Freshmen Highlight Cup Meet for Track & Field

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Three all-time top 10 performances (two by freshmen) and an individual champion (also a freshman) highlighted the Sykes and Sabock Challenge Cup for the University of Pennsylvania track and field teams this weekend.

Among the 12 teams at Penn State's annual Challenge Cup, the women finished sixth with 46 points, while the men were also sixth with 42 points at the Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Track facility.

FreshmanCandace Taylor, who reached Penn's all-time top 10 in the 500 meters last week, duplicated that feat in impressive fashion in the 400 meters this week. She became just the second woman in school history to break 56 seconds in the event with a finish of 55.99. That placed her fourth at the meet and only behind Jesse Carlin in the school record book (55.39 in 2008).

Freshman Taylor Hojnacki jumped into the Penn record books in the women's shot put earlier this year. On Saturday, she moved up that list as she vaulted past several of the school's all-time best with the fifth-best toss in Penn history. Hojnacki's best throw landed at 13.70 meters (44-11.50 ft.) and placed her sixth at the meet.

Another freshman boasted Penn's lone individual victory asGina Almoutraced several Ivy counterparts to win the 800 meters. She earned her first collegiate victory with a time of 2:12.57.

Meanwhile, juniorSam Mattisonce again improved upon his personal best in the weight throw. This time he bettered his mark by nearly two feet. His best toss of the day measured 18.31 meters (60 feet, 1 inch) and placed him fourth at the meet. He is just the fifth Penn man to reach 60 feet in the event and first since 2000 (Matt Pagliosotti). He is now fifth all-time at Penn in the event.

Senior Conner Paez, junior Brendan Smith and freshman Ross Wilson each scored for the Red and Blue in the men's 3,000 meters with a sixth, seventh and eighth-place finish, respectively. Each finished about one second apart with Paez the first to hit the finish line at 8:24.31.

The women also shined in the 3,000 meters as sophomore Clarissa Whiting and freshman Abby Hong each reached the top eight to earn points for the Quakers. Whiting finished fourth with a time of 9:49.89, while Hong was eighth at 9:58.49.

Two men scored in the mile for the Quakers. Junior Clark Shurtleff was just a few tenths of a second from a personal best with his fifth-place finish of 4:08.67, while sophomore Chris Hatler recorded a collegiate-best time of 4:09.58 to place seventh. Meanwhile, two other men scored high jump. Junior Tom Pitt and freshman Mike Monroe each cleared the bar at 2.01 meters (6-07 ft.) to tie for third place.

In one of the meet's unique events, junior Drew Magaha was the runner-up in the men's 600 meters with a time of 1:19.99. On the women's side, sophomore Carey Celata was third in the event with a time of 1:34.06.

Freshman Taylor McCorkle was fourth in the women's 60 meters. She posted identical times of 7.66 in the preliminaries and finals. Fellow rookie Barbara Biney also reached the finals and scored in the event with an eighth-place finish of 7.72.

The Penn women also earned points in the long jump with an eighth-place finish from Jenny Thompson at 11.35 meters (37-03 ft.).

Also scoring for the men was seniorMarcus LaRoche, who was seventh in the shot put with a toss of 16.42 meters (53-10.50 ft.), and the 4x400-meter relay, which posted its best time of the season to date at 3:16.12 to finish fourth.

Next up, the Quakers head to West Long Branch, N.J., for the Monmouth Invitational on Saturday.

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Download: SS Final Results with scores.pdf