Three program records. Two Athletes of the Meet. 14 All-Ivy League performances. One All-American. Two NCAA qualifiers. Eight Regional qualifiers. Nine individual Heptagonal Champions. It was just another typical year for the men's track and field team in 2004-05.
It was a trio of veterans and a core of underclassmen that gave the Quakers cross country team their best finish at the Heptagonal Championships in five years. One senior made a return trip to the NCAA Championships, while a classmate took part in the national championships for the first time. As for the underclassmen - it was several rookies and a slew of sophomores who continuously finished among Penn's top-five. Making the future for Penn distance running very bright.
The Red and Blue opened the 2004-05 campaign with a second-place showing at the Fordham Invitational in New York City. The invitational is also the site of the Heptagonal Championships and gave the Penn squad a chance to familiarize themselves with the course. Of the five Quakers who finished in the top-15, only senior Matt Van Antwerp was an upperclassman. Rookie Brian Goldberg finished 13th overall in his collegiate debut and was the fourth Quaker to cross the finish line. The following week Goldberg finished second overall at the Delaware Invitational to lead the Penn team to a first-place victory. Four runners finished among the top-five. Right behind Goldberg on the 8K course were junior Mike LaQuaglia, sophomores Mike Cassidy and freshmen Daniel Howard and Reid McEwen. All four distance runners finished the race in under 28 minutes to take third through sixth place.
At the Paul Short Run on the Lehigh University campus, it was two seniors who led Penn to a sixth place showing out of 31 teams, including national powerhouses No. 7 Georgetown and No. 13 Villanova. Dusty Lieb finished fourth among all runners, he was followed by Stephen Hayes in 21st. The next week Lieb, Hayes and classmate Nolan Tully led the Red and Blue to a second-place showing at the Penn State National meet. All three finished in the top-12.
Lieb had one of his best Ivy League performances at the 2005 Heptagonal Championships. He finished fifth overall with the seventh fastest time by a Penn runner at the Heps Championships. A ninth-place showing by Tully and 20th-place performance from Hayes led Penn to a third-place finish, its best since 1999. At the NCAA Regionals, Lieb and Tully finished sixth and eighth, respectively, to earn at-large bids to the NCAA Championships. Five Quakers finished in the top-40 at the Regional meet giving Penn a third-place finish.
Lieb took 48th at the National Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., while Tully placed 102nd among the 240 plus competitors.
The Quakers used several Invitational meets early in the season to prepare them for the Championship season in late February. After several strong performances from veterans and newcomers, the Quakers had two provisional NCAA qualifiers, three Heptagonal Champions, a meet record and two new school records including a new relay record that stood for over two decades.
Penn started off the indoor season at the New Year Invitational and with three top finishes. Senior Scott Sebens won the mile, while Van Antwerp won the 3,000m and junior Courtney Jaworski won the 1,000m. Freshman Kyle Calvo took second in the 60m hurdles and third in the high jump in his collegiate debut. Fellow newcomer Pete Habegger was the runner-up in the long jump.
At the Navy Invite, 24 Quakers recorded top-eight finishes. Senior Neal Wojdowski won the pole vault, Hayes won the 3,000m and freshman Tim Kaijala won the 800m. Hayes and Kaijala turned in top performances the following week at the Sorlein Invitational. Hayes won the mile and Kaijala repeated as champion in the 800m. As a team the Quakers finished second at both meets.
Sophomore Grafton Ifill made a name for himself at the Penn State open, taking second in the 200m and breaking the 11 year old Penn record. Other highlights from the meet included Cavlo took second in the heptathlon and Wojdowski placed in the top-10 in the pole vault.
At the Boston Terrier Class, Jaworski took second in the 800m, Sebens placed third in the 1,000m, junior Pete Cochran placed fourth in the 200m and Schmiett was fifth in the 500m among some of the toughest competition in the Northeast.
At the Sykes-Sabok Challenge, Ifill broke his own 200m record, which now stands at 21.24. Jaworski finished as the runner-up in the 800m, while the distance medley relay grabbed fifth and the 4x400m placed fourth. Calvo and Habegger scored in the field events.
Jaworski stole the show at the Indoor Heps championships in Cambridge, Mass. Jaworski successfully defended his 800m title, but this time he did it in record fashion. Jaworski broke the Heptagonal meet record and earned co-athlete of the meet honors in the process. He was also a part of the 4x800m relay team that took first as well. Sebens, Kaijala and John Guzman were also members of the victorious two-mile relay team and earned first-team All-Ivy League honors for their accomplishment.
Rookie Mike Hall emerged on the scene in the heptathlon, coming from behind on day two to defeat teammate Calvo to win the Heptagonal title. Cavlo took second and both earned All-Ivy League honors. Tully was the Quakers other champion, taking the 3,000m.
Other tops finishers included Sebens, who placed fourth in the 1,000m with a time of 2:27.23, Hayes who placed sixth in the mile with a time of 4:12.15 and sophomore Michael Bale who finished sixth in the in the 60m high hurdles with a time of 8.46.
In the long jump, Calvo and Habegger finished second and third, respectively. Calvo posted a mark of 23-6.7 while Habegger finished with a jump of 23-5 .25 In the pole vault, Wojdowski placed fourth with a mark of 15-9.
As a team the Quakers amassed 81 points and finished second behind Cornell and Princeton.
