Four Champions Lead Track & Field at Heps

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PHILADELPHIA - Four more champions, two school records, the meet's Most Outstanding Performer, and two of the top team finishes in recent years highlighted the second day and capped the 2015 Outdoor Heptagonal Championships for Penn at historic Franklin Field on Sunday.

Behind those performances and the home crowd, the Penn men finished third with 89 points -- the program's best finish at this meet since 2009 and highest point total since 2006. In addition, the Quakers will return 78.25 of the 89 points next season.

The women were fifth overall with 72 points which was their best outdoor finish and point total since 2012. Last year, the Quakers scored just 46.5 points at this meet. This weekend, all but 2.5 points were scored by returning athletes and 49 of the 72 points (68%) were scored by freshmen and sophomores.

Junior Thomas Awad was named Most Outstanding Men's Performer of the Meet. With wins in the 1,500 meters and 5,000 meters, Awadbecame the second man in school history to win cross country, indoor and outdoor Heps titles in the same school year (Dave Merrick, 1975-76). It marked the fifth and sixth career Ivy championships for the Norwich, N.Y., product, and all have come in differentevents.

First, it was the 1,500 meters. Awad took the lead at the bell and then outlasted a field that was in an all-out sprint over the last 400 meters. His winning time was 3:53.69 and added to his 10,000-meter title in 2014, cross country championship in November, and 2015 indoor 3,000 and distance medley relay titles.

That list grew just a few hours later. On a hot, sunny day in Philadelphia, Awad received some pacing help from Brendan Shearnand stayed with the lead pack throughout. At the end, Awad found enough energy to out kick the pack and break the tape at 14:37.78.

Junior Sam Mattis became the first in Heps history to surpass 200 feet in the discus as he won the Heptagonal title with a meet record for the third consecutive year. He was second entering the finals, but each of his final three tosses eclipsed 60 meters, and his final throw landed at 61.75 meters (202 feet, 7 inches). After Cornell's Stephen Mozia was unable to match that on his final throw, Mattis became the first to win the event three straight times since 1984-86 and the first Penn athlete to do so since Ken Dietz (1969-71).

A little earlier in the afternoon, sophomore Nick Tuck earned his first career Heptagonal championship. He led wire-to-wire in the steeplechase and maintained a healthy lead throughout. He crossed the Franklin Field finish line at 8:46.63 - third-fastest in school history and best by any member of the Red and Blue since the school record was set in 2000. Penn has now won the event in back-to-back years (Brendan Smith) for the first time since Childs and Denis Fikes in 1972-73.

In the first track event of the day, junior Amy Darlington topped a 10-year-old school record in the women's steeplechase. She finished eighth in 10:28.16, which was a little more than a second faster than the previous school standard set by current track & Field Director of OperationsClaire Hewittten years ago.

A short while later, sophomore Noel Jancewicz, who was runner-up in two events, completed her school-record performance in the heptathlon with 5,208 points. That eclipsed the mark of 5,152 that was held by Shani Boston since 2007. She won the high jump on the first day and the javelin on Sunday en route to the record and a second-place finish.

That wasn't all for Jancewicz on Sunday. She also finished second in the high jump with the third-best leap in school history. She cleared the bar at 1.73 meters (5-08 ft.).

Senior Tom Timmins nearly added another champion for the Red and Blue. He led the 400-meter hurdles down the stretch, but was edged at the finish line by seven-hundreths of a second. He finished second in 51.18 which now ranks fifth all-time at Penn.

All six relay teams scored, led by a third-place finish from the women's 4x800. Gabrielle Cuccia, Candace Taylor, Ashley Montgomery and Carey Celata combined for the third-fastest time in school history at8:42.04.

Also scoring on the second day for the women was Cleo Whiting (5,000 meters), Celata (800 meters), Taylor McCorkle (100 meters), Serena Graf (discus), Jenny Thompson (triple jump), Taylor (400 meters), Montgomery (1,500 meters) and Cuccia (1,500 meters). For the men, Mattis and Billy Bishop scored in the shot put, and other Day 2 scorers included Jordan Palmer (triple jump), Noah Kennedy-White (discus), Jeff Wiseman (400 meters), Thomas Pitt (high jump).

On the first day of competition, juniorKelsey Haybecame the second Penn woman to win back-to-back Heps championships in the javelin and the first since Robyn Fortsch in 1986-87.FreshmenMolly Minnig(pole vault),Devinne Miller(long jump), sophomoreLisa Sesink-Clee(javelin), Graf(javelin) also scored for the women. Pitt(long jump), Semi Ibikunle (long jump), Shearn(10,000 meters) and Sam Kaplan (javelin) scored for the men.

Postseason track and field continues on Friday and Saturday as the Quakers head to the 2015 Outdoor IC4A/ECAC Championships in Princeton, N.J. That will mark the last chance for marks and times before the NCAA selections are made.

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