JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Three more members of the University of Pennsylvania track and field teams will represent the Red and Blue at the NCAA Championships as juniorSam Mattis, freshman Mike Monroeand sophomoreNoah Kennedy-White all advanced on Friday at the NCAA East Preliminaries at Hodges Stadium.
As they did on Day One when juniorKelsey Hayopened the meet with an Ivy record in the women's javelin, Penn's throwers got the Red and Blue off to an impressive start. InPenn's first event on Friday, Kennedy-Whitelaunched his first throw 57.69 meters (189 feet, 3 inches) -- the second-best toss in the discus in school history.
Only Mattis hasthrown further in Penn history. He did so again on his first toss at 59.95 meters (196-08 ft), and both Quakers were in prime position to qualify for theNCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., June 10-13. Only the top 12 advance, and Mattis finished comfortably in fourth. Kennedy-White was tops in the first flight and had to wait through 32 more competitors before he officially punched his ticket to Hayward Field. Kennedy-White entered the meet as the No. 41 seed, and histhrow finished ninth.
At the same time, the Quakers also had two men in the high jump. Monroejoined his discus teammates on the road to Eugene with the fifth-best jump in school history. The top 12 advance and Monroe was one of just 11 to cleanly pass the bar at 2.13 meters (6-11.75 ft.). Junior captain Tom Pittjust missed the bar at that height which would have matched his collegiate best and earned a spot in the finals, but finished an impressive season -- and his second straight NCAA appreance -- in 23rd place at 2.04 meters (6-08.25 ft.).
In the women's steeplechase, junior Amy Darlington capped a season in which she set the school record in the event with a 42nd-place finish of 10:36.51. On the men's side, sophomore Nick Tuck wrapped up a campaign that featured a Heps championship and the third-fastest time in school history in the steeplechase with a 32nd-place finish of 9:02.28.
In all, Penn has sent a program-record 16 athletes to the NCAA East Preliminaries. In addition to Hay, seven others competed on the first day (full recap here) and there are still two left to compete asSaturday features the national semifinals of the men's and women's 5,000 meters.Cleo Whitingstarts at 8:05 p.m., followed byTom Awadin the men's race at 8:45 p.m.
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). Forty-eight qualify and compete in theNCAA first and quarterfinal rounds of each event, andthe top 12 finishers from the East and West advance to compete in the finals of the NCAA Championships at Oregon's famed Hayward Field.
A full recap of the remaining competition at the NCAA East Preliminary Round will be available at PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of each day's events.