NEW HAVEN, Conn. - There was a lot of movement within the school record books for the University of Pennsylvania women's track and field team as they garnered a fifth-place team finish at the 2011 Outdoor Heptagonal Championships on Sunday at Yale's Cuyler Athletic Complex in New Haven, Conn.
Paige Madison handed to Kali Strother, who gave the baton to Leah Brown. Gabrielle Piper took the anchor leg and 46.63 seconds later, the foursome was the Heps runner-up in the 4x100-meter relay. The group improved upon their fifth-best time in school history and gained eight points in the early afternoon for the Red and Blue. Later, in the final event of the day, the 4x400-meter relay also finished as the Heps runner-up. Victoria Strickland, Madison, Strother and Brown raced to a finish of 3:43.48 to earn eight points for the Quakers.
Piper was also the individual runner-up in the 100-meter hurdles. In her first Outdoor Heps meet, she became just the third Quaker in program history to break 14 seconds in the event and the first since 2001. Her time of 13.98 was just six-tenths of a second off the winning mark and added eight more points to Penn's team score.
A short while later, Strother, in her final Heps meet, posted another runner-up finish for the Quakers. Her eight points in the 400 meters came with one of the best performances in her career at 54.62.
Brown and Nony Onyeador totaled six points for Penn in the 200 meters. Onyeador is now eighth all-time at Penn in the event after her finish of 24.91 placed her fifth. Brown was fourth as she came in just a stride ahead at 24.91.
Brown scored in four events on the day, which included a third-place finish in the 100 meters. She did so with the best time of her career and improved upon the third-best time in program history with a finish of 12.03.
One day after posting the fifth-best time in school history in the 800 meters, Strickland improved upon that time in the finals. She finished third in the event, earning six points, with a time of 2:08.00.
In the first event on the track on Championship Sunday, sophomore Leslie Kovach nearly claimed the Heps title in the 5,000 meters. She was just three seconds off the pace when she finished in 16:48.91. Just about 18 hours after earning a pair of points in the 10,000 meters, she finished third with that effort in the 5,000 meters to gain six more points for Penn.
Madison, the only member of the Red and Blue to ever break the one-minute barrier in the 400-meter hurdles, nearly accomplished the feat again on Sunday. She finished in 1:00.12, which placed her third overall.
In the high jump, junior Kristen Judge tied a career best by surpassing 1.70 meters (5-07 ft.). It matched her fourth-place position in the school record book and she did so on her first attempt at that height. At 1.67 meters, she advanced by clearing the bar on her final jump to get into the scoring and earn four points for the Quakers.
Freshman Margaret Diacont also improved the Penn record book. She moved into third-place all-time at the school with an eighth-place finish of 11:02.13 in the steeplechase.
Penn finished with 84 points to place fifth as a team. Princeton won the Heps team title with 132 points and Cornell finished as the runner up with 113.
Up next, the Quakers that qualified for the postseason will head to the ECAC Championships in Princeton, N.J., May 13-15.