NEW YORK, N.Y.- JuniorThomas Awadbroke a 42-year-old school record as he andthe rest of the University of Pennsylvania men’s and women’s track and field teams shined against the top competition the nation had to offer this weekend at the Armory Invitational.
Awad made quite the triumphant return to the indoor track on Saturday. In his first individual race of the winter season, he broke a program record that had stood since 1973. He nearly broke four minutes in the mile and topped several professionals en route to a third-place finish of 4:00.20 at the historic Armory Track. He was tops among the three collegians invited within a field of professionals. Current Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance, Denis Elton Cochran-Fikes held the school record with a hand-time finish of 4:02.0 more than four decades ago.
The high jump highlighted Friday’s portion of the meet for the men with a pair top-four finishes and the fifth-best high jump in school history. Pitt finished third in the event and launched into the top five of the school record book. Outside of former All-American teammateMaalik Reynolds, who holds the school record, Pitt’s jump was the best for a Penn man since Stan Anderson (2.15m) in 1997. Pitt was down to his final attempt at 2.08 meters and cleared the bar to match an indoor personal best. He then missed on his first two attempts at the next height, but came through once again on his final jump to become just the sixth man in program history to clear 2.12 meters (6 feet, 11 ½ inches) indoors. Not to be overshadowed, freshman Michael Monroe also cleared 2.08 meters (6-09.75 ft.) for a collegiate best and fourth-place finish.
Friday’s highlight for the women was freshmanCandace Taylorin the 500 meters and sophomoreCarey Celatain the 1,000 meters. Taylor finished with the third-best time in school history, while Celata now stands second in the Penn record book. Taylor stopped the clock at 1:12.72 and finished fourth at the meet among the 56 runners. It was the fastest finish for the Red and Blue since Jamie Massarelli in 2010.
Celata finished fifth with a time of 2:49.16 – a time that has only been bettered at Penn by school record holder Stacy Kim at 2:47.06 in 2008. In addition, sophomore Gabby Cuccia also jumped into Penn’s all-time top ten with an 11th-place finish of 2:53.28 – the seventh-best time in school history. FreshmanGina Almwas 12thin the event and missed out on the school’s all-time top 10 list by two-hundreths of a second at 2:55.16.
SophomoreCleo Whitingadded yet another impressive performance for the Penn women with the third-best 3,000 meters in school history. She posted a top 10 finish in a field of 67. Her time of 9:31.29 is the fastest since Emily Logan set the school standard 11 years ago.
In the men’s edition of the 500 meters, the Quakers posted two more times among the school’s all-time list. FreshmanJeff Wisemanmatched the third-best time in program history with a seventh-place finish of 1:03.47. That was just ahead of seniorTom Timmins, who moved up to fifth in the record books with an eight-place time of 1:03.71.
Sophomore Billy Bishop recorded one of the top throws in school history in the men’s shot put and finished seventh in a strong field of 33. His third toss of the day landed at 16.21 meters (53 feet, 2 ¼ inches). That launched him into ninth-place all-time at Penn in the event. He joins teammatesSam Mattis(second) andMarcus LaRoche(fourth) among the school’s all-time top 10. LaRoche was ninth at the meet with a throw of 15.91 meters (52-02.50 ft.).
In the men’s 5,000 meters, sophomoreBrendan Shearnearned a top 10 finish. Shearn, who ranks seventh in school history in the event, crossed the finish line in 14:46.39 to finish 10thoverall.
In the women's mile,Ashley Montgomery(4:56.19) andAbby Hong(4:56.97) each broke the five-minute barrier.
Meanwhile, in the men's 4x800, the Quakers finished third with a time of 7:36.81, and in the women's 4x800, the Red and Blue were fourth with a time of 9:00.28.
FreshmanTaylor McCorklejust missed the finals of the women’s 60 meters with a time of 7.74. She finished 29thoverall in a field of 100 sprinters, while senior Lydia Ali was 40that 7.82. Also in a field of nearly 100, juniorRachel Hlatkywas 33rdwith a finish of 57.90.
Next week, the Quakers head to State College, Pa., to compete in Penn State’s Sykes Sabock Cup on Friday.