PHILADELPHIA - 16 members of the University of Pennsylvania track & field team are set to compete in the opening rounds of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Jacksonville, Fla., May 26-28.
In all, the Quakers willcompete in 11 events at the NCAA East Preliminary Round inside North Florida's Hodges Stadium this weekend.
Competition begins on Thursday for Penn when senior Kelsey Hayand junior Lisa Sesink-Clee compete in the javelin at noon. The first member of the Red and Blue to take the track will be junior Chris Hatlerwhen he steps into the start line for the NCAA First Round of the 1,500-meter run at 6 p.m. If Hatler finishes in the top-5 in his heat or posts one of the next four fastest times, he’ll advance to the quarterfinals on Saturday. Junior Brendan Shearn caps the first evening of competition for the Quakers in the 10,000 meter national semifinals.
Friday will mark a big day in the field for the men when 2015 NCAA defending national champion Sam Mattis and junior Noah Kennedy-Whitecompete in the discus at 4 p.m. On the track, Taylor McCorkle and Calvary Rogers will take to the blocks at 8 p.m. and 8:25 p.m. in the NCAA First Round of the 200 meter sprints.
Also on Friday, the Quakers will be represented in both steeplechase events. Women's school record holder Amy Darlington will start at 8:50 p.m., and the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Heps champions in Nick Tuck and Brendan Smith begin their race at 9:30 p.m.
Saturday features an exciting last day with sophomore Mike Monroe in the high jump at 5:30 p.m., followed by the quarterfinals of the 1,500 and 200 if the Quakers advance. The national semifinals of the men's and women's 5,000 meters wrap up the meet for the Red and Blue on Saturday. The trio of Ashley Montgomery, Clarissa Whiting and Kylene Cochrane take the track at 8:05 p.m., followed by Thomas Awad in the men's race at 8:45 p.m.
The Quakers have set or matched the school record for NCAA qualifiers in each of the four years under Director of Track & Field/Cross Country Steve Dolan. In his first season at the helm, Penn sent a program-high 11 individuals to the NCAA's, followed by 14 in 2014 and 16 in 2015. In addition, the seven women's qualifiers this year match a program-high since the current NCAA format began in 2010, and the nine men's qualifiers are second-most in program history.
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 (Lawrence, Kan.), which host the NCAA first round and quarterfinal round in each event as well as some of the NCAA semifinals.
The top 48 in each event qualify for the NCAA Preliminary rounds where 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 8-11.
A full recap of the opening rounds of the NCAA Championships will be available at PennAthletics.com shortly after the conclusion of each day's events.