A great and increasing interest in athletics has lately been shown at the University of Pennsylvania. There is scarcely a branch in which a creditable showing has not been made. Pennsylvania's supremacy among the colleges in cricket is well known; this is a natural result of the location of the college in Philadelphia, where cricket is the popular game.
In foot-ball a very good showing was made a year ago last fall, as Harvard men can testify to, and it is probable that improvement will be made in this direction, as a regular trainer and coach has lately been procured for the eleven.
Boating matters are having a great boom at present, owing to the determination of the college to row its annual class race in eights instead of fours. Ward, the well known oarsman, is in charge of the crews, and coaches them in turn every afternoon. The Schuylkill river offers facilities for boating such as very few colleges possess.
The old assembly room of the university has been converted into a roomy and well equipped gymnasium. Frank Dole is in charge of this, and his instruction and supervision is doing much for the athletic men. Next year regular gymnasium work will be prescribed by the college, and much curiosity is felt to know the outcome of this innovation. The present gymnasium, though good, is merely temporary, as a plan is on foot to build a new and expensive one, which will rival the Hemenway; the ground has been chosen, and work will be begun as soon as the necessary funds are raised.
The attempt on the part of the university to gain admission to the intercollegiate base-ball league this year is an earnest of their confidence and ambition in this line, and from all appearances so far it looks as though they were not to be disappointed in their nine. They have twice this season defeated Amherst with ease, and are confident of their ability to do the same to Princeton.
At the new athletic grounds is a well turfed diamond, and behind it a comfortable, covered grand-stand. The quarter-mile track surrounding the field has been put into excellent condition, and the candidates for the Mott Haven team exercise on it daily under the direction of their trainer, Pennell. They have three first-class men, Page in the high jump, Faines in the mile run, and Kohler in the bicycle race. Several other candidates are promising well, and some of the most sanguine spirits think that Pennsylvania's chances for the inter-collegiate cup this year are fair to say the least.