JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It was quite a start for the University of Pennsylvania track and field teams at the NCAA East Preliminary Round on Thursday.In the first event of the meet,junior Kelsey Hay set an Ivy League record and advanced to the finals of the NCAA Championships.
On her first toss of the day in the women's javelin, Hay broke the Ivy record set last year by Harvard's Hannah Mayer by a little more than a foot. Two throws later, Hay broke her own record by more than two feet at 51.17 meters (167-10 ft.). That was the top toss of the meet through two flights and finished fourth overall -- easily among the top 12 to advance to the NCAA final. Hay will be making her second straight trip to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., June 10-13.
Also in the event, Lisa Sesink-Clee finished 46th with a toss of 38.09 meters (124-11 ft.). In addition to her first NCAA appearance, Sesink-Clee finished her second season ranked seventh all-time at Penn in the javelin and also scored in the event at the Outdoor Heptagonal Championships.
First on the track for the Quakers was senior Tom Timmins, who capped a very successful career in the 400-meter hurdles. The three-time NCAA qualifier finished seventh in his heat and 31st overall at 52.18. He leaves Pennranked sixth in school history in the indoor 400 meters (48.27), fourth in the indoor 500 meters (1:03.35) and fifth in the 400-meter hurdles (51.18).
Three Quakers competed in the 1,500 meters. On the women's side, junior Gabrielle Cuccia was 32nd with a time of 4:26.77 and sophomore Ashley Montgomery was 42nd at 4:30.20. The returning pair ended the season ranked second and third all-time at Penn in the event. Meanwhile, for the men, fellow underclassmen Chris Hatler was 30th with a time of 3:52.64. The sophomore will return next season ranked sixth in program history in the event.
Carey Celataand Brendan Shearn also capped impressive sophomore campaigns. Celata was 30th in the 800 meters with a personal-best time of 2:07.31 to improve her third-place standing in the school record book. She finished the year with an ECAC title in the 4x800-meter relay, a school record in the sprint medley relay and a spot in Penn's all-time top 10 in five other events. Shearn was 28th in the final event of the day with a time of 30:52.25 in the men's 10,000 meters.The two-time NCAA qualifier will enter his junior year ranked fourth all-time at Penn in the event.
In all, Penn has sent a program-record 16 athletes to the NCAA Championships which means the Quakers will be busy during the final two days of competition as well.
On Friday, freshmanMike Monroeand juniorTom Pittcompete in the men's high jump at 5 p.m., and juniorSam Mattisand sophomoreNoah Kennedy-Whitecompete in the men's discus at 4 p.m.Women's school record holderAmy Darlingtonwill start the steeplechase at 8:50 p.m., and Heps championNick Tuckbegins the men's steeplechase at 9:30 p.m.
In addition, Saturday features the national semifinals of the men's and women's 5,000 meters.Cleo Whitingstarts at 8:05 p.m., followed byTom Awadin the men's race at 8:45 p.m.
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 (Austin, Texas). Forty-eight qualify and compete in theNCAA first and quarterfinal rounds of each event, andthe top 12 finishers from the East and West advance to compete in the finals of the NCAA Championships at Oregon's famed Hayward Field.
A full recap of the remaining competition at the NCAA East Preliminary Round will be available at PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of each day's events.