Two Heps Titles, One School Record for Women's Track and Field

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PRINCETON, N.J. - Junior Kali Strother and senior Kathryn Gevitz each claimed individual Heptagonal championships for the University of Pennsylvania women's track and field team on Sunday and sophomore Paige Madison set a school record as the Quakers finished fifth as a team at the 2010 Outdoor Heptagonal Championships at Weaver Stadium in Princeton, N.J.

Strother became just the second Quaker to ever win the 400 meters Heps title, and one day after setting the school record in the long jump, Gevitz became the first Quaker since 1991 to win both the indoor and outdoor triple jump titles in the same year. In the 400-meter hurdles, Madison became the first Penn woman to ever break the one-minute barrier.

Cornell won the outdoor Heptagonal team championship with 146.5 points and was followed by Brown's 132 points. Penn finished with 86 points, which was far ahead of sixth-place Dartmouth's 38 points. The Quakers scored in 18 of the 23 events, which was bettered only by the champion Big Red who scored in 19 events.

Strother duplicated her feat from the preliminaries of the 400 meters. For the second straight day, she won decisively with a time of 54.02. The St. Louis, Mo., native posted that same time on Saturday to move into third-place in the school record books. With that performance in the finals, there was only one other competitor that was within a second of Strother. Sophomore Victoria Strickland also scored in the event as she finished sixth with her time of 56.86. Strickland had qualified for the event with the seventh-best time in school history of 56.05 in the qualifying run on Saturday. Penn's only other outdoor 400-meter titlist was Jesse Carlin in 2006.

Gevitz successfully defended her indoor triple jump championship with a career-best effort. On her final jump of the first round, the team co-captain moved into third-place in the Penn record books with a leap of 12.27 meters (40 feet, 3 1/4 inches). It moved her into first place heading into the finals and no competitor would top that mark the rest of the way. However, she left no doubt with her second leap in the finals. In a wind-aided attempt, she landed at 12.37 meters (40-07 ft.) to take home the title. It was the best triple jump performance for a Penn athlete since Karyn Smith set the school record at 13.15 meters in 1994. The last Quaker to win both Heps triple jump titles in the same year was Ruth Greenfield in 1991.

Madison obliterated the school record in the 400-meter hurdles. In accomplishing something that had never been done in program history, the Ann Arbor, Mich., native finished as the runner-up to a meet-record performance from Columbia's Kyra Caldwell. Madison easily broke the one-minute mark, finishing in 58.89 to top Dana McCurdy's record of 1:00.20 set in 2006.

Just about an hour prior to her record-breaking performance, Madison earned six points with a third-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles. Into a slight headwind, she finished in 14.39, the best time of her season and the second-fastest time of her career.

Senior Anna Aagenes experienced another close runner-up finish at the Heptagonal championships. She came within a second of the 1,500 meters title with her finish of 4:32.46. It was less than four-tenths of a second off the leader. Aagenes has now been a runner-up four times in her career at Heps.

Senior Amy Donovan scored for the Quakers in the discus with the sixth-best performance in school history. On her second toss of the finals, Donovan's discus landed at 42.26 meters (138-08 ft.). The toss not only moved her into the scoring as she finished sixth, but also marked the best effort for any Quaker in the event since 2005.

Freshman Morgan Wheeler finished fourth in the heptathlon. She entered the final three events in second-place and won the javelin with a toss of 39.40 meters (129-03 ft.) for 656 points. She opened the final day with a seventh-place long jump for 559 points and finished the day with a 10th-place finish in the 800 meters for 504 points, falling to fourth, but earning four points for Penn. Morgan's 4,453 points was just short of the mark needed to qualify for the ECAC Championships (4,500).

Sophomore Kristen Judge finished in a tie for third in the high jump. She cleared each of the first three bars without much trouble. In that time, Judge missed just once, but passed the bar on her second attempt at 1.67 meters (5-05.75 ft.).

Freshman Leah Brown earned three points for the Quakers. She was sixth in the 200 meters with her time of 24.71 and fifth in the 100 meters as she matched a career best with a finish of 12.09.

All three relays scored for the Quakers. The most impressive effort came from the 4x100-meter team that finished as the runner-up. The Quakers foursome of Renee McDougall, Strother, Madison and Brown came the closest to breaking Cornell's nine-year winning streak in the event with their time of 46.50.

The 4x400-meter relay team also served as a highlight for the Quakers. Massarelli, McDougall, Strother and Brown posted the fourth-fastest time in school history. They earned six points for the Red and Blue with a third-place finish of 3:42.92.

The 4x800-meter relay was sixth, earning one point with an ECAC qualifying time of 9:11.74.

On day one, Gevitz set the school record in the long jump and freshman Leslie Kovach came close to another one as five different members of the Red and Blue scored for the Quakers.

The season will continue for some members of the Red and Blue. Those that have qualified will participate in the ECAC Championships next weekend which also takes place at Princeton's Weaver Stadium.

Final Women’s Standings from Day 1:
1. Cornell, 146 1/2
2. Brown, 132
3. Columbia, 129
4. Princeton, 125 1/2
5. Penn, 86
6. Dartmouth, 38
7. Harvard, 33
8. Yale, 23