JACKSONVILLE – Senior Sam Mattis booked a ticket to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore. to highlight the Penn performances on day two of the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field East Regional in Jacksonville, Fla.
With his second place finish in the discus, Mattis became the first Quaker the 2016 season to earn a berth into the NCAA Championship field by finishing in the top-12 of 45 athletes competing in the discipline. It marks the third-straight year that Mattis will return to Eugene as he looks to defend his 2015 NCAA National Championship.
It was a busy day for the Red and Blue with seven student-athletes in action on Friday. The Quakers competed in men’s discus, men’s and women’s 200 meter sprints and men’s and women’s steeplechase.
The duo of Mattis and Noah Kennedy-White began the day of competition for the Quakers. Mattis competed in the third and final flight of the afternoon and got off on the right foot when he tossed his best throw of 61.95 meters right off the bat to place second overall out of 45 competitors.
Despite an unexpected rain that interrupted the second flight, Kennedy-White also performed well to place 14th in discus. His best throw of 56.04 meters placed him third after two flights of action, but the junior thrower was surpassed when the final 16 athletes took to the field as he narrowly missed the cut to advance to Eugene. He’ll return for his senior season in 2016-17 to lead the Quakers as a team captain.
The Quakers also had a pair of sprinters that took to the blocks for the NCAA First Round of the 200 meter sprints. Sophomore Taylor McCorkle and freshman Calvary Rogers recorded times of 24.16 and 21.66, respectively, to finish 45th and 44th overall in their events.
Rounding out the evening of competition were the duo of Amy Darlington and Brendan Smith in the men’s and women’s steeplechase. Darlington put in a solid performance and finished ninth in her heat and 23rd overall in 10:23.89, while Smith was ninth in his flight and 27th out of 45 competitors in 8:57.88.
The Quakers will conclude action the East Regional on Saturday when Mike Monroe competes in the high jump at 5:30 p.m. Chris Hatler returns to the track in the men’s 1,500 meters for the national quarterfinals at 6:45 p.m., while a trio of harriers in Ashley Montgomery, Clarissa Whiting and Kylene Cochrane take on the women’s 5,000 meters at 8:05 p.m. Action wraps up for the Red and Blue when Thomas Awad competes in the national semifinal of the men’s 5,000 meters 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 (Lawrence, Kan.).
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.
Javelin: Kelsey Hay – 21st (44.43m); Lisa Sesink-Clee – 45th (37.51m)
200m: Taylor McCorkle – 45th (24.16)
Steeplechase: Amy Darlington – 23rd (10:23.89)
Discus: Sam Mattis – 2nd (61.95m); Noah Kennedy-White – 14th (56.04m)
200m: Calvary Rogers – 44th (21.66)
Steeplechase: Brendan Smith – 27th (8:57.88); Nick Tuck – DNF
1,500m: Chris Hatler – 10th (3:45.08) - Quarterfinals
10,000m: Brendan Shearn – DNF
Download: Penn Schedule at UNF.pdf