Penn Relays is the most-hyped event of Penn Athletics’ calendar every year. So far, the Relays’ 124th edition has lived up to the occasion, with a number of highlights through day two.
A number of Penn track and field athletes have competed to varying degrees of success. While some have walked away feeling disappointed, the team has also scored its second relay win in three years after a 42-year title drought.
On Friday afternoon, the men’s and women's squads fielded their best 4x100-meter relay teams — and though the men were bounced in Friday's qualifying heats, the women qualified for the second-tier championship in the event following their qualifying performance on Thursday.
For the men, on the third handoff between sophomore Kyle Oden and junior Calvary Rogers, a dropped baton meant that the much-anticipated sprint team would be disqualified from competing in Saturday afternoon's finals.
“He reached out, but he just couldn’t get it to me,” Rogers said. “But that’s alright. We’ve all messed up in the 4x1 this year, and we’ve just got to be better next week at Heps.”
Just ten minutes later, however, the women would make up for the men’s disappointment in extraordinary fashion.
In the women’s 4x100m college championship, the Quakers found themselves up against stiff competition, including Ivy League rivals Cornell and ACC powerhouse Notre Dame. Having just missed out on the "Championship of America" final [the highest tier] by finishing tenth in Thursday’s heats, though, the team of Barbara Biney, Taylor McCorkle, Camille Dickinson, and Cecil Ene stood tall as favorites when the gun went off in the college championship.
A tight race saw no leader emerge throughout, however, and just two hundredths of a second separated Ene (45.42) from Notre Dame’s Kyra Lewis (45.44) at the finish line. After a moment’s deliberation, the Quakers celebrated, having won their first relay race since the men’s 4xMile in 2016 and just their second in 44 years.
The race was Penn’s highlight of 2018’s Penn Relays so far, but Thursday night also featured a pair of historic performances.
In the women’s 3000m championship, freshman Danielle Orie and senior Abby Hong raced to school-record and second-best times of 9:23.22 and 9:24.28, respectively, to finish third and fourth in the event. The pair finished just ahead of Orie’s twin sister, Gabrielle Orie of Cornell, to give the Quakers a high-flying start to the weekend.
Another third-place finish for Penn came on Friday afternoon, when the women’s 4x100 shuttle hurdles squad, anchored by sophomore Elena Brown-Soler, set a new all-time Ivy League record in the event with a time of 56.43. The Quakers came third in the Championship of America race, finishing just behind powerhouses Notre Dame and South Carolina, which ran in a separate heat.
Later on Friday, a number of Penn athletes sought to extend their weekends into Saturday by qualifying through preliminary sprint rounds. Rookie Marvin Morgan and senior Taylor McCorkle both qualified for the Championship of America 100m dash on the men’s and women’s sides, with times of 10.59 and 11.90, respectively, while the men’s 4x400m relay team of Evan Lee, Rogers, Anthony Okolo and Jeff Wiseman made up for a slow start by finishing high enough to qualify for the college final on Saturday.
The Quakers will pick up where they left off Saturday morning with a number of high-profile finals. If they can keep their current momentum going, they might not have to wait so long for their next title.
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