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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Seniors Ryan Cunningham and Brian Fulton each finished accolade-filled careers for the University of Pennsylvania men's track and field team on Thursday during the NCAA East Preliminary Round at Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla.
In the NCAA First Round of the 1,500 meters, Cunningham ran with the front of the pack in his heat and pulled into the front heading into the bell lap. But the Iona Prep product had given all he had and eventually finished 12th in his heat and 48th overall with a time of 4:13.43. Cunningham capped his career at the NCAA Championships and finished as a two-time All-East honoree in a Red and Blue uniform. He leaves Penn with the sixth-fastest 1,500-meter mark in program history.
Later in the evening, Fulton ran in the NCAA First Round in the 800 meters. He placed seventh in his heat at 1:53.08 and 41st overall. The two-time NCAA qualifier graduates as a school record holder in the outdoor 4x800-meter relay. He was a member of the IC4A 4x800 championship team that set the school standard in 2011. Fulton and the Quakers also won the Heptagonal title in the event that year. A six-time All-East recipient and two-time All-Ivy honoree, Fulton also finishes his career in the top 10 at Penn in the indoor and outdoor 800 meters, and indoor 1,000 meters.
There are still two Quakers set to compete at the NCAA East Preliminary Round. Sophomores Jacob Brenza and Maalik Reynolds are set to begin in the shot put and high jump, respectively, on Saturday at 5 p.m.
In each event, the top 48 marks qualified for the NCAA Preliminary Rounds. The top 24-27 finishers in the first round will advance to the quarterfinals where the top 12 then advance to compete in the semifinals and finals of the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, June 7-9.
The NCAA Championship meet extends over two weekends in a three-week span at three different sites. The first weekend is now known as the NCAA Preliminary Round and is broken up into two different sites - East (Jacksonville, Fla.) and West (Austin, Texas), which host the NCAA first round and quarterfinal round in each event as well as some of the NCAA semifinals in the field events.