WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Sophomore Kersie Jhabvala won the 10,000 meters with the sixth-fastest time in school history for the University of Pennsylvania women's track and field team at the Wake Forest Invitational Saturday. It highlighted several Top 10 efforts from the Quakers at their outdoor season opener inside Kentner Stadium.
In a field of 19, Jhabvala and Appalachian's Kaitlin Cagle were in front of the pack. But it was Jhabvala that won the sprint to the finish line - a little more than 37 minutes after she began. Her time of 37:04.59 surpassed Christine Cohick's effort from last season by five seconds to settle into the No. 6 position in the school's all-time record book.
Senior Emily Townsend reached the finals of the 100 meters when she matched a personal best finish of 12.23 - which ranks seventh in school history. Only 16 of the 79 runners reached Saturday's final where Townsend placed 13th overall with a time of 12.25.
Of the 54 competitors in the 100-meter hurdles, sophomore Gabrielle Piper finished fifth. She reached the finals with a time of 14.27 and then topped that effort with a finish of 14.21 in the finals for a Top 5 showing.
Sophomore Morgan Wheeler was third in the javelin. Of the 36 women in the competition, her first toss would have placed her third had it stood as her best. But Wheeler, who reached the NCAA Championships in the event last year, topped that by a few centimeters in the final to finish at 41.41 meters (135 feet, 10 inches).
Senior Kristen Judge was third in the high jump. She nearly set a personal best, but fell just short when she attempted the second-highest bar in school history. Judge was flawless to that point, however. She did not miss a height through her finish of 1.68 meters (5-06 ft.).
Also in the field events, junior Davielle Brown finished in a tie for fifth in the pole vault. She cleared 3.50 meters (11-05.75 ft.) in her first outdoor meet of the year. Meanwhile, senior Catherine Okoukoni also had a Top 5 finish in the triple jump. Her leap of 11.84 meters (38-10.25 ft.) topped all but four of the 44 jumpers.
Senior Laura Steel gave the Quakers another Top 5 finish toward the end of the day. She was fifth in the 3,000 meters. Steel broke the 10-minute mark in the event and stopped the clock at 9:57.41. Teammate Chelsea Delaney was just outside the Top 10 with an 11th-place time of 10:23.38.
Next up for the Quakers is the Big 5 invite. Penn will host its Philadelphia rivals at Franklin Field on Saturday, March 24.