PHILADELPHIA – As February comes to an end, the action begins to heat up. In what is always one of the most exciting weekends of the year, the University of Pennsylvania indoor track and field programs head to Ithaca for the 2016 Ivy League Heptagonal Championships on Feb. 27-28. Live results will be provided for both days, with a web stream available on Sunday at 11:45 a.m.
What to Watch For
The Quakers enter their pinnacle weekend fresh off a record-breaking three-month stretch, in which seven school marks were reset. Penn records have especially been falling on the women’s side – five in fact.
Amongst the notable performers has been a trio of freshmen, who are set to make a big impact in their first Heps weekend. Showing off what has become one of Penn’s deepest teams, the rookies have snapped school records in three different facets of track and field.
Nicole Macco recorded Penn’s best-ever mark in the pole vault, posting a height of 3.86 meters at the Wesley Brown Invitational in January. Rachel Wilson also put together a nice afternoon at Navy, breaking her own school mark in the weight throw. She would go on to snap that record a third time last weekend at Princeton, tossing a distance of 17.25 meters (56-07.25). Imani Solan raced her way to a school mark in the 200 meters (24.08) just two weeks ago at the Fastrack National Invite.
Sophomore Taylor McCorkle and junior Ashley Montgomery also achieved school marks this winter, and are ready to continue their strong seasons in Ithaca. Montgomery shattered Penn’s previous mark in the mile, crossing the finish line over five seconds faster than the former record set by Kate O’Hern in 1985. McCorkle snapped her own school mark in the 60 meters, darting to a new top time of 7.53.
It was more of the same on the men’s side, led by the 2015 Indoor Heps Most Outstanding Track Performer – Thomas Awad. Awad not only put together a new Ivy League record in the indoor mile, but also owns the second-fastest time in the nation. Competing against a field full of professional runners at the prestigious Millrose Games, Awad clocked in at 3:57.03. He is now in prime position to earn a berth into the NCAA Championships on March 11-12, as the top-16 times will qualify.
The second Penn record that went down this winter was also in part because of Awad. The distance medley relay team of Awad, Jeff Wiseman, Elias Graca, and Chris Hatler registered a time of 9:38.8, snapping a school mark that had stood since 2005 (Jaworski, Ljungquist, Kaijala, Hayes).
The Quakers finished fourth on the men’s side and seventh for the women in 2015. Awad was named the top track athlete after winning the 3,000, and also being a part of a triumphant distance medley relay.
Clark Shurtleff, Tom Timmins, Jack Huemmler joined Awad on the victorious relay team, and were all named first-team All-Ivy honorees. Wiseman picked up the conference crown in the 500 meters, while Mike Monroe was tops in the men's high jump.
Drew Magaha and Candace Taylor were named to the All-Ivy second team at least year’s meet. It was the second-straight honor for Magaha, who finished as the runner-up in the 800 meters. Taylor finished as the runner-up in the 500 meters, earning an All-Ivy selection in her first Heps meet.