This is a short list of the 25 things to look out for at the Penn Relays this year.
25: Fried Oreos
24: Florida State, Florida, LSU and Texas A&M in the mens 4x1. All are capable of sub 39.0 on a warm day. Jeff Demps and Trindon Holliday are the two fastest football players in the world and they will go head to head all weekend long. Outstanding.
23: Solomon Haile in the 3k. He wins everything he runs so the question is how fast can he go?
22: The boys shot put. Marcus Brown and Sean Stanley are awesome but how often do you get the chance to see a 70 foot sophomore throwing. Nick Vena from New Jersey is the real deal. It will be well worth the trip out of the stadium to see these guys throw.
21: Chelsey Sveinsson in the girls Mile. She is only a sophomore but she can move. She has already run 4:46 this year and was third at Penn last year. Oh yeah she also runs 10:12 in the 3200.
20: LSU women sprints. Every year this squad amazes me. They graduate everyone yet they still can run 43.5 and 3:31.
19: Texas A&M women sprint relays. They are deep enough to have two squads run under 44 in the 4x1. They will run faster than most of the moco boys teams. And the team is all freshman and sophomores.
18: USA vs The World SMR and DMR. USA for the win in the SMR. We can not be stopped. But Kenya can bring a C team and trounce the field in the DMR.
17: The High School boys 4x8. Gonzaga, Good Counsel, Damascus and Churchill will fight for local glory while Abelmarle will go for the national record. They could get it and still lose. They ran 7:36 indoors. Jamaica College and Holmwood Tech have already run 7:41 and 7:43 this spring after running prelims and a weekends worth of events. Others to watch for are Morris Hills, runner up to Abelmarle at NIN with a 7:43 and Washington Township of NJ winners of the NSIC meet in New York.
16: Louise Hannallah in the 5k. She has already run 17:40. She wants a nice 17:20.
15: The Pole Vault and High Jump. Each day for hours on end we will have uninterrupted views of some of the east coasts best jumpers and vaulters. Owen Cain and Vanessa Jules are in the competition but with a host of boys pushing 7 feet and girls approaching 6 it will be tough battle.
14: The Moco relays. Fighting for the top time in the county is why you go to Penn. Paint Branch and Northwest will be pushing towards sub 4 performances in the 4x4 and with a good lead off should easily achieve it. If we have some clear skies we could see 10 or 11 teams from Moco go under 50 seconds in the 4x1. Hopefully a few will crack the 49 barrier. The boys relays should be just as exciting. Good Counsel and Northwest have already run great early season times in the 4x4. With Saturday weather expected to be in the 70s we very well could see a great attempt at 3:20 by those squads. Richard Montgomery, Damascus, Blair, WJ, Prep, Churchill and Gaithersburg will all be poised to dip into the 3:20's. Should be fun.
13: Lucky #13 goes to the Good Counsel boys 4x1 squad. They have the easiest route to make a final of any team. Last year they made the small school 4x1 final and this year should be no different. I say they run 42.5 and make the small school final again.
12: The Prep DMR. They have all the pieces in place and they have in my opinion one of the best Milers on the east coast. The top 12 teams are separated by 11 seconds so get Ramsey Chapin the stick in a good position and see what happens.
11: Talking to Tom Rogers for 4 hours about how we wish Texas high school kids would come to Penn.
10: One of my favorite moments from Penn was two years ago when Columbia, the sweet little Ivy League school upset the big guns in the Championship of America 4x8. They beat the likes of Arkansas, Texas, Georgetown and Villanova to claim the championship. Last year they placed third and for a moment in the homestretch everyone thought it would happen again. Can they win it this year? The men's 4x8 is one of the great races at Penn and this year should be no different. I will be cheering for the underdog.
9: Tennessee vs. LSU in the women's 4x8 and SMR. These squads are stacked. LSU has 3 girls under 2:06 and a 4th close to 2:10. They are lead by Latavia Thomas who is the defending NCAA outdoor champion in the 800. Tennessee has Sarah Bowman, Phoebe Wright and phenom Chanelle Price. The battle should be great. I would expect Tennessee to win the DMR. They set the NCAA record in Indoor and ran unopposed.
8: The NOVA nation. The crowd is what makes Penn great. 50,000 people packed in a horseshoe all cheering in a unified chaos. One small section is the NOVA nation. Villanova owns Penn and graduates, former runners and current members of team are there to support every runner in every race. It's great just to sit with them during the distance races and feel the energy and love.
7: The high school boys 4x1 and 4x4. We are amazed when we see Devon Smith, Avery Graham or Caleb Porzel. But that's just one guy. Imagine 5 or 6 on your team that can do the same thing. Think Jamaica with the year round warm weather training. Calabar has run under 40 twice this year, 39.9 and 39.95. St. Jago, Kingston College, Camperdown and St. Georges have all run under 41. St. Jago and Calabar will run so fast you will want to cheer for them. After the 4x1 we have the 4x4. Traditionally 3:17-3:18 will get you in the final. 12 teams from Jamaica this year that will be at Penn have broken 3:19. 6 are under 3:16 lead by Kingston College and their stellar 3:09 at the Jamaican High School Championships. St. Jago and Calabar have each run 3:12. I don't care who wins this one, I just want to see a fast time.
