Showdown in the Big Apple - Men's Heptagonal Preview

The University of Pennsylvania men’s track team will compete at the 2005 Heptagonal Ivy League Championships on May 7-8 at Wein Stadium on the campus of Columbia University in New York City.

The Red and Blue finished second at the 2004 Outdoor Championships to a Cornell team who dethroned the Quakers in 2003. Penn is looking for its first title since 2002 and third in the last five years. Leading the way for Penn are defending champions Courtney Jaworski, Dusty Lieb and Neal Wodjowski. The Quakers have some veterans and key newcomers who could all challenge for the top spot in their events and help bring the John Baxter Taylor trophy back to Philadelphia.

Sophomore transfer Grafton Ifill will be a strong contender in both the 100m and 200m dashes. The Nassau, Bahamas native holds the top pre-Heps mark in both events. Ifill finished fifth at the 2005 Penn Relays in the 100m dash, a distance he has already qualified for NCAA Regionals. His time of 10.42 earlier this season ranks fourth all-time at Penn and is the fastest in Penn history in 21 years – it also ranks 10th in the East this spring. His time of 21.20 in the 200m is also the seventh-fastest in Penn history and just .01 off the NCAA Regional mark. Senior Tony Archibong is the top 200m runner returning from last year’s finals. Archibong finished second in the 2004 in the 200m and fourth in the 100m dash. Junior Peter Cochran will compete in the 200m dash as well and freshman Mike Provenzano will run the 100m dash.

Junior Ryan Fleming and seniors Eric Lungquist and Lawrence Gibson will challenge in the 400m dash, while Jaworski will look to defend his 800m title. The junior is a two-time indoor champion in the event and holds the second best pre-Heps time -a NCAA provisional mark of 1:49.42. With that, Jaworski will try to win a second-straight 800m title at the Outdoor Heps. If he does, it will be Penn's seventh win in this event in the last 10years. Also competing in the 800m will be sophomore Carson Schmiett and freshmen John Guzman and Tim Kaijala.

Senior Stephen Hayes will look to improve upon his sixth-place finish in the 1,500m from a year ago. Joining him in the 1,500m will be junior Scott Sebens and sophomore Cody Schovitz. Senior Nolan Tully will try and challenge for the 5,000m title. Tully’s time of 14:04.68, an NCAA Regional qualifying time, is the best pre-Heps time so far this spring. He will also run the 10k with classmate Lieb, who will look to defend his crown in 2005. Freshman Eric Bonnette and sophomore Mike LaQuaglia could see action in both races as well, while rookie Ian Foley will compete in the 10k.

Freshman David Whitehurst enters the 100m hurdles with the best pre-Heps mark at 14.29. With Matt Wedge, a three-time champ, having graduated, the door is open for Whitehurst to keep the title in Philadelphia. Whitehurst’s time of 14.29 is an NCAA Regional qualifying time which he ran in just his second race of the season. Fellow classmate Michael Bale will also see action in the 100m hurdles, while freshman Alejandro Shepard will compete in the 3,000m steeplechase.

Rookies Kyle Calvo and Mike Hall will compete in the decathlon. Calvo competed in the event at the Stanford Invitational posting a score of 6,519 points which is the second-best pre-Heps mark. Hall won the indoor decathlon this winter, while Calvo finished as the runner up.

Calvo will also compete in the long jump, where he took second at the indoor championships, and he currently holds the second-best outdoor mark this spring. Rounding out the Quakers in the long jump competition are Cochran, senior Brent James and junior Michael Dailey and freshman Peter Habegger. Dailey is also scheduled to triple jump.

Wodjowski looks to defend his pole vault title from a year ago. Wodjowski cleared a height of 16’6” earlier this season to qualify for the NCAA Regionals. Senior Nameir Majette will be the lone Quaker in the high jump.

In the throwing events, the Red and Blue will be well represented. Junior Jim Malizia, an NCAA Regional qualifier, has the second best throw in the javelin heading into this weekend. Rookie Dustin Johnson, also an NCAA Regional qualifier in this event, will also challenge for a top spot. Freshman Brian Brazinski will compete in the shot put, while fellow football teammates Michael Sangobowale and Jesse Rigler will throw the discus. Senior Tom Zylkin will compete in the hammer.

In the 4x100m relay, the Red and Blue have the third best qualifying time of 41.65, which they ran at the Penn Relays last weekend. Penn is just one of three teams in the League to run under 3:15 in the 4x400m relay. The Quakers clocked in at 3:14.81 at the Penn Relays and look to avenge last season’s one-second to Columbia.

The action starts on May 7 with the decathlon beginning at 10:40. For complete results click here.

Written by Heather Palmer, associate director of athletic communications.