BOSTON, Mass. - A trio of freshmen and a relay made history for the University of Pennsylvania track and field teams at the 2015 Indoor Heptagonal Championships on Sunday. Jeff Wiseman won the Heps title in the men's 500 meters, Mike Monroe won the men's high jump and Taylor McCorkle set a school record in the women's 60 meters. In addition, the Quakers won the men's distance medley relay for the first time since 1979.
Junior standout Thomas Awad was named the Most Outstanding Track Performer of the Meet and led the Penn men to a fourth-place finish (75 points). The Quakers were third heading into the final event, but were edged by Brown for the bronze. It is the highest finish for the Penn men in eight years, while the women garnered 38 points -- 30 of which were scored by underclassmen (79 percent) -- for a seventh-place finish.
For the first time in 36 years, the Red and Blue stripes were atop the podium in the men's distance medley relay. Clark Shurtleff had Penn in the lead after the first 1,200 meters, and senior Tom Timmins kept the Quakers in front after the 400-meter leg. Sophomore Jack Huemmler finished the 800 leg and handed off to Awad, who created some space from the rest of the field as he sprinted to the finish and broke the tape at 9:55.56.
In the high jump, Monroe cleared 2.14 meters (7 feet 1/4 inches) to win the title in his first Heps meet. It tied the third-best jump in school history and gave Penn its third win in the last five years in the event (former All-American Maalik Reynolds claimed first in 2011 and 2012). Monroe won the meet as the only competitor to clear 2.12 meters - which he did on his first attempt to set a new collegiate best. He then surpassed 2.14 meters on his first attempt as well. Also in the high jump, junior Thomas Pitt was third at 2.09 meters (6-10.25 ft.).
Wiseman and Timminseach scored in the 500 meters with two of the top four times in school history. Wiseman won his first career Heps title with a collegiate-best finish of 1:02.48. The only man in school history to finish faster is Penn men's head coach,Robin Martinin 1997 (1:02.18). Timmins won his heat and finished fourth with a personal-best time of 1:03.35 -- the fourth-fastest in program history. The last time the Quakers won this event was in 2003 (Brian Abram).
The women just about duplicated that effort in their running of the 500 meters. Freshman Candace Taylor and junior Taylor Hennigfinished second and third in the event, respectively, and posted two of the top four times in program history. Taylor already ranked third all-time at Penn and finished as the runner-up at 1:13.21, while Hennig bested her personal best time from the preliminaries with the fourth-fastest finish in school history at 1:13.36.
McCorkle broke a seven-year-old school record in the 60 meters with a time of 7.54. She is just the second woman in school history to break 7.60 in the event as Shaunee Morgan had held the school standard at 7.58 since 2008. McCorkle finished fourth at the meet and was the top underclassman.
In the men's 800 meters, junior Drew Magaha was the runner-up at 1:51.49, which places him in a tie for eighth in Penn's school record book. Sophomore Ashley Montgomery scored on the women's side in the event with a sixth-place finish of 2:11.62, which cracked the final spot in Penn's all-time top ten.
Junior teammatesBen Bowersand Shurtleff each finished fourth for the Penn men in back-to-back events to start the day. Shurtleff scored in the mile with a time of 4:09.14, while Bowers earned Penn points with his time of 8.19.
Freshman Taylor Hojnacki also finished fourth for the Quakers. She did so in the women's shot put with a toss of 13.42 meters (44-00.50 ft.).
Senior Jordan Jett was fifth in the men's long jump with a leap of 14.51 meters (47-07.25 ft.), and junior Sam Mattis was sixth in the shot put with a toss of 16.66 meters (54-08 ft.).
The women scored in all three relays with a third-place showing in the 4x880-yard relay (8:59.92), sixth-place finish in the 4x440-yard relay (3:59.65), and fourth-place standing in the DMR (11:43.97). In addition to the DMR win, the men were fourth in the 4x880-yard relay (7:40.02).
The biggest final day notable outside of the scoring came from sophomore Brendan Shearn, who finished ninth in the 5,000 meters at 14:29.35. That is the fifth-best time all-time at Penn and the fastest finish for a Quaker since Luke Grau in 2009.
Both teams scored in the 1,000 meters as Kirk Webb (2:28.37) was sixth for the men, and Gabrielle Cucciamatched the third-fastest time in women's program history with a sixth-place finish of 2:50.92.
The first day of competition was highlighted by Awad's victory in the3,000 meters at 8:05.45. He was the first Penn man to win the title in the event since Nolan Tully in 2005.Other first day scorers for the Quakers included Mattisin the men's weight throw (sixth place) and a pair of sophomore teammates for the Penn women --Amaris Kobolak(fifth in the long jump) and Cleo Whiting (sixth in the 3,000 meters).
Most of the Quakers will now have some time to prepare for the outdoor season which starts on March 21 with the third annual Philadelphia College Classic at Franklin Field. Others will hope to make the cut for the Indoor NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., March 13-14.