Shani Boston has been one of the most versatile performers in the history of the Penn women's track and field program.

The senior has excelled in the pentathlon and heptathlon. In 2004, as an up-and-coming freshman, she won the Penn Relays heptathlon. She became only the second Quaker to earn a championship in the event.

At this year's Penn Relays, Boston will take part in the long jump and shot put. To conserve energy, she chose not to participate in the heptathlon, a grueling event in which participants compete in seven events over two days.

Boston said she would try for a heptathlon title at the Ivy League championships May 5-6 at Princeton University.

"It's disappointing not to be in the heptathlon at the Penn Relays," said Boston, who was fourth in the heptathlon last year. "But with the way our schedule is set up, it's not a good time for me to compete in it."

The heptathlon, which started Tuesday at the 113th Penn Relays, was won yesterday by redshirt sophomore Gayle Hunter of Penn State.

The hep is a major endurance challenge. The first-day events are the 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200 meters. The second-day events are the long jump, javelin and 800 meters.

At last month's Wake Forest Open, Boston totaled 5,076 points en route to the heptathlon title. (Hunter's winning point total at Franklin Field, by comparison, was 5,606.)

Boston's total at Wake Forest earned her a provisional qualifying berth at the NCAA championships, scheduled for June 6-9 in Sacramento, Calif.

"You need speed and endurance, and you have to be able to stay focused over two days," said Boston, a 22-year-old Atlanta native.

Today at 1:15 p.m., the 5-foot-10 Boston will compete in the shot put. Her personal-best throw, set last weekend at the Larry Ellis Invitational at Princeton, is 45 feet 61/4 inches. The long jump is scheduled for soon after, at 4 p.m. She had a personal-best leap of 18-9 at the Wake Forest Open.

At the Larry Ellis Invitational, Boston finished fourth in the shot put, sixth in the 100 hurdles (14.90 seconds) and 14th in the 200 (26.44).

Contact staff writer Rick O'Brien at 610-313-8019 or robrien@phillynews.com.