PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Competing in the world's most-illustrious track meet other than the Olympics, the Quinnipiac women's outdoor track team posted two more school-records in what was an overall impressive outing on Thursday from the Penn Relays at Franklin Field. The Bobcats were led by an inspired effort from senior Andrea Szarkowicz (Watertown, Conn.) who completed her event with a Top-10 finish and new school record in the 3000m steeplechase while Quinnipiac's distance medley group also posted a new school-record on Thursday.
"It was a very exciting Day One," said Quinnipaic women's outdoor track head coach Carolyn Martin. "I was really proud of Andrea. It was her first race at Penn and in a crowded event like it was today, she handled it great!"
One of the most-impressive races of the season for the Bobcats came on Thursday with the performance of Szarkowicz in her signature event, the 3000m steeplechase. Already with one victory this season in the event at Fred Hardy Invitational, Szarkowicz put together her most-impressive run in her four years on the biggest stage possible. The previous school-record of 10:56.01 held by Morgan Roche was shattered on Thursday as Szarkowicz crossed the line in 10:47.13. Her time was good enough for ninth place and a Top-10 finish in the event as she was racing alongside 21 other competitors. Her showing at the Penn Relays bested her previous personal-best by nearly 20 full seconds as she finished ahead of competitors from prestigious track programs such as South Carolina, Duke, Yale and West Virginia.
Another positive on the day was the performance of the distance medley grouping of hometown senior Rachel Morelli (Philadelphia, Pa.), freshman Shameal Samuels (Hartford, Conn.), senior Hannah Donadio (Killingworth, Conn.) and freshman Tracy Campbell (Wall Township, N.J.). The pack of Bobcats put together a sensational race that clocked in at 12:05.20, good enough for the best recorded time in program history a distance medley race. The previous record of 12:05.67 had stood since April 21, 2006 as this group finished 13th overall on Thursday, just behind track powerhouses Johns Hopkins, Cornell and Western Michigan. Boston College posted the best time of the 15 programs competing in the event with a time of 11:24.37.
The Penn Relays is the oldest and largest track and field competition in the United States, hosted annually since 1895 by the University of Pennsylvania at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pa. There are over 115 events scheduled for the three-day meet that is attracting more than 15,000 participants from high schools, colleges, and track clubs throughout North America and abroad, notably Jamaica.
With two more records falling on Thursday, the Quinnipiac women's outdoor track team now has posted 14 record-breaking performances in nine different events this season. They are slated to compete in the sprint medley championship on Friday and the 4 x 800m relay on Saturday from Philadelphia.
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