PHILADELPHIA - A season of preparation has led to this weekend as the University of Pennsylvania track & field teams set out for the 2014 Outdoor Heptagonal Championships on Saturday and Sunday in New Haven, Conn.
The Ivy League championship meet kicks off at 11 a.m. with the decathlon and several field events as both the men and the women will have finals on the first day of competition in the javelin, hammer, long jump and pole vault. Saturday's track events begin at 1 p.m. with the 110-meter hurdles and conclude with the 10,000 meters at 5:45 p.m. Championship Sunday begins with the resumption of the dectathlon and heptathlon plus the finals for the triple jump, high jump, discus and shot put. The 2014 Heptagonal team champion will be announced around 4:15 p.m.
At Heps, only the top-six finishers score in each event and Penn will be counting on points from a variety of its athletes. Entering this weekend's competition, Penn has a combined 32 marks ranking in the top six of the Ivy League.
Sophomore Thomas Awad is tops among Ivy Leaguers in the 1,500 meters after he became the second man in school history to break four minutes in the mile. Awad won the Olympic Development mile at the Penn Relays with a time of 3:58.34 which converts to a 3:40.68 in the 1,500 meters. He is also second in the Ivies in the 5,000 meters with a school-record time of 13:48.90.
Classmates Brendan Smith, Kelsey Hay and Sam Mattis are also Heps favorites. Smith has the league's best time in the steeplechase so far of 8:53.42 and Mattis ranks among the national leaders with a school-record toss in the discus of 61.87 meters (203 feet). Hay has bested the rest of the Ivy League by no less than 11 feet with her best toss of the year - a school-record 48.78 meters (160-00 ft.).
Last year, sophomore Heather Bong earned a pair of second-team All-Ivy accolades, while junior Gabrielle Piper and freshman Kelsey Hay also earned second-team status for the women. On the men's side, Mattis won the Heps title with a meet-record toss in the discus and earned first-team All-Ivy status, while Maalik Reynolds garnered his sixth career All-Ivy accolade.
A full recap of the 2014 Outdoor Heptagonal Championships will be available at PennAthletics.com shortly after the completion of each day's events.