Penn Relays Highlights
- Boys 4x400m Relay: The last high school race of the Penn Relays is always the boys 4x400m relay Championship of America. At last year's event Long Beach Poly (CA) beat St. Jago (JA) in a furious race that brought the crowd to their feet screaming and hollering. This year St Jago had other plans with victory being the only thought on their mind. From the gun St. Lago shot to the lead and took control of the race. At the first exchange Camperdown (JA), Meade (MD) and St. Jago handed off first in the 48 second range.
On the second leg St. Jago and a group of four others caught one another on the backstretch and pushed forward. St. Jago quickly pulled away, pacing Meade through the third leg and at the handoff both schools were looking strong. With the wind on the backstretch and the cold air, it was apparent that the times weren't going not to be out of this world, but the competition was still hot.
Into the final leg St. Jago's anchor shot to the lead and never looked back, pulling the fans to their feet one last time on the day. The Jamaican crowd went wild, cheering on their countries athletes, encouraging them to the finish. As St. Jago raised their arms in victory, behind them Bethel (VA) was closing strong, as their anchor Javell Bullard took the team to the top U.S finish in second place. St. Jago (pictured left winning, photo by Don Rich) won the race in 3:15.66 while Bethel placed second in 3:16.33. Meade kept on coming for third place in 3:17.11 and the defending champion Long Beach Poly finished fourth in 3:18.07
- Boys 4x800m Relay: After a stellar Friday of 4x800m prelims, the finals Saturday took place in the heat of the U.S. v. World professional TV coverage. Toeing the starting line, well over 45,000 people were glued on the athletes ready to show their best. From the gun it was apparent that Manchester (JA) and North Penn (PA) (photo right: Manchester in yellow, North Penn in light blue, photo by Don Rich) were going to lead the way for much of the race and it seemed for each leg Manchester and North Penn would get the stick at the same time, Manchester would lead for the first 600 meters and then North Penn would close to finish right next to the Jamaican crew.
Through the first leg the field was all bunched together as the leaders handed off around 1:57.5. On the second leg the field split apart quickly with the leaders went out incredibly fast. As the second leg runner handed off it was Calabar (JA), Manchester (JA) and North Penn (JA), with all three teams running 1:55-1:53 times for their split. On the third leg North Penn moved to the lead with 250m to go after sitting on the other two, then shifting gears to hand off the baton to their anchor with a two second lead.
Over the first 400m of the anchor leg, North Penn's Zack Montijo took out the pace and gapped the other two athletes by four seconds. As Montijo crossed the 300m to go mark he tied up and Manchester's anchor started to catch him. Into the final 200m the two runners went, with Manchester jumping to the lead and never gave it up again. Manchester crossed the finish line in victorious fashion in 7:43.22 and North Penn finished in the runner-up spot in 7:44.39.
- Boys 4x100m Relay: The Championship of America 4x100m relay brought together six teams from Jamaica, one from the Bahamas and only one from the U.S. Westlake (MD) earned their sport from Friday's qualifying rounds, but they had the odds stacked against them if they were going to win. From the gun a trio of the Jamaican teams shot out of the blocks, moving on two the second leg where they continued to lead. On the third leg Westlake gained a bit of ground and St. Jago (JA) fell. Into the anchor leg it was apparent that one of the Jamaican squads would win, but Westlake pushed well and moved into fourth while crossing the line in 41.38.
- Boys Long Jump: A great clash of U.S.A. versus Jamaica occurred off the track today as well in the high school boys long jump. James Taylor (Nansemond, VA) (pictured left/above by Pat Montferrat) and Jamaican national champion Tarik Batchelor (Kingston College, JA) clashed with the end results being nearly identical. Taylor leaped 23-10.75 to win the event with Batchelor finishing second in 23-10.25. What a great dual between these two.
