The University of Pennsylvania track and field teams will travel to Providence, R.I. for the 2004 Ivy League Heptagonal Championships this weekend. Both men's and women's teams have several athletes that could challenge for a conference championship and others who will look to qualify for the ECAC/IC4A Championships later this month.
As a team, the women Quakers will look to improve upon last year's eighth-place finish. "Our goal all year has been to finish better than the year before," Head Coach Gwen Harris said. "We did it in cross country, we did it indoors and this weekend we will try and do it again."
Senior Emily Logan could do some damage in the distance events for the Red and Blue as she is seeded first in both the 3,000 and 5,000 meter races. Logan broke the Penn program record in both events this past spring. Classmate Elaina Lord could pull the double as well as she is seeded fifth and sixth in the 3,000 and 5,000, respectively. Kim Milans should provide some depth for the Quakers in the 5,000 while Christine Myers will try her hand at the 10,000 meters.
In the hurdles, look for senior co-captain Michelle Hart and freshman Jeannette Curtis to challenge for top-eight spots in the 110 hurdles, while Dana McCurdy and Hart will compete for a top billing in the 400-meter hurdles.
Penn's greatest strength, however, lies in the throwing events. The Quakers are seeded first or second in the javelin, shot put, discus and hammer. Senior Kai Ivory, who is also seeded second in the heptathlon, holds the top throw in the League in the javelin. Senior Mikaelyn Austin, sophomore Charity Payne and freshman Catrina Chisholm are second in their respective events and could challenge for a conference championship. Chisholm broke Penn's program record in the hammer earlier this season with a toss 180'01" and could become the first Quaker to win a hammer title.
Rookie Shani Boston holds the top spot in the heptathlon after scoring 5049 points and winning the Penn Relays last month. Penn has three student-athletes in the pole vault who could challenge for a top-eight spot. Junior Sam Crooks has the third-highest vault this season in the league at 12'06", while senior Ingrid Gustfason and sophomore Lauren Davis had both cleared 10'10".
On the men's side, the Red and Blue will look to reclaim the title they lost last year after winning back-to-back championships in 2001 and 2002. Penn has finished in the top-three for 12 consecutive years and won the title four times during that span.
"We are going to go out there and do the best we can," Head Coach Charlie Powell said. "All we can do is show up and see what happens. It's a championship meet which means anything can happen. That's why we have championships."
The Quakers will be led by seniors Brian Chaput and Matt Wedge, who each look to claim their third Heptagonal Championship. Chaput, the defending NCAA Champion and two-time Penn Relays Champion, will look to defend his Heps title from last season. The East Haven, Conn. native has already thrown over 254 feet this season. Wedge, who won back-to-back hurdle titles indoors, is seeking his third-straight title in the 110 high hurdles. Wedge will also compete in the 200 meter dash, which he placed third in last season.
Senior Chris Edmonds, a two-time indoor 400 meter champion and last year's runner-up, could be a strong contender in the 400 meter dash, while Courtney Jaworski will battle with Columbia's Vincent Galgano for the top spot in the 800 meters. Jaworski, the 2004 indoor champion in the 800 meters, defeated Galgano by less than a quarter of a second back in February, but Galgano has the faster time heading into the meet. Look for Nolan Tully to score points in the 5,000 meters while Dusty Lieb, an All-American in cross country, will challenge in the 10,000 meters.
In the pole vault, Neal Wojdowski and Zach Suttile are two of three vaulters in the Ivies to clear 16 feet this season and both could challenge for the title. Justin King will compete in both the discus and shot put and could place in both events.
Both the 4 x 400 and 4 x 100 relays have performed well this season and could place in the top-three. The Quakers hold the meet record in the 4 x 400 with a time of 3:10.37, set in 2002 by Brian Abram, Luqman Kolade, Sam Burley and Chris Edmonds.
The Quakers will begin action on May 8 at Brown Stadium in Providence, R.I. Complete results can be found on the Ivy League website.
Written by Heather Palmer