The 2014 Penn Relays had everything you could ask for: dramatic finishes, record setting performances and a number of impressive victories by the hosts.
Penn’s performance was one for the record books. The Quakers featured three athletes that took individual titles, the first time since 1922 Penn did so.
Then-freshman Noel Jancewicz showed no signs of inexperience in her first heptathlon at the Relays with the Quakers, capturing the event with a score of 5053 — the third best total in Penn history. The victory made her the third woman in Quakers’ history to take the heptathlon title at the Penn Relays.
Freshmen continued to impress on that Thursday, as Cleo Whiting submitted a top-10 performance in the women’s 3,000-meters, while Brendan Shearn ran the third-fastest 10,000-meter race in program history.
On top of the infusion of youth success, Penn’s seniors also found success in their final go-round at the relays.
Veteran Kersie Jhabvala capped off her career with a 35:12.05 in the 10,000m, the second-best mark all-time for the event in the Penn record books.
Even more impressive was Maalik Reynolds, who — with his winning 2.19-meter leap — became the first Penn high jumper in 107 years to claim multiple titles at the Penn Relays. Reynolds, who holds the school record for both indoor and outdoor high jump, took his first title in the 2010 Relays.
The Saturday of the spectacle also featured a historic performance from then-sophomore distance runner Thomas Awad. He triumphed in the Olympic Development mile with a time of 3:58.34 to become the second Penn athlete to ever break the four-minute mark.
The first-place finish further bolstered Awad’s remarkable resume as a Penn athlete, as the East Norwich, N.Y., native already held the program record in the outdoor 5,000m race.
After the race, Awad applauded his team’s efforts on the season and hinted at even greater things to come.
“We’re coming through this season, and we’re looking to be a force to reckon with in the future,” Awad said at the time.
Other notable Penn performances came from then-sophomore Sam Mattis — who finished second in the discus — and the men’s 4x800m relay team, whose 7:30.14 mark also resulted in a runner-up finish.
Yet as one of the world’s largest track meets, the 120th edition of the Penn Relays also featured a great deal of events that didn’t involve the Red and Blue, including the USA vs. The World men’s 4x100m relay on Saturday.
Despite the absence of star Usain Bolt, the Jamaican squad led the Americans by a good distance early on before the United States climbed to within striking distance heading into the final lap. Down the stretch, anchor Walter Dix ran a blazing final leg and eclipsed Jamaica’s Oshane Bailey by 0.02 seconds at the finish line to give the Americans a thrilling victory.
With highlights from last year in mind, if the 121st Relays are anything like last year’s event, fans of track and field will be in for a hell of a weekend at Franklin Field.
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