- Boys 4x400m Relay: Meade (MD) and Bethel (VA) lead the U.S. teams qualifying to the final of the 4x400m relay later today. Bethel cruised to an impressive win in their heat of 3:14.71, looking easy on their anchor leg. The top time of the day came from Meade, placing third in their heat with a 3:14.48. St. Jago (JA) won their heat with the fastest time of the day in 3:12.48. The top eight teams qualify for the 4x400m relay Championship of America held in the afternoon Saturday.Qualifiers to Boys 4x400m Relay Championship of America 3:12.81 - St. Jago (JA) 3:14.40 - Holmwood Tech (JA) 3:14.48 - Meade (MD) 3:14.71 - Bethel (VA) 3:14.85 - Long Beach Poly (CA) 3:16.71 - Wolmer's Boys (JA) 3:17.22 - Jack Hayward (BA) 3:17.58 - Camperdown (JA)
- Boys Discus Throw: Matthew Kann (Fox Chapel, PA) won the discus with his toss of 173-05 becoming the first field event winner of the day.
- Boys Triple Jump: Albert Johnson (Corning Area, NY) versus Olu Olamigoke (Mountain View, VA) was quite a match-up to watch. Both athletes were shooting for fifty feet, and while neither achieved that goal, both athletes jumped well. Johnson took the top spot with a leap of 49-00.25 and Olamigoke placed second less than a foot back in 48-02.50.
- Boys 400m Hurdles: With top seed Keiron Stewart (Kingston College, JA) scratching from the start lists, that left the boys 400m hurdles wide open. The two favorites behind Stewart initially were Jermaine Lowery (Father Judge, PA) and Stewart's teammate Andre Peart (Kingston College, JA). As the race unfolded both athletes shot to the lead and gapped the field over the final 100m, as Peart won the race in 52.25 and Lowery second in 52.68. Lowery's twin brother Jerome Lowery (Father Judge, PA) finished fifth overall. Lowery Brothers Video Interview
- Girls 4x400m Relay: What a day it was for Eleanor Roosevelt (MD) (pictured right by Tim Fulton). Not only did they break the American 4x8 national record by seven seconds, but they came up big with one of the most impressive 4x400m relay performances ever. Roosevelt ran stride for stride with the top Jamaican squads and Boys & Girls (NY) for much of the race, until the last two legs where they really put some space between the rest of the field, especially on their anchor leg.
Earlier in the day Tasha Stanley ran a 2:09.6 won win the 4x800m relay for the team and Friday afternoon her 54.2 anchor leg squashed the competition. Eleanor Roosevelt's time was the fastest time ever by a U.S. squad not named Long Beach Poly or Long Beach Wilson. That is some select company and topped the school's best time ever by over two seconds. Congratulations to the Eleanor Roosevelt girls on one of the great relay days ever!
- Boys 3,000m Run: A modest early pace created a race where numerous individuals had a shot to win, but in the end only two came out looking strong in the boys 3,000 meter run. Mark Dennin (Boyertown, PA) won the event in a respectable 8:30.11, showing he was easily the class of the field with a strong kick over the last 500 meters. Solomon Haile (Sherwood, MD) placed second after leading for nearly the whole race in 8:34.53.
- Boys Mile Run: Similar to the final leg of the DMR the event before, the pace of the boys mile went out very conservatively. Coming through the 400m in 67-68 seconds, the pack was bunched up people were positioning for space. While the race picked up it wasn't nearly enough, heading through the 800m mark in a pedestrian 2:14. From there the pre-race favorites of Kyle Merber (NY), Chris Aldrich (PA), Robby Andrews (NJ), Charles White (CO) and Cory Leslie (OH) (pictured left by Don Rich) shot to the lead, running single file, but much faster than the prior two laps. As the bell sounded Alrich fell off a bit, while the other four surged ahead, crossing the 1200m point in 3:15. Into the final lap they went, all four kickers looking to see just who is best. Down the backstretch Merber took the lead, then with 250 meters to go Leslie shot up front and really made his move. Into the final turn all four athletes went but Leslie showed he was tops on the day crossing the line victoriously in a close lean at the finished with Andrews. Leslie finished in 4:12.76, running his last lap in 57 seconds, while Andrews finished second in 4:12.82 and White third in 4:14.29.
