Alex Ryan

Leah Heckaman captured an individual crown and local product Seamus Collins clocked a personal-best time on the track as the first day of action at the 122nd Penn Relays came to a close late Thursday night at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pa. The first day, which was contested during periods of steady rain and dropping temperatures (low of 44 degrees during the night races), saw mainly women competing for the Bearcats as 13 different women competed in seven events compared to four men in three races.


– Early in the day, Leah Heckaman competed in the college division of the shot put and walked away with the victory, tossing the ball to 15.04m (49-04.25) to capture the crown. With the win, she becomes just the fourth Bearcat to win an event at the Penn Relays, joining teammate Rebecka Abrahamsson, who won the triple jump last year, and a pair of men in Ian Jarman (hammer, 2008) and Mike Yoder (decathlon, 2001). All victories came in the collegiate division.

– The distance medley relay smashed the school record as they completed the event in 11:53.49, bettering the previous record of 11:59.12 that was run in 1999 at the Penn Relays. The team of Alexis Anton (1,200m), Deanna Gesicki (400m), Sammy Hentz (800m) and Meg Westerheide (1,600m) combined to take down the record and continue a trend for the event at UC as a school record has been recorded in each of the five times it has been contested. Four times in the late 1990’s (1996-99), UC contested the event at the Penn Relays and bettered the time each successive time with the 1999 group of Svetlana Toulissova, Mary Danner, Michelle Bosse and Angie Kist combined to post the 11:59.12 mark, the first time a women’s DMR at UC had broken the 12-minute mark.

– In the championship shot put division, Annette Echikunwoke hit a mark of 15:56m (51-00.75) to finish sixth overall. Her mark tied her PR, which also stands as the third-best mark in program history.

– The championship division of the long jump saw a pair of Bearcats compete with Abrahamsson and Kellsa Mbah finishing eighth and ninth, respectively, in the event. Abrahamsson finished with a best of 5.79m (19-00.00) while Mbah, fresh off her school-record performance last weekend in much better conditions, posted a mark of 5.63m (18-05.75).

– The hammer competition saw Echikunwoke finish fifth in the championship division with a mark of 55.24m (181-02) after a pair of her teammates took part in the collegiate division. In the second competition, Nicole Breeden was the top Bearcats finisher as she took seventh overall with a toss of 50.49m (165-07) while Heckaman was 17th overall at 49.14m (161-02).

– The championship division of the pole vault was contested right as the temperatures and rain started falling with Alyssa McBride tying for fifth place after clearing 3.80m (12-05.50) on her first attempt. Freshman Brooke Catherine also was in the championship field, but was unable to clear the opening bar (3.80m).

– In the collegiate division of the high jump, Ashleigh Pickens cleared the opening two heights, finishing in a tie for 15th place with a best of 1.63m (5-04.25).

– The collegiate division of the discus had three Bearcats competing with Alexis Gray taking the top finish among the three as her toss of 41.58m (136-05) placed her 16th overall. Heckaman was 19th in the field with a best of 41.33m (135-07) while Breeden was 20th at 41.16m (135-00).



– Seamus Collins, a product of nearby West Chester, Pa., took to the track in his home area and clocked a time of 14:34.79 in the 5,000m run, which ranks as the seventh-fastest in UC history. Collins, who finished fourth in the third and final heat of the event, placed 37th overall. His all-time Top 10 mark also is the second of his career at UC as he also is No. 10 in the 1,500m run.

– Dan Huben finished 29th overall in the 3,000m steeplechase championship race, clocking in at 9:28.18 in the first of two heats. Ian Silver also competed in the event, but was unable to finish the race.

– In the final race of the night, which ended past midnight local, saw Toby Loveridge race in the 10,000m run, in which he finished 25th overall in 31:48.88.


The Penn Relays continue tomorrow (Friday) with the Bearcats competing in several relays and field events. The meet concludes Saturday.



Women’s Results

122nd Penn Relays – Day 1 (4/28/16)

Distance Medley Relay – Championship of America

  1. Cincinnati – 11:53.49 – UC RECORD

Anton (3:37.5), Gesicki (57.0), Hentz (2:17.4), Westerheide (5:01.3)


Long Jump – Championship Division

  1. Rebecka Abrahamsson – 5.79m (19-00.00)
  2. Kellsa Mbah – 5.63m (18-05.75)


High Jump – College Division

t15.    Ashleigh Pickens – 1.63m (5-04.25)


Pole Vault – Championship Division

t5.    Alyssa McBride – 3.80m (12-05.50)

–    Brooke Catherine – no height


Shot Put – Championship Division

  1. Annette Echikunwoke – 15.56m (51-00.75) – =PR & UC #3


Shot Put – College Division

  1. Leah Heckaman – 15.04m (49-04.25)


Discus – College Division

  1. Alexis Gray – 41.58m (136-05)
  2. Leah Heckaman – 41.33m (135-07)
  3. Nicole Breeden – 41.16m (135-00)


Hammer – Championship Division

  1. Annette Echikunwoke – 55.24m (181-02)


Hammer – College Division

  1. Nicole Breeden – 50.49m (165-07)
  2. Leah Heckaman – 49.14m (161-02)



Men’s Results

122nd Penn Relays – Day 1 (4/28/16)

3,000m Steeplechase – Championship Division
29.    Dan Huben – 9:28.18

–    Ian Silver – did not finish


5,000m Run – Championship Division

  1. Seamus Collins – 14:34.79 – PR & UC #7


10,000m Run – Championship Division

  1. Toby Loveridge – 31:48.88