PHILADELPHIA - Home sweet home. Itwas quite a day for the University of Pennsylvania track and field teamsas they opened the 2015 Outdoor Heptagonal Championships on their home track Saturday.
One heps champion. Six new marks in the school record books. Nine different scorers (eight underclassmen).Thirteen qualfiers for Championship Sunday.
After the first day of competition at historic Franklin Field and the Moon Throwing Complex, the Penn men are fourth with 14 points, and the women are tied for third with 24 points. The men advanced seven to Sunday's finals, while six Penn women advanced past the first day.
Junior Kelsey Hay successfully defended her Heps title in the javelin. She is the second Penn woman to win back-to-back Heps championships in the event and the first since Robyn Fortsch in 1986-87. Last year, she set the meet record in the event. This year, four of her throws were more than enough to defeat the field. Her second toss of 46.58 meters (152 feet, 10 inches) was her best and was more than six feet better than any other competitor.
Behind Hay, the Quakers took three of the six scoring spots in the javelin at Penn's state-of-the-art Moon Throwing Complex. Junior Serena Grafwas fourth with a toss of 41.77 meters (137-0 ft.), and sophomore Lisa Sesink-Cleejumped into fifth with her final throw of 41.15 meters (135 ft.).
Running side-by-side, sophomore Ashley Montgomery and junior Gabby Cuccia posted the second and third-fastest times in school history, respectively, in the women's 1,500 meters. The duo crossed the finish line nearly simultaneously as Montgomery recorded a finish of 4:22.74 and Cuccia was four-hundreths of a second behind (4:22.78). Those times trail only Stacy Kim's school record of 4:20.75 which she set en route to the outdoor Heps title in 2008 (a meet record at the time).
Moments later, freshman Taylor McCorkle posted the second-fastest finish in program history in the women's 100 meters at 11.82. Senior teammate Princess Lydia Ali, who missed out on the finals by four-thousandths of a second, owns the school record at 11.75 -- which could be in jeopardy in tomorrow's final at 1:45 p.m.
Then in the 800 meters, the Quakers posted two of the top-nine finishes in Penn women's history. Sophomore Carey Celata blew away the competition in her heat and most of those in the Penn record book. Her finish of 2:07.37 was the third-fastest all-time at Penn (fastest since 2011) and the top finish in the preliminaries. Not to be outdone, junior Taylor Hennigreached No. 9 in the school record book with a finish of 2:09.16, and reached the finals as one of two non-automatic qualifiers. Both will compete for the Heps title on Sunday at 2:05 p.m.
Freshman Candace Tayloralso qualified for the women in the 400 meters (54.99).In addition, Noel Jancewicz is second in the heptathlon.
Championship Sunday qualifiers for the men included Ben Bowers in the 110-meter hurdles (14.52), Jeff Wiseman in the 400 meters (48.04), Drew Magaha in the 800 meters (1:50.00),Tom Timmins in the 400-meter hurdles (52.45), Brandon Senior in the 200 meters (22.01) and Thomas Awad(3:49.70) and Clark Shurtleff(3:50.03) in the 1,500 meters.
At Heps, the top eight advance past the preliminaries and the top-six finishers will score in the finals of each event on Sunday, when most event finals will take place.
In the few scoring events of the first day, the men had a pair of scorers in the long jump. Junior Thomas Pitt was fourth with a leap of 7.14 meters (23-05.25 ft), and senior Semi Ibikunle was fifth with a jump of 6.98 meters (22-10.75 ft.).
Meanwhile, sophomore Sam Kaplan continued Penn's success in the javelin with a third-place finish and six points for the men. On his first throw of the day, Kaplan surpassed 60 meters for the first time in his career. The toss of 60.17 meters (197-05 ft.) remained his best and was tops through the first two rounds.
Under the lights at Franklin Field,Brendan Shearnadded two points in the men's 10,000 meters with a time of 30:03.78. The sophomore stayed with the lead pack throughout and outlasted a pair of runners on the final lap to earn a spot in the scoring.
Freshmen Molly Minnig and Devinne Miller each scored for the women with a pair of fourth-place finishes. Minnig matched a personal best and the sixth-best performance all-time at Penn with a clearance of 3.65 meters (11-11.75 ft.) in the pole vault. Miller landed her second-jump at a career-best 5.54 meters (18-02.25 ft.) in the long jump.
Championship Sunday begins with the resumption of the dectathlon and heptathlon at 10 a.m., and the finals for the women's triple jump and men's high jump at 11 a.m. Running events begin with the women's steeplechase at noon, and the 2015 Heptagonal team champions will be announced around 4:30 p.m.
Tickets are available at the event. It is $10 for a single day and $5 for children under 12.
A full recap of the 2015 Outdoor Heptagonal Championships will be available at PennAthletics.com shortly after the completion of Sunday's events.