 2.25 meters (7 feet, 4 1/2 inches). He was one of just two to clear the bar at 2.22 meters and then cleared on his first attempt to win the meet with one of the nation's top jumps.
Smith raced away from the competition to claim Penn's first Heps title in the men's steeplechase in 14 years. He finished in 8:54.50 to top a plethora of upperclassmen and win the event by nearly four full seconds. The last Quaker to win the event was Sean MacMillian in 2000.
The men's 4x100-meter relay set the tone from the start with a season best and scoring effort in the first race of the day. The combination of Mason Smith, Chad Payne, Harrison Scharf and Brandon Senior finished in 41.10 to place third overall and earn six points for the Quakers.
Moments later, the women's 4x100-meter relay broke the school record in the event. Gabrielle Piper, Heather Bong, Rachel Hlatky and Lydia Ali combined to set the school standard at 45.60. The foursome is the first in program history to break 46 seconds in the event and topped a four-year-old Penn record.
Hlatky and Ali were also a part of the women's 4x400-meter relay which duplicated that third-place finish at 3:43.98. In between those relays, Ali added points in the 100 meters and the 200 meters. A day after setting the school record in the 100 meters, she earned six points in the finals with a time of 11.81 -- which also would have set the school record if not for her 11.75 in the preliminaries. Ali then finished sixth in the 200 meters with a personal-best time of 24.57 -- fifth all-time at Penn.
Piper and sophomore Ben Bowers each scored in the hurdles for the Red and Blue. Piper was second in the 100-meter hurdles for the second straight year. A six-time All-Ivy recipient entering the meet, Piper finished in 13.71 which earned the senior the second-place finish. Just prior to that, Bowers placed third in the 110-meter hurdles at 14.31.
Ashley Montgomery scored for the Quakers with a sixth-place finish in the women's 1,500 meters with the fourth-fastest time in school history. She finished in a career-best of 4:24.71. That's the fastest time for any Penn woman since Anna Aagenes in 2010.
Freshman Noel Jancewicz added another 1.5 points for the women in the high jump. She was fifth with a clearance of 1.67 meters (5-05.75 ft.).
Senior Chelsea Delaney scored in her final Heptagonal meet. She was sixth in the 800 meters with a time of 2:11.56.
Also scoring for the men on Sunday were senior Jake Brenza came within an inch of a personal best in the shot put with a sixth-place finish of 17.23 meters (56-06.25 ft.), junior Tom Timmins, who finished fourth in the finals of the men's 400-meter hurdles at 52.28, and the 4x800-meter relay team of Kirk Webb, Mato Bekelja, Chris Hatler and Thomas Tallerico was third at 7:31.92. Bekelja also scored in the 800 meters with a sixth-place finish of 1:50.33 -- two-tenths off a personal record.
A pair of Heps titles, a meet record, a trio of school records and the fastest woman in school history highlighted the first day of competition. Sophomore Kelsey Hay started the day with a meet and school record toss in the women's javelin and sophomore Thomas Awad finished it with a win in the men's 10,000 meters. In between, Ali's school-record performance in the preliminaries of the women's 100 meters (11.75) earned her the crown as the fastest woman in school history.