6: The old guys and girls. Running can be a life long sport if your knees let it be. Watching 90 year old boys and girls run a 100 dash is pretty inspirational. These people were once national champions and Olympians and they still perform on one of the biggest stages.
5: Thursday Night Steeplechasing. You never know who is going to show up. Last year we saw Fam in a tune up to the Olympic Trials. The crowd at the water jump is filled with rowdy collegians waiting for some poor soul to bite the dust. They ring cow bells and cheer every last runner as they attempt to not drown or die a painful death in the last 150m of the race. This event is my favorite in track and field and the atmosphere is electric around the pit. Every year I see old teammates and former athletes. It's the craziest event in track and should never be missed, especially at Penn.
4: USAIN and Asafa. Will they show up? Probably. Besides their home country this event draws more Jamaican fans then any other track event. I hope they show up.
3: USA vs. The World. Penn has everything. Little kids races, old people racing, college men and women and high school kids. The unique thing is the professionals. We will see Kerron Clement, Allyson Felix, Lashawn Merritt, Angelo Taylor, Sanya Richards, Muna Lee, and Lauren Williams. They will challenge the world and because America always does, we will win. Nothing is more exciting then chanting, "USA, USA," in front of thousands of Jamaicans as they lose another 4x4. It's like a football match without the fights. Good times.
2: ER vs. Jamaica. Lets be honest it's the one time of year that I cheer for ER. They are fast this year but how do they compare. Vere Tech and Holmwood Tech have run 44.13 and 44.89 respectively. Edwin Allen has run 45.06. 5 teams from Jamaica have run sub 47. It should be a great match up because ER coming in with a 45.38 has not been tested all year. In the 4x4 last year every finalist had to run sub 3:39 to make the final. That wont happen this year but the top end of crop should be amazing to watch. Vere Tech has run 3:39, Edwin Allen has run 3:37, ER has run 3:40 this outdoor season. But Manchester and Holmwood Tech are going to crush everyone. Manchester has run 3:36 and Holmwood has run 3:34. But what will discourage everyone is that in Jamaica you race by your grade level and Chris Ann- Gordon being only a freshman didn't get to race on that 3:34 team because they were seniors. She only ran 52.68 three weeks ago. Add her into the mix and we will get to watch someone special. 52.68 as a freshman, as a FRESHMAN, come on that is sick.
1: The best part of the Penn Relays. 3 days of track and field. You cant beat that.
Good Luck to all the athletes and coaches from Moco and have fun.
Article Comments - Add A Comment
|You must not be fast enough to go and enjoy those things
|Impressive article! Wish I could go to Penn Relays!
|This is why Penn Relays is as close as it gets to the Olympics for high school kids. It is so competitive that it is sort of up in the sky and people only wish they could go. Watching a meet there is amazing but running with 40,000 screaming fans has got to send chills up anyone's spine. However, what's with the Fried Oreos? Seriously though great article!
|fired oreos are the best
|Written like somebody who wasn't around for SALLY GLYNN! GO SALLY congrats!!! (but still a nice top 25 superman!)
you are brilliant!!! some of your observations are so subtle, but then you are a true track fan. three things to add to your wonderful list:
1 - texas A&M had 4 women qualify for the finals of the 200m indoors NCAA, the collegiate 4x2 record could go.
2 - why isn't new bern running? that would be the greatest 4x4 match up with jamaica since the john muir dynasty in '96 & '97.
3 - sally glynn, who many of todays runners have never heard of, is being inducted into the penn relays wall of fame. that is just about as big as it gets to true track fans!
can't wait to see you,
the old mustang
|Morgane Gay anchoring the DMR for UVA fresh off her 4:22 1500 (4:42 mile) at ACCs. Perhaps Andrew will be anchoring the men's dmr!
|I thought Imentioned how good Texas A&M women are. Those records are tough. I think its great that Sally is getting inducted. She was awesome and is very deserving of the recognition. So that will be #26. As for jesien and gay it will be fun to watch. virginia girls have a huge mountain to climb to beat tennessee. But a 445 miler never hurts your chances.
|and i think if new bern ran they could challenge for the john muir /obea moore 4x4 record but maybe they are just cowards. It would have been a perfect storm.
|my intelligence says that andrew will be anchoring the DMR and the 4 x mile, so that should be fun for moco track fans to watch.
two other classic penn experiences to add to an already great list:
27 - all of the booths outside the stadium
28 - funnelcakes!!!
|mustang we are already starting #11.
10 teams in the college mens 4x4 have already broken 3:06 this year. Florida leads the field with a 3:02.
Virginia was damn close last year in the 4xmile, Andrew was the only person to go after manzano.
Here are some USA vs the World athletes
Walter Dix, Terrence Trammell, Darvis Patton, Shawn Crawford. Nesta Carter, Michael Frater and Asafa Powell, Richard Thompson (silver medalist in the Beijing 100), Leonel Manzano, Khadevis Robinson and Lopez Lomong
|Where were the Fried Oreos and Jamaican Good stands this year? :(