The Weekend for Penn… Sophomores find distance Glory – Thursday night’s Distance Night proved to be one of the high points for the Quakers as the team got two solid performances — one from the men and one from the women. Sophomore Leslie Kovach smashed Penn’s 50,000-meter record by nine seconds, finishing in fourth with a time of 16:11.59. On the men’s side, Luke Grau's sixth-place finish in the same event was the highlight of the evening. His superb run of 14:12.21 puts him at No. 7 on Penn’s all-time fastest list.
Morgan Wheeler continues her ascent – The freshman from Poestenkill, N.Y., continued her meteoric rise up the Penn record board and now claims the fifth-best javelin throw of all-time. Her 43.02m (141 feet and one inch) bomb was the 13th-best throw of the day.
Men’s 4x800m and 4x400m ready themselves for championship season – Two men's relays posted solid times as they ready themselves for the Heptagonal championships. After tying the school record last year at the IC4A championships, the 4x800 relay came close to eclipsing the mark. With Robby Harwood filling in for the graduated Kevin Kiley, the relay ran a solid 4:26.66. Sophomore Matt Chylak, Brian Fulton and Darryll Oliver, who were all on last year’s relay team, kept near the front pack throughout the race before eventually finishing third in the 4x800m College Relay with a time of 7:26.66. The 4x400 relay ran the second fastest time of any Heptagonal school. The Penn team of Seck Barry, Allante Keels, Darryll Oliver and Brian Rosenthal would win their heat, stopping the clock at 3:16.64. Only Princeton, which competed in the IC4A division instead of the Heptagonal, posted a better time at 3:08.71.
Women’s sprint relays show off quality – Penn’s 4x100 relay continued their outstanding performances. The team has consistently been posting sub-47 times, and this weekend was no exception. The team of Paige Madison, Kali Strother, Leah Brown and Gabi Piper hit 46.83 during heats and 46.73 during the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference finals. The team is looking to break the record of 46.03, which was set last year. In the 4x200 relay Nony Onyeador replaced Madison, and Penn posted a strong time of 1:40.33. The time ranks this squad in the top-five all-time for the team and shows the depth of Penn sprinters.
Around the Track... Texas A&M; Women dominate the field – Texas A&M; won three sprint relays and almost made it a clean sweep. The Aggies won the Shuttle Hurdles, 4x100, the 4x200 and got a third-place finish in the 4x400. Incredibly they were leading the 4x400 during the third leg when a dropped baton sent them scrambling.
USA vs. the World is a tie – Much of the prerace buzz around Penn Relays is its early-season testing ground for Olympic athletes. A thrilling battle in the Women’s 4x400 saw 400m Olympic bronze medalist Sanya Richards-Ross of USA Red hold off the USA Blue’s Monica Hargrove and Jamaica’s Kaliese Spencer. The USA and Jamaica traded wins in the 4x100. A star-studded lineup of Lauryn Williams, Allyson Felix, Marshevet Myers and Carmelita Jeter got the baton around the oval in a meet record 42.28 while Asafa Powell, Michael Frater, Nesta Carter and Steve Mullings of Jamaica proved to be too much, easing to a 38.43 win. In the Distance Medley Relay even Olympians Bernard Lagat and Leo Manzano couldn’t help the USA as they finished third to Morocco and Australia.
Great finishes on great days – After the mess that was the weather on Thursday, Friday and Saturday proved to be great weather for track and field. On Friday, Boston College’s Caroline King made up 30 meters in the final lap of the 4x1500 to help the Eagles’ to their first Championship of America title at Penn Relays. In the 4x800, Virginia sophomore Robbie Andres came from behind and split 1:46.0 to help the Cavaliers defend their title while posting the second fastest time in meet history.
Highlights from High School – Shot-putter Nick Vena from Morristown, N.J., won his fourth consecutive Penn Relays watch when he unleashed a 72-foot 9.25-inch bomb, which broke his own Penn Relays record. Long Beach Poly, Calif., became the first school from the United States to capture the women's 4x100 since 2003. Jamaica's Ristanna Tracey ran a 2:03 leg in helping Edwin Allen run 8:40 in the 4x800, good for the second best all-time for a high school team. Jordan Yamoah defended his boys pole vault championship and in the process set a Relays record, clearing 16-feet 6.5-inches. Jamaica's Travis Smikle of Calabar destroyed the meet record in the discus throwing 228-feet 2-inches.
Golden Oldies – The Relays isn’t just for high school, college and Olympic athletes. Two more world records were set in the masters division. The first was in the 100-meter dash for athletes 75 years or older. Bobby Whilden of Houston Elite Track Club sped down the track in 13.68 winning by more than a second and a half. In the Master’s 4x400 for men 40 and older, the Southwest Sprinters got the baton around in 3:28.13 eclipsing the previous record by a half second.
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