Home track advantage


By their own admission, the runners on the Penn women's 4x800 team weren't supposed to be in the Championship of America race.

Gwen Harris, however, thought otherwise.

"Our best relay of the whole championships is this one," she said.

The coach was right. Penn came in fifth, and for the third time in two days Harris was exultant on the infield.

The first occasion was for Thursday's distance medley relay, in which the Quakers also placed fifth. And like that race, the four runners in the 4x800 -- Tina Morrison, Dana McCurdy, Jesse Carlin and anchor Stacy Kim -- had never run together before.

McCurdy put Penn into third place at one point, and Carlin and Kim were able to stay there for quite a while. But Kim got passed coming around the last turn of the final lap, so Stanford took third and Georgetown took fourth. Texas won the race in 8:31.60, just 0.23 seconds ahead of Tennessee. Penn's final time was 8:40.36.

"It was really exciting," Morrison said. "We didn't know what to expect, but I think everybody just went out there like they were out for blood."

Carlin certainly did. She's usually a 400m runner, but today ran two laps around the track instead of one.

"It's so much harder, but it's the same strategy," she said. "I just go out as fast as I can and hold on, see who has the most guns -- you're dying at the end, but the day you don't die, you're going to do amazing."

Kim, who doesn't normally run the 800 meter distance either, admitted that she was "really nervous" as Carlin approaced with the baton.

But she and her teammates certainly gave it their all.

"It's the Penn Relays, but it's also still our home court," Morrison said. "Out of all the times to do something, this is it"

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