Guzman and Wojdowski headed to the IC4A Championships, while Jaworski and the distance medley team traveled to Notre Dame to compete in the Alex Wilson Invitational. At the last chance meet the Quakers destroyed the 21-year school record in the DMR and provisional qualified for the NCAA Championships. Jaworski placed second in the 800m in a team of 1:48.29 to provisional qualify for the National Championships as well. Guzman placed in the 800m and Wojdowski took second in the pole vault.
It didn’t take long for the Quakers to get back into the swing of things during the spring campaign. Penn opened the season with the Quaker Invitational at Franklin Field. The Red and Blue won five events, swept the 1500m and went 1-2 in the 3,000 steeplechase. On the other side of the country, three Quakers competed at the Stanford Invitational. Tully ran 14:04.68. in the 5,000m to qualify for the NCAa Regional meet. Classmate Wojdowski finished fifth in the pole vault and rookie Calvo took fifth in the decathlon with a then-10th best performance in Penn history.
After a washout at the Maryland Invitational, the Quakers competed on their own turf for the second time in 2005. Ifill won the 100m and 200m dashes, while Wojdowski and freshman Dustin Johnson won the pole vault and javelin, respectively. Johnson’s throw of 206-02 qualified for NCAA Regionals. Freshman David Whitehurst made his collegiate debut, taking second in the 110m hurdles with a time of 14.54.
The following weekend in a quad-meet against Villanova, Rutgers and Princeton, Ifill claimed victory in both the 100m and 200m for the second-straight week. He ran the fastest time by a Quaker since 1984 when he clocked in at 10.42 in the 100m and qualified for the NCAA Regionals in the event. Ifill’s time is the fourth fastest in Penn history. Ifill’s winning time in the 200m of 21.31 is the seventh fastest in program history. Jaworski won the 800m in an NCAA Regional qualifying time of 1:49.42. Penn’s other Regional qualifier was junior Jim Malizia in the javelin with a toss of 203-10.
At the Larry Ellis Invitational, Whitehurst and Wojdowski added their name to the list of Quakers heading to Regionals. Whitehurst won the 110m hurdles in 14.27, which is the seventh fastest time in school history and Wojdowski took the top spot in the pole vault with a height on 16-6.
Also picking up a blue ribbon were Ifill in the 200m, clocking in at 21.20, which is the seventh fastest time in school history. Kaijala won the 800m run Elite in a time of 1:52.28, while Calvo won the long jump with a leap of 23-07.5. The 4x400m relay team of Peter Cochran, Eric Ljungquist, Courtney Jaworski and Cody Schovitz grabbed the top spot in a time of 3:16.54.
At the 111th running of the Penn Relays, the Quakers held their own against some of the top track programs in the country. Ifill advances to the finals of the 100m dash where he took fifth, Malizia grabbed fourth in the javelin, the quartet of Seben, Schmiett, Jaworski and Kaijala crossed the finish line in fifth in the 4x800m Championship of America race. In the 4x400m Heptagonal Championships, the Red and Blue came in second.
Penn won five events at the Outdoor Heptagonal Championships en route to a second-place team finish. On the first day of action, Wodjowski successfully defended his pole vault title and Cavlo won the long jump and qualified for the NCAA Regionals as well.
Ifill lit up the track on day two winning both the 100m and 200m dashes. He broke the program record in the 200m and qualified for NCAA Regionals. Ifill was named athlete of the meet for his accomplishments. Jaworski continued to dominate the half-mile winning his fourth 800m title (second Outdoors). The Red and Blue’s other victory came from Whitehurst in the 110m hurdles.
Also scoring points for the Red and Blue were Schovitz in the 400m, who placed sixth with a time of 49.03, Kaijala in the 800m, who took fourth with a time of 1:52.66, Sebens in the 1,500m, who placed sixth with a time of 4:16.17, senior Nameir Majette, fourth in the high jump with a person best 2.07m (6’9.5”) Calvo who was third in the decathlon with 6,663 points.
Calvo and Wojdowski continued to score points in their events at the IC4A Championships placing fourth and second in the decathlon and pole vault, respectively. Calvo’s score of 6,778 points is the ninth best in program history. Kaijala took ninth in the 800m with a time of 1:50.92.
Calvo continued to improve in the long jump at the NCAA Regionals. The rookie took second in the event with a jump of 24-11.75 and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. His jump is the third best in program history. Jaworski also earned the automatic bid to the NCAA Championships in the 800m with his third-place finish. Ifill just missed making the finals in the 100m and 200m coming in 10th and ninth, respectively. Whitehurst finished 20th in the 110m hurdles, while Malizia was 21st in the javelin and Wojdowski failed to clear a height in the pole vault.
At the NCAA Championships, Calvo had the top performance by a freshman and just missed out on making the finals. He finished 13th in the preliminaries with a leap of 24-1.75. Jaworski advanced to the 800m finals where he ran personal best 1:46.70 to take seventh. He earned All-America honors for the first time and ran fast enough to qualify for the USA National Outdoor Championships. Hall competed in the decathlon at the Junior National Championships and took fourth, earning All-American Honors.
From the first gun at the starting line in September to the last dash across the finish line in June, the Quakers competed strong every weekend and continued to get better. With 10 of last year’s 12 Heptagonal champion holders coming back next season, conquering the goal of reclaiming the Ivy League title, just may be in sight.
Written by Heather Palmer