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PHILADELPHIA Historic Franklin Field will serve as the backdrop to the 2009 Outdoor Heptagonal Championships this weekend as the University of Pennsylvania men’s track and field team hosts their Ivy counterparts on Saturday and Sunday. Penn hosts the event for the first time since 2006 and looks for its first team title since winning back-to-back championships in 2001 and 2002.
The Heptagonals will begin Saturday at 11 a.m. with the javelin and the first decathlon event. Track events are scheduled to begin with heats of the 400 meters at 3:50 p.m. The conclusion of day one comes at the end of the 10,000-meter run which begins at 6:40 p.m. The final day of competition starts at 10 a.m. with the shot put and ends with the 1,600-meter relay at 4:50 p.m. The 2009 Outdoor Heptagonal champions will be crowned at the awards ceremony at 5:20 p.m.
“We are always pleased to be hosting this prestigious event,” said head coach Charlie Powell. “It is a meet that we enjoy and it is an honor to serve as hosts to the Ivy League and to its schools. It gives us a chance to showcase Franklin Field, the University and the city of Philadelphia. This should be a fantastic weekend.”
Heading into competition, Penn’s John Carelli and Max Westman are the current Ivy League leaders in the triple jump and decathlon, respectively. Five other Quakers rank in the top five of their respective events. Both Carelli and Westman claimed All-Ivy honors in the 2009 indoor version of the event with Carelli claiming the Heptagonal championship in the triple jump.
Penn is coming into the championship meet with some momentum from the Penn Relays. Westman became Penn’s first official decathlon champion at the Penn Relays since 1932 with an IC4A qualifying point total. Meanwhile, junior Anthony Abitantewho currently ranks third in the Ancient Eight in the pole vaultwon the Relays title in the Eastern pole vault championship.
“We are really looking forward to having great weekend,” Powell added. “We have some really good student-athletes and it is a situation where we have to just go out there and fight for every point."
In addition to the team title, the Red and Blue will look to add to the 17 individual qualifiers who have reached the IC4A Championships on May 15-17.
For complete coverage of Heps weekend from Philadelphia, visit the meet homepage at the link above. For complete recaps of the performances from the Quakers’ men’s track and field team, log on to www. PennAthletics.com.