Track and Field team competes at Penn Relays

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    The track and field team is ready to compete at the Penn Relays in its final meet before the Mountain West Conference Outdoor Championships.

    More than 1,000 teams would compete at the three-day meet at Franklin Field on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. The Penn Relays are known as the oldest and largest track & field competition in the nation.

    “Penn Relays is a great place for us to go up and compete against some of the nation’s best teams,” assistant coach Nic Petersen said. “It’s always good for us to go up there and gauge how we stack up against some the nation’s best teams and individual athletes.”

    Top ranked teams competing at the 2012 Penn Relays are Auburn, Arkansas, Central Florida, Clemson, Florida State, Indiana, Kansas State, LSU, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Virginia, Virginia Tech, according to GoFrogs.com.

    TCU would be the only MWC team at the Penn Relays. The Horned Frogs would compete in 27 events at the meet.

    “First and foremost to win. I would like to break the record again, get a personal best outdoors because this season has been a little slow for me,” senior Whitney Gipson said. “Just get back on top and work on my form and everything.”

    Last season, Gipson became the first female in program history to win the women’s long jump at the 2011 Penn Relays, breaking the meet and Franklin Field record in the process.

    She jumped a 22 feet, 11 ½ inches to earn the longest leap in the 117 years of the Penn Relays by any female. 

    Along with Gipson, freshman Lorraine Ugen, is another top ranked long jumper in the NCAA. Both Frogs have posted the two longest distances in NCAA competition this season.

    On the men’s side, junior Charles Silmon is tied for fifth in the nation in the 100-meter dash with freshman Aaron Ernest of LSU who is the highest ranked sprinter at the competition, according to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association rankings.

    “We need to be tough and get out there and stick our nose in the competition because we got the athletes that are capable of competing against some of the nation’s best teams and we just have to go out there and do it,” Petersen said.