- Boys Distance Medley Relay: A quick pace early on slowed on the final leg, so slow in fact that the lead group of three swelled to seven or eight with 800m to go. However, just as the pace started getting too relaxed, Germantown Friends (PA) senior Max Kaulbach pushed the pace quickly and gapped the field by about seven meters going into the last lap. At the gun Kaulbach accelerated into another gear, taking his team to the win in 10:11.54. Kaulbach ran his last 800m in 2:05 and his last 400m in 60 seconds.
- Boys Shot Put: Nick Vena (Morristown, NJ) continued his amazing freshman season by winning the shot put competition. Vena threw 63-06 on his third toss of the day. Vena's nearest competitor also happened to be his biggest rival at this point in Mike Alleman (Scotch Plains-Fanwood, NJ), who finished a strong second in 62-01.
- Boys Javelin Throw: Brandon Heroux (Westfield, NJ) won the javelin with a throw of 202-00. Heroux launched his winning toss on his first throw of the final. Eric Brittingham (Norristown, PA) placed second in 201-04.
- Girls 4x800m Relay: After amazing prelim results Thursday, the match-up in the girls 4x800m relay simply inspired. After narrowly missing the U.S. record in 2007 of 8:50.41 (set by Boys & Girls, New York back in 2002), Eleanor Roosevelt (MD) (pictured right by Pat Montferrat) had a lot to prove. To add to the suspense, the squad was the defending champion. Through the first two exchanges it was very apparent that Eleanor Roosevelt, Holmwood Tech (JA) and Edwin Allen (JA) were the three best teams in the field, breaking away by leaps and bounds. At the anchor leg exchange all three were still packed together and the crowd was going wild. With Edwin Allen leading the pack of three, the anchors from Holmwood Tech and Eleanor Roosevelt looked relaxed. Then, with 200 meters to go, all three athletes really started moving, and into the homestretch they came. Holmwood Tech pulled to the lead and ran to the win with thousands of Jamaican fans cheering them on down the homestretch. Holmwood Tech won in an amazing 8:41.92, while Eleanor Roosevelt earned a runner-up finish with a new American record of 8:43.12. Edwin Allen finished third in 8:44.75, while Manchester (JA) finished fourth in 8:56.78. Simply outstanding!
- Girls Discus Throw: Natalie Baird (Park View, VA) threw 154-08.75 to win the discus
event for the third year in a row. The William and Mary-bound thrower continued her impressive results at the Penn Relays after winning in '07 with a toss of 148-04 and in '06 with a toss of 144-03.
Photo: Hillsborough (NJ) (photo below by wingedfootfotos) runs 7:47.44 for top 4x8 time of the day.
- Boys 4x800m Relay: What a way to open the second day of high school competition! Eight teams ran under 7:53 over the four relay prelims, including the top ranked team in the finals Saturday, as Hillsborough (NJ) ran 7:47.44.
