Track & Field Starts Strong in Home Opener

PHILADELPHIA – You couldn’t have asked for a better day, as the University of Pennsylvania men’s and women’s track and field teams opened the outdoor season on Saturday afternoon by hosting the Philadelphia College Classic in sun and 60 degree weather at Franklin Field. To start the season, the Quakers set two new records in the men’s and women’s discuss with throws from Sam Mattis and freshman Nailah Hill.

Mattis previously held the discus record, which he set in 2013, at a distance of 58.34m. This afternoon, he threw the discus 59.94m and now holds the top two spots in the record books. It was a good day in the discus for the women as well as Hill bumped off the top throw of 45.46m, which was recorded by Monica Maccani back in 2001. Hill took the top spot with 45.82m.

Both the men and women also had strong performances in the other throwing events.

Jacob Brenza took first in the hammer throw with a final distance of 50.05m, second in the shot put with a throw of 16.43, and third in the discus with a throw of 48.62. In the javelin, Karl Ingram captured first place with his throw of 61.34m.

For the women, Penn took first in shot put, hammer, and javelin. Serena Graf recorded a throw of 12.97m in the shot put, currently the ninth best throw in the record books, for first place. She also took first in the Hammer with a distance of 50.64m. Graf took second in the javelin with 42.69m.

First in javelin was Kelsey Hay, who bested her own record (47.37m), with a throw of 47.42m which is now the second best in the books. Hay also took second place in the shot put with a distance of 11.89m.

Over at the jumping pits, Jordan Jet took first in the triple jump with a best distance of 14.07m, while Jenny Thompson also captured first place with her jump of 11.40m. Gilliam Berger added an additional top finish with her long jump recorded at 5.38m.

At the track, Brandon Senior was back on the track and ready to compete, after making a full recovery from injuries which made him unable to race in the fall and winter. Senior had a standout return with his time of 22.34 seconds for a first place victory in the 200 meters.

Several of the athletes were competing in secondary events, to prepare for future competitions, such as the men’s 3000 meter. A race that is not normally on the schedule for the men, runners from the Red and Blue competed to prepare for either the 1500 meter or the 5000 meter, later this season. Setting the pace was sophomore Thomas Awad, who finished first with a time of 8:25.78. The Quakers rounded out the top ten and completed the race within a span of 19 seconds after Awad.

The women running for the Red and Blue in the 3000 meter also stayed in a close pack at the front until the last lap, when La Salle’s Taylor Hackett took the lead. However, freshman Ashley Montgomery was ready to battle her for the win as the two ran neck and neck until Montgomery edged her out in the last 100 meters. Montgomery finished the race in 10:01.18. Penn also took third, fourth, fifth, and sixth place.

In the 400 meters, the Quakers took the top four spots with Taylor Hennig winning first with a time of 58.80 seconds.

Penn will be back in action next weekend when the teams travel for the Raleigh Relays in Raleigh, N.C.

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