Penn Welcomes The Nation… And Beyond

Tabulations are complete here in Philadelphia and the Penn Relays have received entries from 1,047 different high schools, including 62 from foreign schools.

That means 985 U.S. high schools — between two and three percent of all American high schools — will be ventured to the City of Brotherly Love in a few weeks. The Relays will begin on Thursday, April 26, and conclude before an enormous crowd at Franklin Field on Saturday, April 28. Continue reading Penn Welcomes The Nation… And Beyond

Texas Women, Texas A&M Men Close Out Meet With 4×400 Wins

The Texas women extended their record for Penn Relays 4×400 victories with a 3:30.03 clocking. LSU (3:32.65) took second while Texas A&M’s Jessica Beard ran an incredible 52.02 anchor to bring Texas A&M up for third after a baton drop late on the third leg.

The Aggies got some consolation with a victory in the men’s race, their first win in this event since 1996. A&M’s time of 3:01.73 is the fourth fastest in meet history.

And with that, we close out the 117th edition of the Penn Relays. Today’s attendance was 48,531, which brings us to a three-day total of 110,141!

USA vs. The World Men’s 4×400

The winning 4x400 (Photo Kim Spir)

Certainly it would be tough for the men to duplicate the excitement of the women’s race, but that’s exactly what happened.

The Bahamas and the USA red team led at the cut-in, with Grenada hanging tough at the handoff.  Bershawn Jackson opened a good lead on the third leg, and Angelo Taylor brought it home in 3:02.40.  Chris Brown of the Bahamas ran a 44 split to bring his team all the way to second place.

The winning team consisted of Quentin Summers, Jamal Torrence, Bershawn Jackson, and Angelo Taylor.  12 full years now separate Taylor’s first victory as the anchor of Georgia Tech’s winning 4×400 in 1998 and today’s great race.

We also believe that the third place 3:04.69 by Grenada was a national record.

USA Red Wins Thrilling Battle in Women’s USA vs the World 4×400

Sanya does it again (photo by Kim Spir)

Sanya Richards-Ross may not have had the fastest split, but she proved she still knows how to race. The world champion held off charges from both USA Blue’s Monica Hargrove and Jamaica’s Kaliese Spencer to give USA Red the win, in 3:22.92.

USA Red had the early lead, but USA Blue’s first two legs, Dee Dee Trotter, Francena McCoroy kept in close. In fact, McCoroy ran an outstanding 49.8 split to pass Allyson Felix and hand off in the lead.

The two American teams had a comfortable lead on the Jamaicans at the final exchange, but Spencer tore down the backstretch en route to a 50.59 split. In the end, Richards-Ross had enough left to give USA Red the victory, with USA Blue (3:23.17) and Jamaica (3:23.82) close behind.

College Men’s 4×800 Championship

Robby Andrews in a position we have seen before - #2 All-Time at Penn (Photo Kim Spir)

Similar to last year, the college men’s 4×800 championship was highly anticipated.  There were a number of good teams in this race, but perhaps again with no clear favorite, although defending champion Virginia was returning with their speedy anchor, Robby Andrews.

The first exchange had Arkansas, followed by Penn State and Virginia.  Arkansas opened up a nice 30 meter lead on the second leg, but it was quickly swallowed up by the peloton led by Penn State.  Penn State and Virginia would pass Arkansas before the halfway mark, with Sam Borchers of Penn State running a 1:47.

Penn State (Cas Loxsom) and Virginia (Robby Andrews) would receive the baton neck and neck at the final exchange, after a sharp duel between 3rd legs Ryan Foster (PSU) and Anthony Kostelac (VA).  Mike Preble of Texas A&M made up significant ground on the penultimate lap but could not maintain it throughout.

Loxsom would push the pace the entire last lap, trying to take the starch out of the Cavalier’s anchor, but Andrews dropped the hammer with 150 to go passing the Nittany Lions and right into history with a 7:12.15, Penn State following with 7:12.90.  This was the first race in some time that threatened the legendary 7:11 by Penn State in 1985 and is #2 AT.  Penn State’s time was #6 and their fastest time since the famous record.  Andrews split was 1:46.0.

Morocco Takes the USA vs the World Distance Medley

Another race goes down to the wire (photo by Kim Spir)

Kenya’s Glibert Kipchoge took the lead early on the opening leg, with Bernard Lagat (USA Red) and Ryan Gregson (Australia) right behind. Lagat moved into the lead just past 800, with Mohammed Moustaoui (Morocco) pulling even to hand off nearly even (Lagat was technically first, with a 2:48.30 split.) David Torrence of USA Blue and Australia’s Ryan Gregson were right behind, while the other teams had lost contact.

Sean Wroe (45.95) moved well on the 400 leg to put Australia into second, right behind the U.S., with Morocco a close third.

USA indoor 800 champ Duane Solomon and Lachlan Renshaw battled on the 800 leg, with the American making the final hand off half a step ahead, both teams 10 meters clear of Morocco.

On the anchor Australia’s Jeff Riseley followed American Russell Brown through a slow pace, which allowed Morocco’s Amine Laalou and USA Blue’s Leo Manzano to catch up, making it a four-man race at the bell. Laalou, a finalist in the 800 at the last two world championships, zipped by on the homestretch, holding off Riseley with a 3:53.09 split as Brown faded to third. Morocco clocked in at 9:17.48 to Australia’s 9:17.56.

Jamaica Wins Men’s 4×100 Again!

Jamaica's fab four celebrate another victory (photo by Kim Spir)

The Jamaican men continued their dominance in the men’s 4×100, winning for the second time in a row and the third time in four years. Asafa Powell, Michael Frater, Nesta Carter, Steve Mullings took the victory in 38.33, with USA Red (Walter Dix, Wallace Spearmon, Trell Krimmons, MIke Rodgers) second in 38.43.

High School Boys 4×800 Championship

Poly for the win (Photo Kim Spir)

**Long Beach Poly run #3 All-Time USA Boys 4×800**

The High School 4×800 featured a number of good teams, including Holmwood Tech of Jamaica, the indoor US national champion (Abington), and Long Beach Poly.  High schools in the Mid-Atlantic have a long tradition of success in the 4×800, including the national record that was set here at the Penn Relays by Albermarle of Virginia.

At the second exchange, Poly led with Abington right behind, followed closely by Central Bucks West.  Poly opened their lead on the third leg with Abington about 70 yards behind.  Long Beach Poly won unopposed in 7:31.69, #3 All-Time at Penn and in the US, with a 1:49 anchor leg !  This is the 7th 1:49 by a high schooler.

The Penn Relays now has the the Top 3 high school 4×800’s in US history.

U.S. Women Dominate 4×100

Carmelita Jeter crosses the line for USA Red (photo by Kim Spir)

The U.S. women showed their sprint depth in the 4×100 with a 1-2 finish in the USA vs the World race. Lauryn Williams, Allyson Felix, Marshevet Myers, Carmelita Jeter (aka USA Red) got the baton around the track first and fastest, in a meet record 42.28. (The previous mark, 42.33, was set by a U.S. team way back in 2000.)

The USA Blue team (Gloria Asumnu, Miki Barber, Bianca Knight, Alex Anderson) clocked in at impressive 42.64 for second, with Jamaica (42.74), despite having Olympic 100-meter champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce on the achor leg.

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