The track teams placed first in Saturday’s Big 5 meet.
Entering the first meet of the outdoor season, members of the men’s and women’s track and field teams said they saw Saturday’s Big 5 meet at Franklin Field as a way to gauge their progress as they transition to the outdoor season.
Both teams had a solid showing on Saturday as both had two first place finishes. Coach Eric Mobley said he would use the match to evaluate his team’s rosters.
“They’ve been receptive; we’ve been working a little harder and [are] more focused,” Mobley said. “This is a good meet to see how people are.”
For the men’s team, senior Bob Keogh dominated the hammer throw, as his 59.07-meter distance was almost 12 meters better then the second place finisher. Junior Brian Littlepage edged out Penn freshman Jake Brenza by fewer than two meters to capture first place in the discus throw.
Keogh continues to improve on his distance from last season as he finished with a season-best 58.23m at the Atlantic Ten Conference championships. With an influx of underclassmen on the roster, the senior from Archbishop Wood high school is one of the upperclassmen Mobley said he will rely on as a leader this season.
“We’re very young [and] it’s important for the upperclassmen to show how to become adjusted [and how] to focus on their academics,” Mobley said.
For the women’s team, sophomore Victoria Gocht nipped Penn junior Victoria Strickland in the 800-meter, winning by .24 seconds. Freshman teammates Ambrosi Iwugo and Gennie Depass finished in the Top 2 of the 200, with Iwugo capturing first with a time of 25.17 with Depass finishing in second.
“There’s definitely a difference between the women’s and men’s,” Mobley said. “The women have more depth.”
Although her top event is the 400, senior standout Paris Williams competed in one personal event on Saturday, the 800.
Williams said she hopes to record personal bests in each event this season, as she plans to run the 200 and the 4×400 relay, as well.
She also said that qualifying for the NCAA Championships at the end of the season is not out of reach. Williams said she wasn’t satisfied with the way the outdoor season ended.
“We did pretty well, but it didn’t end the way we wanted to, and we’re working hard to change that,” Williams said.
Both the men’s and women’s 4×100 relays finished in second place on Saturday behind Penn. The men finished with a time of 42.15, 1.1 seconds behind first, and the women finished in 48.92, almost a second behind first place. The 4×400 relays were not as successful in the first meet of the season, as the men finished in seventh and the women in fifth.
Junior Travis Mahoney said he couldn’t believe he was already an upperclassman but is excited to be someone that younger members can look up to. The distance runner finished in second place in the 1500 to Columbia senior Matt Stewart.
Mobley said Mahoney is close to breaking the school’s one-mile record set by George Steinbron in 1984 with a time of 4:05.5. Last season, Mahoney finished in the Top 15 at the A-10 Championships before moving on to the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America championships where he finished in 20th place in the steeplechase.
Mahoney said he puts in a lot of work at the track, which as a distance runner often keeps him there much longer then some of his teammates.
“Usually we’re doing five or six miles of work, and we can be there for a while,” Mahoney said.
Both teams will travel to William & Mary in Virginia for the Colonial Relays on April 1.
Matthew Breen can be reach at email@example.com.