EUGENE, Ore. - Led by a national championship effort by junior Sam Mattis, three more members of the University of Pennsylvania track & field teams collected All-America honors on Friday at the NCAA Championships at Oregon's Hayward Field.
Mattis saved his best for last in the discus on Friday evening. On his sixth and final throw, Mattis went 62.48 meters (205 feet, 0 inches) which is a Penn school record and second all-time among the Ivy League schools. He became the Quakers' eighth NCAA champion all-time, and the first since both Sam Burley (800) and Brian Chaput (javelin) won titles in 2003.
Mattis is just the second Ivy discus thrower to win an NCAA title; the other was Victor Frank all the way back in 1949.
"It still doesn't feel real," said Mattis afterward. "I'm not sure if it'll ever sink in. I felt really great throughout the competition -- every throw felt closer and closer to what I've been working toward the whole season, and then I finally did it."
Mattis' victory came exactly one week after the passing of Penn's longtime and legendary track & field coach, Irv "Moon" Mondschein, at the age of 91. These days, Mattis plies his trade in the Irv "Moon" Mondschein Throwing Complex when he's on the Penn campus.
"Irv Mondschein was certainly smiling down on Sam and the University of Pennsylvania today," said Mattis' throwing coach and one of Mondschein's proteges, Tony Tenisci.
Mattis also earned first-team All-America accolades with his win, while sophomore Noah Kennedy-White (discus) and freshman Mike Monroe (high jump) were honorable mention honorees. Penn's other standout at the meet, junior Thomas Awad, did not finish in the 5,000.
Kennedy-White had a best throw of 53.86 meters (176-8) and finished 23rd overall to earn his All-America recognition behind Mattis. Mattis and Kennedy-White own the top two spots in Penn's record book in the discus, respectively, and both will return next season. This is the first NCAA appearance and All-America performance for Kennedy-White, while Mattis earned the distinction in the event last year.
Adding to Penn's list of All-Americans, Monroe cleared a height of 2.08 meters (6 feet, 9 inches) to earn honorable mention accolades. Combined with former standoutMaalik Reynolds, this is the fifth straight year Penn has had an All-American in the men's high jump. Monroe had an impressive rookie season that included an indoor Heps title, outdoor ECAC title, first-team indoor All-Ivy honors and the fifth-best jump in school history.
On Thursday, junior Kelsey Hay becamethe first woman in program history to earn two career outdoor All-America honors.
As a team, the Penn men finished 19th with 10 points from Mattis. It is the highest finish for the Quakers since Chaput and Burley propelled Penn to an 11th-place finish in 2003.
The season continues for several Quakers who are hopeful to compete at the USA Championships back in Eugene from June 25-28. The USA Junior Championships will take place concurrently with that meet where a trio of freshmen Quakers -- Ross Wilson, Kylene Cochrane and Candace Taylor -- are expected to represent the Red and Blue.