The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

It's that time of the year again, the time that every collegiate track and field superstar eagerly anticipates. Yesterday, the 104th running of the Penn Relay Carnival began on Franklin Field. For the Penn track team, which is showing itself to be the class of the Ivies during the outdoor season, the Relays gives it a chance to play host to nearly every one of the nation's top teams. "This is the largest track event in the world," Penn coach Charlie Powell said. "We had almost 18,000 people on the track last year. The Olympics don't even have 10,000." Recent excitement over the Penn Relays has been stirred by the announcement that Michael Johnson will be running with Jon Drummond, Allen Johnson and Maurice Greene for the Nike International Team in the 4x200 relay. Nevertheless, a few years ago a poll was conducted, and the results indicated that most fans truly come to see the high school and college students compete. Regardless of the reason, over 40,000 people should be in attendance to see one of the best event track events of the season. "It's exciting for me because I've never been in a meet where all these people are watching," freshman Andy Girardin, who is running the 800 meter leg of the distance medley, said. The fans will be treated to incredible competition, as Penn welcomes some of the best athletes from every top track and field program in the country to West Philadelphia for the weekend. Included in the field are Georgetown, the 1998 Indoor Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America (IC4A) Champions and Arkansas, the 1998 Indoor NCAA Champions. "You finally get a chance to go head-to-head against the nation," Powell said. "How often do we get to go against teams like Tennessee, Texas and TCU?" Yesterday the Quakers showed they belong in such esteemed company, as decathlete Eric Hyde set a number of personal bests as part of a fifth-place finish during the first day of competition. Hyde tallied 3,708 points, putting him fewer than 200 points behind Kutztown's Jeremy Culver, who posted a score of 3,899. Among Hyde's personal bests in the decathlon were his 100 meter time of 11.43, a throw of 12.17 meters in the shot put and 1.92 meters in the high jump. Last year the Quakers had top finishes in the jumping events, the 4x1500 relay and the sprint medley. Their greatest accomplishment, however, came from the IC4A 4x400 relay team, which won the race. Class of '97 graduate Greg Davis, seniors Mike Stiffler and Kael Coleman and junior Robin Martin broke the tape with a time of 3:10.31. According to the most recent schedule, which is subject to change, freshman Mike Aguilar will join Stiffler, Coleman and Martin in their quest to repeat as IC4A 4x400 meter winners. In order to defend their Championship Saturday, the team must first qualify Friday. "There are a lot of great teams like Pitt and Seton Hall," Martin said. "We're going to have to do our best just to be in it, but I like our chances." Along with the 4x400 meter relay, the 4xmile relay should highlight Penn's competition Saturday. The 4x100 meter relay, the sprint medley and the distance medley should be Friday's most competitive events on the track from a Penn standpoint. As always, Penn is expected to excel in the jumping events, led by senior Okinyi Ayungo, juniors Dan Nord, Stan Anderson and Rich Carlson and freshman Mike Wise. While the team stresses the importance of upcoming league championship meets, Penn's ability to compete and potentially beat the country's best athletes makes this meet one of the biggest thrills of the year.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.