PHILADELPHIA - Its a school record for the third straight year. Once again, the University of Pennsylvania track and field teams will send a record number of qualifiers to the NCAA Championships. In total, 16 Quakers willcompete in 12 events at the NCAA East Preliminary Round, May 28-30 in Jacksonville, Fla.
The Quakers have set the school record for NCAA qualifiers in each of the first three years under Director of Track & Field/Cross CountrySteve Dolan. In his first season, Penn sent a program-high 11 individuals to the NCAA's, followed by 14 last season. In addition, the seven women's qualifiers this year are a program recordsince the current NCAA format began in 2010, and the nine men's qualifiers are second-most in program history to last year's record of 11.
On the women's side, the Quakers will be represented by sophomore Carey Celata and junior Amy Darlington, who will compete in their first NCAA meet in the 800 meters and steeplechase, respectively, and juniorKelsey Hay,who has now qualified for the NCAA's in the javelin in each of her first three seasons. Sophomore Lisa Sesink-Clee will also participate in the javelin in her first NCAA meet.
In addition, sophomore Cleo Whiting will run in the women's 5,000 meters, while junior Gabrielle Cuccia and sophomore Ashley Montgomery will run together in the 1,500 meters again after posting the second and third-fastest times in school history in the event at the Heptagonal Championships.
Also representing the Red and Blue stripes for the third straight season are senior Tom Timmins (men's 400-meter hurdles) and junior Sam Mattis (men's discus).
Junior Thomas Awad, who won the cross country Heptagonal championship as well as two indoor and outdoor Heps titles this season, qualified and is the top seed in the men's 5,000 meters.
A pair of Quakers will compete in the men's high jump as freshman Mike Monroe and junior Tom Pitt were each selected to the NCAA field. This will be the second NCAA appearance for Pitt, who competed in two events in 2014. Sophomore Brendan Shearn will also be making his second straight appearance in the 10,000 meters.
Also for the men, sophomore Nick Tuck (steeplechase), sophomore Chris Hatler (1,500 meters) and junior Noah Kennedy-White (discus) will all be making their first appearance at the NCAA Championships.
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 (Jacksonville, Fla.) 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 48 marks in each event qualify for each of the NCAA Preliminary Rounds (East and West).In each event, the top 12 finishers from the East Preliminary and the top 12 from the West will advance to compete in the finals of the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., June 10-13.
The start lists for the NCAA East Preliminary Round will be released by the NCAA on Tuesday. The meet begins Thursday at North Florida's Hodges Stadium.