PHILADELPHIA – Saturday and Sunday mark the culmination of week's of prepartion for
the University of Pennsylvania women’s track and field team as they head to the 2013
Heptagonal Indoor Championships at Harvard's Gordon Track in Cambridge, Mass., Feb. 23-24.
The Ivy League championship meet will kick off Saturday at 11 a.m. with the women's pole vault and weight throw finals and will conclude at 8 p.m with the final two events of the pentathlon. On Sunday, the first event is the men's high jump at 10:30 a.m. and concludes with the 4x400-meter relay finals at 4:15 p.m.
At Heptagonals, only the top-six finishers score in each event. Entering the weekend, Penn has nine markings in the top-six of the Ivy League.
Penn will have a lot of scoring opportunities in the sprints behind sophomore Lydia Ali, senior captain Nony Onyeador and junior Gabrielle Piper. Ali and Onyeador are favorites to reach the podium in the 60 meters after each posted the league's fourth-best time of 7.69. Ali did so at Penn State on Feb. 2 and Onyeador did it at the Armory on Jan. 12. Piper will look to defend her Heptagonal title in the 60-meter hurdles as she enters the weekend ranked fourth among Ivy runners with a season-best time of 8.72.
In the field, freshman Theresa Picciallo is one of the league's top shot putters. She has the Ivies' fourth-best throw this year and holds the school record with a mark of 14.11 meters (46 feet, 3 1/2 inches). Meanwhile, Amira Privott-Yeiser ranks sixth in the pentathlon.
Penn also has a pair of pole vaulters hoping to join each other on the podium. Senior Davielle Brown ranks fourth among Ivy Leaguers with her clearance of 3.80 meters (12-05-50 ft.) on more than one occasion. Senior Jillian Hart's career-best effort of 3.70 meters (12-01.50 ft) is sixth in the league entering the weekend.
The Quakers also have a great chance to add some extra points in a pair of relays. Penn ranks sixth in the 4x800-meter relay and fifth in the distance medley relay.
Last year, Piper won her first career Heps title as she broke her school record in the 60-meter hurdles for the second straight day. In addition, then-senior Catherine Okoukoni was the runner-up in the triple jump as the Quakers finished seventh as a team at the 2012 Heptagonal Indoor Championships inside Cornell's Barton Hall.
A full recap of the 2013 Heptagonal Indoor Championships will be available at PennAthletics.com shortly after the completion of each day's events.