The first winner of the 2008 Penn Relays is Michelle Loyd of Wake Forest, who took the college women’s 400-meter hurdles in 58.95. A few minutes later, Ryann Krais of Methacton High School (in nearby Norristown, PA) won the girls race in 59.62.
Loyd (above right), seventh at last week’s ACC Championships, seemed surprised to have won the race, admitting that she’s sick with a chest cold. “But I executed my plan. I just wanted to stay smooth the whole way, just relax and then kick it in on the hot spots.” Namely? “That last curve,” she said with a laugh, “that was tough.” And what about racing so early in the day. “The morning’s not so bad,” she says, “but going 20 minutes early was rough. It cut into my warm-up.” Welcome to the Penn Relays, where the starters wait for no one.”
Krais (below right), the surprise winner in 2007, knew all eyes would be on her as the defending champion. “Last year there was no pressure,” she said moments after catching her breath. “I just came in and it was ‘Do what you gotta do.’ This year I definitely felt the pressure. I was hoping to run low 58, high 57. I didn’t really have a game plan in terms of what the other girls were doing. I just wanted to run my own race.”