Despite the windy conditions on Saturday, Franklin Field was packed with spectators and athletes from all over the world, eager to see the 125th Penn Relays play out.
On the last day of the Relays, the USA vs. the World events stole the show. Athletes from Jamaica, Canada, the Bahamas, Guyana, Kenya, Haiti, Antigua, and Barbuda all challenged the United States in the 4x100-meters, the 4x400, and the sprint medley.
The first USA vs. the World event was the men’s 4x100. The race ended in a tight finish between the United States and Canada — the United States taking first place at 38.80 seconds, and Canada just .14 seconds behind. The women's 4x100 followed immediately, and Jamaica came out on top with a time of 43.19 seconds. Canada and the United States were close again, as Canada finished in second place just .03 seconds ahead. Jamaica was just 2.37 seconds behind the world record, and only one second behind the area record for the event.
The USA vs. the World men’s and women’s 4x400 were another pair of hard-fought races. In the men’s race, the USA Red team took first, beating Canada by 1.84 seconds and the Bahamas by 2.88 seconds. The women’s race saw Jamaica’s Gold and Green teams take first and second place, respectively. The United States finished close behind Jamaica's Green, taking third place by .59 seconds.
“It’s always a great atmosphere to come out here running in front of all the fans from around the world, especially for team USA,” said Je'Von Hutchison, the men's anchor for team USA Red. “Any nerves you have go away when you hear the fans screaming.”
The United States took first place once again in the women’s sprint medley. Jamaica placed second and Canada third. The men’s sprint medley saw Kenya take first, the United States second, and Jamaica third.
The college events proved to be just as engaging. The day for Penn was highlighted by senior Anna Peyton Malizia, who won the women's high jump title with a height of 1.82 meters. In addition, the Red and Blue came in second behind South Carolina in the women's 4x400 Championship of America Relay. After winning their first-ever women's Championship of America event on Thursday, the Quakers set another school record with a time of 3:35.43.
The men’s 4x800 race proved to be a tight battle for first with Georgetown, Indiana, and Penn State all finishing within half a second of each other. Georgetown would take the men’s race, while Penn placed sixth.
The women’s 4x800 was led by Indiana, which won with a time of 8:33.47, less than a second ahead of second place Virginia Tech. Penn placed fifth with a time of 8:38.65.
It was Houston, though, that would show up in both the men’s 4x100 and men’s 4x400 Championship of America events, taking first place in both contests. In the 4x100, the Cougars had a time of 39.23 seconds — just 1.06 seconds behind the national record that they set last year — and in the 4x400, they finished in 3:02.61, almost a full four seconds ahead of second place Maryland.
“You can’t come out here and be mediocre. It’s like being on the world stage. This is the moment you do this for,” said Obi Igbokwe, Houston's anchor for the men’s 4x400 and 4x200 races.
After three days of intense competition, the 125th Penn Relays proved to be a great event for everyone, both athletes and fans alike.