Alicia McKenley, Dr. Marc Grosso and Ashley de Revola staff the paddock computers. Alicia's father Herb was an Olympic gold medalist and Penn Relays' Wall of Famer. Photo by Bill Martin.

Alicia McKenley, Dr. Marc Grosso and Ashley Fe Revola staff the paddock computers. Alicia's father Herb was an Olympic gold medalist and Penn Relays' Wall of Famer. Photo by Bill Martin.

As we begin four hours of high school boys’ 4×400-meter races, this is a good time to answer our most frequently asked question — how do all those results get online so fast?

We will spare you all the prep work and explain it from the moment that the relay team begins its procession to the clerks. That team is already entered into a race and has its bib letters.

They fill out a little relay card with the runner names and get placed into their heat or event by the clerks, who hand the relay cards to a team headed by Dr. Marc Grosso and Bill Martin. That group, which consists of a number of current and former members of the Penn women’s track team, confirms and types in the runner names. But if an athlete’s name is spelled wrong, there is a 95 percent chance that it was misspelled by the coach!

The participants’ list is wirelessly fed to the folks at Flash Results, who times the race using Lynx. They post the results instantaneously to the scoreboard in the stadium and send a file to Dipen Shah, the computer wizard of the Relays, who somehow makes the results appear online. The names typed in the paddock are magically attached to them.

While that is happening, bloggers Rich Sands and Josh Seeherman are putting it all to words on this blog. And Jack Pfeifer’s splits crew is attaching splits to the names.

Frank Bertucci’s team of interviewers react quickly, finding the winning athletes and filling the results page with tons of quotes.

If qualifiers come out of the race, we have that covered as well as we monitor the qualifying rules and get those churned out quickly as well. A little later today we will try to make a list of all those who make this thing go.