With the Women's USA vs. the World 4x100m relay streaking by and 40,000 fans whooping away, Penn freshman Maalik Reynolds was unfazed in the men's college high jump Championship of America.
The standout rookie leaped to 2.22 meters, one centimeter shy of his personal best, but enough to earn himself first place at Penn Relays Saturday.
"It's really great. It's really good to come out freshman year and do something I can be proud of," Reynolds said.
"The whole atmosphere got my adrenaline running."
Reynolds said this was by far the biggest crowd he had ever competed in front of. With his championship, he is the first Penn high jumper to win at the Penn Relays since 1955.
His title was not without some difficulty — at 2.19m he failed to clear the bar twice before advancing on his third and final try. After securing the championship he tried twice at 2.26, but couldn't beat his personal and Penn record.
"It's always great to do something well in your house," said men's track and field coach Charlie Powell. "It's great to give something back to the crowd and back to Penn."
Reynolds has won five competitions in the last five weeks, but hasn't seen competition like what he faced at the Penn Relays.
"That's gotta give him a lot of confidence going into the NCAA championships and then the USAs and hopefully the Pan-Ams," Powell said. "He's a wonderful kid."
"The sky's the limit for some guys like that."
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