Thousands of athletes of all ages will converge on University City for the 124th Penn Relays this weekend, including a number of Olympians. Superstars like Justin Gatlin grace the Relays practically every year, but there are some high schoolers and collegiate athletes that will also draw eyes this weekend.
Before you head over to Franklin Field to watch this year’s competitions, get to know the biggest non-Olympic stars who will be taking the track.
The Relays attract athletes from across the globe, but Girard College high school junior Thelma Davies will add some local flavor to this weekend’s races.
Competing at the Relays for the first time in her life, Davies will be running in Thursday’s High School Girl’s 4x100-meter heats and will be hoping to help lead her newly-assembled team to an appearance in Friday afternoon’s 4x100m finals.
Despite this being her Relays debut, Davies’ past results prove that she’s up to speed. For the past two seasons, Davies has won gold in the PIAA 2A 100m and 200m races. Her freshman times of 11.58 and 23.85 seconds, respectively, were even fast enough to set the races' records.
Auburn sophomore Raheem Chambers has a very busy afternoon planned for himself this Friday. And if all goes well, he might just have himself a busy Saturday too.
The Kingston, Jamaica native is slated to compete in the heats for four different college men’s events on Friday — the 4x100m, the 4x200m, the 4x400m, and the 100m dash — and depending on how he and his teammates finish, he will compete in the finals for those events on Saturday, too.
After a stellar freshman season saw him earn All-American honors in the 4x400m, 400m, and 100m, Chambers followed suit with another All-American performance at last month’s NCAA indoor championships.
Josh Hoey will be off to national powerhouse Oregon next year, but for now, the Bishop Shanahan high school senior will get one last chance to shine in the Penn Relays.
Hoey will compete in the High School Boys’ Mile Run Championship once again, and this time around, he’ll have a bad taste in his mouth. After winning gold in the event his sophomore year, Hoey finished in fourth last year 4:15.25.
The good news for Hoey is that he’s looked absolutely stellar in the past couple months, highlighted by an 800m time of 1:47.67 that was the fastest in US high school history. He’ll get to show off in that distance again this weekend as he’s slated to compete in the Boys’ Small School 4x800m with his younger brother, Jonah, as one of his teammates.
Indiana is just one of several high-profile track programs competing in the Relays this weekend, and junior Kelsey Harris is one of the Hoosiers’ biggest sars.
Harris will be competing in the Womens’ Championship of America Invitational races in the 4x800m, the 4x1500m, and the Distance Medley, and seems well-primed for success after her impressive performance at the NCAA indoor championships in March.
Running the 800m leg in the DMR, Harris turned in the race’s fastest split with a time of 2:03.81. That helped lift her team to a fourth-place finish and Indiana’s first-ever first-team All-American nod in the DMR.