PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania track and field teams will send 16 qualifiers, matching a program record, to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships set to begin next week in Jacksonville, Fla. In total, the Quakers will compete in 11 events at the NCAA East Preliminary Round, May 26-28.
The Quakers have set or matched the school record for NCAA qualifiers in each of the four years under Director of Track & Field/Cross Country Steve Dolan. In his first season at the helm, Penn sent a program-high 11 individuals to the NCAA's, followed by 14 in 2014 and 16 in 2015. In addition, the seven women's qualifiers this year match a program-high since the current NCAA format began in 2010, and the nine men's qualifiers are second-most in program history.
On the women's side, the Quakers will be represented by senior Kelsey Hay who will be making her fourth-straight NCAA appearance – a Penn women’s record – in the javelin. She’ll be joined in the event by junior Lisa Sesink-Clee who will also be appearing in her second-straight NCAA meet. Sophomores Taylor McCorkle, Kylene Cochrane, and junior Clarissa Whiting make their first-ever NCAA appearances. McCorkle will compete in the 200 meter sprint while Cochrane and Whiting will run in the 5,000.
In addition, senior Amy Darlington and junior Ashley Montgomery return to regionals as seasoned veterans. Darlington is set to run in the steeplechase for the second-straight year while Montgomery returns to NCAA’s for a third time but in a new event – she’ll move up to the 5,000 in 2016 after two years of competing in the 1,500 at regionals.
Also representing the Red and Blue stripes for the fourth-straight season is senior Sam Mattis (men's discus). Mattis enters the meet as the top seed and reigning NCAA National Champion. He’s joined in the discipline by junior Noah Kennedy-White who will also be making a return trip to regionals.
Senior Thomas Awad, who earlier this week earned an U.S. Trials Qualifying mark in the 1,500 meters, qualified and will compete as the the fourth seed in the men's 5,000 meters. Junior Brendan Shearn makes his third-straight appearance in the 10,000 meters and senior Brendan Smith (steeplechase) returns for his third-straight appearance at the NCAA Championships.
Also for the men, junior Nick Tuck (steeplechase), junior Chris Hatler (1,500 meters) and sophomore Mike Monroe (high jump) have earned back-to-back berths to the NCAA Championships. They’ll lead the way for freshman Calvary Rogers (200 meters) who makes his first trip to Jacksonville amongst a seasoned squad of Quakers.
The NCAA Championship meet extends over two weekends in a three-week span at three different sites. The first weekend - known as the NCAA Preliminary Round - is broken up into two different sites - East (Jacksonville, Fla.) and West (Lawrence, Kan.), which host the NCAA first round and quarterfinal round in each event as well as some of the NCAA semifinals.
The top 48 marks in each event qualify for each of the NCAA Preliminary Rounds (East and West). In each event, the top 12 finishers from the East Preliminary and the top 12 from the West will advance to compete in the finals of the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., June 8-11.
The start lists for the NCAA East Preliminary Round will be released by the NCAA on Tuesday. The meet begins next Thursday at North Florida's Hodges Stadium.
Penn NCAA Qualifiers
Taylor McCorkle (200m)
Amy Darlington (Steeplechase)
Ashley Montgomery (5,000m)
Clarissa Whiting (5,000m)
Kylene Cochrane (5,000m)
Kelsey Hay (Javelin)
Lisa Sesink-Clee (Javelin)
Calvary Rogers (200m)
Chris Hatler (1,500m)
Brendan Smith (Steeplechase)
Nick Tuck (Steeplechase)
Thomas Awad (5,000m)
Brendan Shearn (10,000m)
Noah Kennedy-White (Discus)
Sam Mattis (Discus)
Mike Monroe (High Jump)