Track & Field Posts Several Wins in Outdoor Debut

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PHILADELPHIA - On a sunny Saturday at historic Franklin Field, the University of Pennsylvania men's and women's track and field teams opened the 2015 outdoor season as hosts of the third annual Philadelphia College Classic.

Focused on the meet's distance events, the Quakers won the women's 3,000 meters and the men's 5,000 meters. Sophomore Cleo Whiting and junior Elysaa Gensib claimed the top two spots for the Penn women. The duo ran side-by-side and finished just steps apart with Whiting taking the title at 9:46.03 and Gensib as the runner-up at 9:46.69.

Junior Clark Shurtleff pulled out in front in the 5,000 meters to top a pack of Quakers with a winning time of 14:25.08. He was followed by sophomore Nick Tuck (14:28.35), senior Conner Paez (14:30.30), junior Thomas Awad (14:32.46) and junior Brendan Shearn (14:32.46), who rounded out the top five.

Another one of Penn's biggest highlights in the season-opening meet was the 1-2-3 finish in the women's 800 meters. Junior Taylor Hennig won the event with a time of 2:15.02 which was just in front of a pair of teammates. Freshman Gina Alm and Pauline Dabrowski nearly hit the finish simultaneously. Alm officially finished in 2:15.43 and Dabrowski was one-hundreth of a second behind.

The Penn men held on to win the 4x400-meter relay. The Quakers opened up a comfortable lead and then held off a La Salle on the final leg to win with a time of 3:25.55. In the same event, the women were a narrow runner-up as Big 5 counterpart Temple broke the tape at 3:55.86, while the Quakers finished in 3:56.56.

Penn finished one-two in the men's 100 meters. JuniorHarrison Scharf was the runner-up with a finish of 11.16, while teammate David Wyatt hit the finish line at 11.24.

Freshman Candace Taylor opened her first collegiate outdoor season with a victory. She ran to a finish of 25.24 to claim the top spot on the podium in the 200 meters.

In the field events, sophomore Sam Kaplan won the javelin on his final toss of the day, which landed at 56.84 meters (186 feet, 6 inches). Junior Sam Mattis won the discus for the Quakers. His final toss was also his best at 56.73 meters (186-01 ft.). And Marcus LaRoche made it a trio of winners for the Penn men with a winning toss of 15.83 meters (51-11.25 ft.) in the shot put.

Senior Jenny Thompson earned a win for the women in the triple jump. Her best leap was 11.42 meters (37-05.75 ft.). Meanwhile, in the shot put, Serena Graf topped teammate Taylor Hojnacki for the top spot with a toss of 12.62 meters (41-05 ft.). Hojnacki was second at 12.35 meters (40-06.25 ft.). Graf added a win in the hammer with a mark of 48.59 meters (159-09 ft.).

Sophomore Nailah Hill opened her outdoor season with a victory in the discus to help the Quakers sweep the event where Hojnacki was also second. Hill also saved her best for last with a final throw of 44.43 meters (145-09 ft.).

In the women's javelin, junior Kelsey Hay won the meet with her fifth toss, but eclipsed that on her final attempt to finish with a meet-best mark of 46.12 meters (151-04 ft.).

Also for the men, Ian Parnell was third in the 200 meters (22.53),Clark Mangini was fourth in the 400 meters (51.73) and Jonathan Goodson was fourth in the 800 meters (1:58.29).

This was the third annual Philadelphia College Classic at historic Franklin Field. It has become Penn'straditional outdoor opener and has expanded in its short history. In addition to all the Big 5 schools, several other local colleges competed at the meet for the second straight year.The Quakers host two other home meets at one of track and field's most renown facilities. The Quakers will serve as host of the world's oldest and largest relay carnival for the 121st consecutive year as well as the 2015 Outdoor Heptagonal Championships. The 121st edition of the Penn Relays is set for April 23-25, while Heps are set for May 9-10.

Next weekend, the Quakers will head to College Park, Md., for the Maryland Invitational on Saturday.