Women's Track and Field Heads to Heps This Weekend

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PHILADELPHIA – Coming off a first-place team finish at the Millrose Collegiate Invitational, the University of Pennsylvania women's track and field team is set to make an impact at the 2012 Heptagonal Indoor Championships at Cornell's Barton Hall in Ithaca, N.Y., Feb. 25-26.

The Ivy League championship meet begins at 1 p.m. Saturday with the start of the pentathlon and ends that day at 6:30 p.m. It starts again on Sunday at 11 a.m. with the high jump and ends at 3:55 p.m. with the 4x400-meter relay. The awards ceremony will be at 4:15 p.m. on Sunday.

At Heps, only the top-six finishers score in each event. Entering this weekend’s competition, Penn has seven marks ranking in the top six of the Ivy League. Among them is sophomore Gabrielle Piper who has two results appearing among the top four in the Ivies. Piper is fourth in the 60 meters, with a time of 7.65 from the Millrose Collegiate Invitational and is also fourth in the Ivies in the 60-meter hurdles with her 8.75 time at the 2012 New Balance Collegiate Invitational. Another teammate is well-ranked in the 60 meters. Freshman Lydia Ali is ranked fifth with her 7.66 time at the 11th Annual Bison Opener in December.

Senior Victoria Strickland is ranked third in the 500 meters with her season-best time of 1:14.26 from the Penn State National Invitational. Fellow senior Renee McDougall posted the fifth-best 400 meters with a time of 56.31 at the Armory in January.

Two of Penn’s relay teams have also landed among the projected scorers at Heps. The 4x400-meter relay consisting of McDougall, Ali, Strickland and Paige Madison is ranked third with their 3:47.11 performance at the Penn State National Invitational. The 4x800-meter relay team is ranked sixth.

In the field events, Penn has three top-six performers. For the high jump, both freshman Annie Holland and senior Kristen Judge are tied for third with identical jumps of 1.70 meters (5 feet, 7 inches). In the pole vault, junior Jillian Hart is ranked fifth in the league with a 3.70-meter vault at the 2012 New Balance Collegiate Invitational.

Last year at the 2011 Indoor Heps, the Quakers placed seventh with 27.33 points. Princeton won the meet with 128 points. Piper earned four points for the Quakers with a performance in the 60-meter hurdles which put her in second place in the Penn record books, and a career-best time in the 60 meters of 7.69 which she has topped this year (7.65). Madison scored in the 400 meters with a fourth-place finish and aided the 4x400-meter relay to a sixth-place finish. Judge scored in the high jump, tying for fourth place, while Catherine Okoukoni and Morgan Wheeler also scored for the Quakers. Wheeler was third in the heptathlon, and Okoukoni was second in the long jump and sixth in the triple jump.

A full recap of the 2012 Intdoor Heptagonal Championships will be available at PennAthletics.com shortly after the completion of each day's events.