The women’s team has a legitimate shot at sweeping all three distance relays if they have enough in the tank. Three of the top-10 finishers in the one-mile run at this year’s NCAA Indoor Championship were from Oregon. Despite missing star Jordan Hasay, a squad of Anne Kesselring, Becca Friday and Megan Patrignelli, will prove difficult to beat in whichever event they end up running.
Bubba Thorton is bringing up the big guns up north. Thorton called All-American Ryan Crouser, who has thrown 59.58 meters (195 feet, 6 inches) in the discus, “probably the future of throws in America.” Marquise Goodwin will also aid the Longhorns in the jumps. Goodwin has reached 7.93 meters (26 feet, 1/4 inch) in the long jump and finished third at Indoor NCAAs this year.
Women’s 4×100-meter relay
One of the most electrifying races at the Relays, the women’s 4×100m will feature four legitimate contenders for the top spot. Louisiana State, led by Kimberly Duncan, boasts the nation’s top time at 42.59 seconds and will face off against Southeastern Conference rival Texas A&M who finished second to the Tigers at the Texas Relays just a few weeks ago. Look for Central Florida and Oregon to challenge for the top spot.
Men’s 4×800-meter relay
Two-time defending champion Viriginia was well on its way to a third consecutive title, when it lost star runner Robbie Andrews, who turned professional in the middle of the season to focus his efforts on qualifying for the 2012 Olympics. Without Andrews, Virginia has withdrawn, leaving the field wide open for Penn State and Texas A&M. They will be challenged by a trio of Ivy schools including Columbia, Princeton and Cornell.
The sophomore from Oregon just missed a medal and spot as an All-American with a 10th-place finish at NCAA Indoor Championships. “I think we are strongest in the 4×800m and 4xMile,” Oregon coach Vin Lananna said. Dunbar has clocked in the 1500 meters at 3:43.13.
The hometown favorite, the senior from Villanova is coming off a career-best performance in the 5000-meters. She destroyed her personal best by 14 seconds in the Mt. San Antonio College Relays and broke a school record that had stood for over 20 years. A Big East and NCAA Champion in cross country, Reid has never had the vintage performance at the Penn Relays that many have expected of her.
HS Boys 400 Intermediate Hurdlers
Five of the U.S.’s top six intermediate hurdlers will be on hand at Penn Relays and all happen to be from the tri-state area. Led by Jeremiah Oben-Agyapong from Dewitt Clinton, N.Y., the runners will take on two talented internationals Javarn Gallimore of Jamaica and Tsegofatso Mathopa of South Africa. It will take a sub-53 effort to win it.
The senior has owned New Jersey track and field for four years and will finally get her chance to win a watch. From nearby Neptune, N.J., Wilson ran a personal best 4:28.59 at Princeton’s Sam Howell Invitational just three weeks ago. “Before this year, I haven’t run a 1,500 since my freshman year,” she told the Star Ledger. “I’m happy with it. It was a PR.” She should be primed for 4:45 finish in the HS Girls Mile.
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