PHILADELPHIA - Just as the postseason begins, the University of Pennsylvania track and field teams held their annual team banquet on Monday night in University City. The coaches handed out the annual team awards, honored their two-year letterwinners with the traditional Penn sweaters and recognized the seniors and team captains.
Sophomore Thomas Awad claimed the men's cross country and track and field MVP awards. Awad and Cleo Whiting, who won the women's cross country MVP, were the first Quakers to qualify for the NCAA cross country championships since 2005. On the track, Awad earned a Penn Relays title with the second four-minute mile in school history and broke a 36-year-old school record in the outdoor 5,000 meters.
Maalik Reynolds and Sam Mattis, who hold the school record in the high jump and discus, respectively, split the team's Field MVP award. The duo also brought home a pair of Heps titles last week as well. Meanwhile, Noah Kennedy-White and Nick Tuck were Co-Freshmen MVP's and sophomore Ben Bowers earned the team's Most Improved Award.
On the women's side, Gabrielle Piper and Lydia Ali were named the team's Co-Track MVP's. Piper earned All-Ivy accolades at the indoor and outdoor Heps meets, while Ali set the school record in the 100 meters and scored in three events at the outdoor Heptagonals last week. Kelsey Hay, who set the school record in the javelin and won the Heps title in the event, was the team's Field MVP. Noel Jancewicz was the team's Freshman MVP and senior captain Kersie Jhabvala earned the Most Improved award.
The James P. Tuppeny Leadership Award went to senior captain Jake Brenza, while the Betty J. Costanza Leadership Award was won by freshman Ashley Montgomery.
Also at the banquet, the Quakers recognized their six men's seniors: Maalik Reynolds, Karl Ingram, Jake Brenza, Nate Harriger, Mason Smith and Conor Nickel; as well as the seven women's seniors: Chelsea Delaney, Stephanie Green, Arianna Tabatabaie, Gabrielle Piper, Laura Placentra, Cydney Gillon and Kersie Jhabvala.
Penn recently wrapped up an impressive performance at the Heptagonal Championships -- where Penn's four men's individual Heps titles marked the most for the program since 2005 and tied for the most at the meet -- the Quakers jumped to their second-highest national ranking in team history. Since the current Top 25 began in 2008, Penn had never been ranked among the Top 50, but the men have been above that mark for three straight weeks, including a program-best 27th. In addition, the men (fourth) and women (eighth) are both among the Top 10 in the Mid-Atlantic region.
The postseason continues for several Quakers at the ECAC/IC4A Championships and into the NCAA Championships.
2014 Team Award Winners
MVP XC: Tom Awad
MVP Track: Tom Awad
MVP Field: Maalik Reynolds and Sam Mattis
MVP Freshmen: Noah Kennedy-White and Nick Tuck
Most Improved: Ben Bowers
James P Tuppeny Leadership Award: Jake Brenza
MVP XC: Cleo Whiting
MVP Track: Gabbi Piper and Lydia Ali
MVP Field: Kelsey Hay
MVP Freshman: Noel Jancewicz
Most Improved: Kersie Jhabvala
Betty Costanza Leadership Award: Ashley Montgomery