Two of the most accomplished Penn athletes of the last decade continued to make their mark on the national stage.
At the 2023 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in July, both Nia Akins Nu’20 GNu’20 and Sam Mattis W’16 brought home titles.
In a thrilling race at Eugene, Oregon’s Hayward Field, Akins came from behind and outkicked Olympic medalist Raevyn Rogers on the final straightaway to win the 800-meter national championship in 1:59.50. Akins, a record-setting middle-distance runner during her time at Penn, had already won the USA indoor 800 title in February and qualified for the US team that will compete at the World Athletics Championship in Budapest in late August (held after this magazine went to press).
Mattis also qualified for Worlds by winning the men’s discus title with a throw of 216 feet, 3 inches (65.93 meters). It was the second US title for Mattis, who captured one in 2019 and also won the 2015 NCAA championship while at Penn.
Mattis came in eighth place in the discus at the last Summer Olympics [“Quakers in Tokyo,” Sep|Oct 2021] and has said he has his sights set on another Olympic run in 2024. —DZ