Women's Track Heads to Heptagonal Championships

The women’s track and field team looks to turn some heads this weekend at the 2006 Ivy League Heptagonal Championships in Hanover, N.H. The Quakers finished third at the cross country championships last fall, their best finish since 1991, and hope to continue their upward climb in the Ancient Eight this weekend.

“This is going to be a great meet,” Head Coach Gwen Harris said. “There are some extremely strong teams in the League and everyone has tremendous athletes. In order to be a contender in this League you there are certain things you need to do to be a contender and hopefully we are doing the right things. Anything can happen at this meet and you have to be ready to compete.”

So far this season, the Red and Blue have put up some great marks and have already rewritten the top-10 list. A group of sophomores and juniors spearhead this talented group, but strong leadership and depth will help them become one of the top teams in the League.

Sophomore Jesse Carlin broke her own record in the 400m, while classmate Shaunee Morgan broke Penn’s 20-year old 200m record. Junior Christina Morrison posted a new top mark in the 1,000m and classmate Jeanette Curtis broke her own record in the 60m hurdles. Fourteen new times have been added in all this winter and more are sure to come during ‘championships season.’

Morgan’s school record of 24.95 is second behind last year’s 200m champion Joslyn Woodard of Yale (24.68). Carlin is second in the 400m in the League and Morgan is fourth. Sophomore Brittany Middlebrooks could be a factor in the sprints as well.

Morrison is third best in the 800m and is a serious threat in that event. Sophomores Stacy and Claire Kim led the cross country team this fall and have continued to dominate the middle distance and distance events this winter. Claire took ninth in the mile last year and will look to move into scoring position this year. Stacy improved her mile time to 4:54.36 earlier this season and could be a factor in one of several distance events. Sophomore Jamie Liberti and Kinjal Parikh entered their names into the Penn top-10 in the 3,000m and 1,000m, respectively, and along with rookie Leah Brogan could come up with some points in the distance events for the Red and Blue.

Junior Jeannette Curtis, who broke her own record in the 60m hurdles earlier this season, looks to improve upon her second-place finish in 2005. Her time is currently best in the League. Classmate Shani Boston was second in the pentathlon last year and her mark of 3,301 from the Penn State Multi Meet in January is third thus far.

Rookie Whitney Tagliavini put her name in the Penn annals with a leap of 5.8m (19-.25). That mark is third in the League and the sixth best in Penn history. Boston could also be a contender in the long jump, high jump or shot put. Her mark in the shot is fifth best in the Ancient Eight and her 5-3 high jump is tied for ninth with teammate Courtney Hilts. Junior Jerrie Kumalah will look to score points in both the long and triple jump.

Speaking of the shot put, senior captain Charity Payne looks to defend her title after winning the event in 2005. Her throw of 44-8 is third in the League and just two inches back of leader Maria Telloni of Cornell.

Payne has the 10th best mark in the weight throw, while junior Catrina Chisholm is eighth in the event.

In the relays, the Quakers have the second best time in the 4x400m relay, less than four seconds behind Cornell. Penn’s 4x800m relay time is the fourth best but the Quakers have only run that relay twice this season.

Penn will travel to Hanover, N.H. this weekend for the 2006 Heptagonal Championships. Competition will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 25 and continue Sunday, Feb. 26 at 10:30 a.m. For complete results log on to the Ivy League web site. A full recap of Penn’s performances will appear on the Penn Athletics web site at the conclusion of competition each day.