JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Seniors Kristen Judge and Victoria Strickland each narrowly missed advancing at the NCAA Championships. Instead, the pair wrapped up memorable careers as members of the University of Pennsylvania women's track and field team. Junior Jillian Hart also concluded her season at the NCAA East Preliminary Round in Jacksonville, Fla., on Friday.
Strickland advanced past the NCAA First Round in dramatic fashion when she earned the final quarterfinal qualifying spot on Thursday. In Friday's NCAA Quarterfinals, Strickland nearly pulled off a similar finish, but fell just short of the NCAA Semifinals in Des Moines, Iowa. The top three in each of the three heats automatically advance and Strickland finished fourth. Overall, the top 12 earn a berth to the semifinals and Strickland's time of 2:08.60 was 16th-best. She had entered the round as the No. 27 seed.
Strickland finished her career in the Red and Blue as one of Penn's most decorated athletes. The Chevy Chase, Md., native was a two-time NCAA quarterfinalist and three-time All-East recipient. A two-time All-Ivy honoree, Strickland finished her career with second-best outdoor 800-meter time in program history and the third-best indoor 800 at Penn. Strickland also ranks in the school's top 10 in the indoor 1,000 meters and the outdoor 400 meters. She is a member of seven relay teams that rank among Penn's top five all-time, including the school record-holding indoor 4x400 and indoor sprint medley teams.
Judge made her NCAA Championships debut in the high jump. She cleared each of the first two bars on her first attempt and then nearly broke her own school record. With the bar raised to 1.77 meters (5 feet, 9 3/4 inches) and only 29 of the 48 competitors remaining, the Tewksbury High School product just missed on her three attempts to set the new school standard. With the top 12 advancing to the NCAA Finals, Judge finished 23rd overall at 1.72 meters (5-07.75 ft.).
Judge finished her career at Penn as the school record holder in the outdoor high jump. She matched an 18-year-old school standard (1.75m/5-08.75 ft.) en route to winning the event at the Penn-Princeton dual on April 14. Judge, who also ranks sixth at Penn in the indoor high jump, scored at every Heptagonal meet of her career, including a third-place finish at the 2012 outdoor meet.
In the pole vault, the opening bar was set at 3.65 meters (11-11.75 ft.) which is much higher than the typical regular season meet. Hart was unable to clear that height on her three attempts, but she did cap an impressive junior season for the Red and Blue. The Neshanic Station, N.J., native became just the second woman in program history to clear 3.85 meters (12-07.50 ft.). She hit that height to win the event at the Penn-Princeton dual on April 14 at Franklin Field. Hart, who finished third at the 2012 ECAC Outdoor Championships, will also enter her senior season ranked third all-time at Penn in the indoor pole vault.