Westman Gives Penn First Decathlon Crown Since 1932

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PHILADELPHIA – Senior Max Westman became the first member of the University of Pennsylvania men’s track and field team to win the Penn Relays decathlon since 1932. The Bala Cynwyd, Pa., native won the two-day event Wednesday at Franklin Field with 6,842 points.

Westman’s win marked the first for a Penn athlete in the event since George A. Munger did so 77 years ago. The event has been a part of the Relays 49 times, starting in 1915, but with a hiatus from 1933-1978. Former Quaker Fred Samara won the event during during its hiatus as an unofficial event on several occassions. No other school can claim more decathlon champions than the host Quakers – though Mount St. Mary’s has matched the nine titles won by the Red and Blue.

"I just feel really proud that after all the hard work something goes right," Westman said. "This year, finally being able to (compete), as a senior, it makes me really happy. I had a lot of my friends here cheering me on and had a lot of support from my family. It felt great."

Penn Assistant Coach Jamie Cook is a two-time Penn Relays decathlon champion (1997 and 1998) and was the coach to Westman throughout the event.

"It is gratifying to see someone win an event with a strong history like the Penn Relays," Cook said. "I'm happy for Max. He's a great kid. He's worked hard athletically and academically and he deserves it, and hopefully it leads to even better things for the rest of the year."

Westman, who qualified for the IC4A Championships with his winning effort, held on to defeat Matt Joseph of RIT (6,388 points) and Anya Uzoh of Penn State (6,223).

Penn's 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships decathlon qualifier led the field after day one with 3,493 points in the first five events. His best point-tally on the day was in the 400 meters where he finished in a time of 50.48, gathering 784 points in a second-place finish. Also on Tuesday, the Lower Merion product was the only competitor to surpass 700 point in the long jump with an event winning leap of 6.58 meters (21 feet, 7 ¼ inches).

Westman maintained the first day advantage after the 110-meter hurdles and extended his lead with a win in the discus. His throw of 43.34 meters (142-02 ft.), gave him 733 points in the event. And after finishing second in the pole vault and accumulating 639 more points in his win in the javelin (53.42 meters), Westman had all but wrapped up the title heading into the 1,500 meters.

The rest of the Quakers will begin competition at the 115th running of the Penn Relays on Thursday.