Men's Track & Field Has Seven En Route to NCAA's

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PHILADELPHIA - Seven members of the University of Pennsylvania men's track and field team will spend this week in Greensboro, N.C., for the opening rounds of the NCAA Championships. Mato Bekelja, Brendan Smith, Thomas Awad, Tom Timmins, Maalik Reynolds, Sam Mattis and Jake Brenza will compete Thursday through Saturday in the NCAA East Preliminary Round at Irwin Belk Track on the campus of North Carolina A&T.

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 (Greensboro, N.C.) and West (Austin, Texas), which host the NCAA first round and quarterfinal round in each event as well as some of the NCAA semifinals.

The top 24 finishers in the first round advance to the quarterfinals where the top 12 will advance to compete in the semifinals and finals of the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., June 5-8.

Timmins will be the first Quaker on the track at the NCAA meet. The sophomore is in the fifth heat of the 400-meter hurdles at 5 p.m. on Thursday. If he advances, he will compete in the NCAA Quarterfinals at 7:45 p.m. on Friday.

Also competing on the first day for the Red and Blue are Bekelja and Mattis. Bekelja is in the NCAA First Round of the 800 meters at 8:35 p.m. If he is among the 24 to advance to the quarterfinals, he will compete for a spot in Eugene, Ore., at 7:15 p.m. on Friday. Mattis will need to finish among the top 12 in the discus - which is the first event of the meet at 10 a.m. - to claim a spot in Eugene.

On the second day of competition, Brenza will compete in the shot put at 5 p.m., and Smith will run in the steeplechase at 9:30 p.m. Both will have to finish among the top 12 in their respective events to advance to the final NCAA Championship site.

On Saturday, Reynolds, a three-time All-American, will compete in the high jump at 6 p.m., while Awad, making his NCAA Championships debut, will run in the 5,000 meters at 8:45 p.m.

A full recap will be available at shortly after the conclusion of each day's events.