Oak Knoll Track Athletes Invited to Historic Penn Relays

Last weekend, for only the second time in Oak Knoll history, our track and field athletes were invited to compete in the 800-meter relay at the historic Penn Relays. Though athletes have competed in the past due to individual qualification, this is a historical moment for external recognition from the country’s oldest and largest track and field competition — hosted annually since 1895 by the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. In addition to the 800-meter relay, Oak Knoll athletes also qualified to compete in the 4×800, 4×100, and 4×400 relay events. 

“I’m really proud of all of us,” said Zoe Boggier ’23, one of the team’s co-captains. Fellow co-captain Megan McCann ‘23 added, “Our team this year is really, really close and we’re all bonded. So I think it was honestly more exciting to go this year just because it’s just so much more special when you have that team atmosphere and everyone’s supporting each other.”

Oak Knoll athletes competed against the best of the best in terms of high school athletes — the majority of which will go on to compete in track and field at Division I schools and potentially compete as Olympic athletes or turn professional. Our competitive entourage included Zoe Boggier ’23, Katharine Cugno ’23, Ella Hennessy ’26, Megan McCann ’23, Heidi Pearce ’24, Ally Sparno ’26, and Anna Wojie ’25. The three-day event typically attracts more than 15,000 competitors from high schools, colleges, and track clubs throughout North America and abroad, including Jamaica, who compete in hundreds of events over a five day period.

“We did so well considering the conditions — during the weekend we competed, we dealt with freezing rain. It’s also very international. There were so many teams from Jamaica that were there and it was so fun to watch them run because they run these crazy times. We saw a girl’s 4×4 team also in high school, and one of the girls ran a 53 second 400 meter race — which is insane,” recalled Boggier. “We were cheering for them like they were our own, because it’s just really awesome to watch other girls doing that.”

“The real intensity of the competition only hit me afterwards. During the relay, I was just so excited to be there that I did my best, enjoyed myself, and gave it my all,” relayed Kate Cugno ‘23, the third co-captain of the team.

Track and Field Coach Mickey Cassu sums up the experience with an optimistic outlook for the blossoming program at Oak Knoll: “We don’t want to go down to a meet like the Penn Relays and embarrass ourselves. We are on a national stage there and it’s televised. We want to shine and Oak Knoll is right there now. Schools around here are recognizing how strong we are and that we are a force to be reckoned with.”

Stay tuned for our upcoming podcast with Coach Cassu and the Track and Field Team Captains as we discuss the evolution of Track and Field in general at Oak Knoll and the increasing importance it plays in the overall athletics program at the school.