Qualifiers to Saturday's Boys 4x800m Relay Championship of America7:47.44 - Hillsborough (NJ) 7:51.07 - Washington Township (NJ) 7:51.08 - Manchester (JA) 7:51.25 - Albemarle (VA) 7:51.50 - Kellenberg Memorial (NY) 7:52.06 - Calabar (JA) 7:52.33 - North Penn (PA) 7:52.82 - Jamaica College (JA) 7:53.27 - Colonie Central (NY) 7:54.13 - Jackson Memorial (NJ) 7:54.77 - Monsignor Farrell (NY) 7:54.97 - Fordham Prep (NY)
Photo: Ryann Krais (Methacton, PA) cruising to the 400m hurdle win (photo by Don Rich)
- Girls 400m Hurdles: Ryann Krais (Methacton, PA) cruised to the girls 400m hurdle title in 59.62. Krais, running in the first prep event of the day, continued her domination in the long hurdle event. "My goal today was to be around 58 [seconds] or 57's. The wind was a little strong on the last stretch, but I am happy with it," Krais said afterward. Two weeks ago Krais ran under 59 at the Taco Bell Invitational (SC). Since then she's been working on her steps, especially getting to the first hurdle faster and working to get over the last three hurdles in the right amount of steps. Krais said, "I was changing my steps to the hurdles just yesterday, so I knew if I didn't get to that first hurdle correctly then my race would be over." The hurdle star is definitely turning it up a notch.
Photo: Manchester, Jamaica runs 9:01.61 in 4x8 relay (photo by WingedFootFotos)
- Girls 4x800m Relay: Powerhouse mid-distance teams Lincoln-Sudbury (MA), Westfield (VA) and Eleanor Roosevelt (MD) all advanced to the Girls 4x800m relay Championship of America Friday, running under 9:09. Jamaican squad Manchester (JA) ran 9:01.61 to win one of the small school heats, which also turned out to be the fastest time of the day. Manchester led three Jamaican squads into the finals, while Lincoln-Sudbury's 9:06.44 was the fastest U.S. qualifier on the day.
Top 800m Split: Natoya Goule (Manchester, JA) - 2:11.0 & Melanie Thompson (Voorhees, NJ) - 2:11.7.Qualifiers to Friday's 4x800m Championship of America 9:01.61 - Manchester (JA) 9:05.28 - Holmwood Tech. (JA) 9:06.44 - Lincoln-Sudbury (MA) 9:07.44 - Edwin Allen (JA) 9:07.92 - Eleanor Roosevelt (MD) 9:08.81 - Westfield (VA) 9:09.31 - Benjamin Cardozo (NY) 9:09.61 - Gwynedd Mercy (PA) 9:11.32 - Boys & Girls (NY) 9:12.66 - Haddonfield Memorial (NJ) 9:12.81 - Voorhees (NJ) 9:14.53 - Council Rock North (PA)
- Girls 4x100m Relay: The first race of the girls 4x100m relay created the biggest buzz, as Edwin Allen (JA) ran 45.28 to run the fastest time of the day by nearly a second. Behind Edwin Allen were their fellow Jamaican schools dominating the fields, qualifying five of the eight spots for Friday's final. The top U.S. team was Landstown (MD) who continued their incredible relay season that start early on during the indoor season.Qualifiers to Friday's 4x100m Championship of America 45.28 - Edwin Allen (JA) 46.26 - Vere Technical (JA) 46.33 - St. Jago (JA) 47.10 - Landstown (MD) 47.11 - Eleanor Roosevelt (MD) 47.12 - Holmwood Tech (JA) 47.13 - Alpha (JA) 47.23 - Long Beach Poly (CA)
Photo: Brieanna Kennedy (Caravel, Deleware) wins girls javelin in 149-02 (photo by Don Rich)
- Girls Javelin Throw: A strong field of competitors took to the girls javelin throw at noon Thursday. With top seed Brittany Bowman (Festus, MO) scratching from the weekend of competition after a less than perfect weekend at the Kansas Relays last weekend, Brieanna Kennedy (Caravel, DE) took advantage of Bowman's absence and won a close battle with Casey Wagner (Tamaqua, PA). Kennedy won with her throw of 149-02, while Wagner finished within three feet of her.
- Girls Pole Vault: Abby Schaffer (Easton, PA) wins easily in 13-00.50, just missing 13-04 on her three final attempts. Schaffer also set a meet record in the process and won the event for the second year in a row.
Photo: Eleanor Roosevelt (MD) (photo by Tim Fulton) runs the fastest 4x4 in 3:38.40.
- Girls 4x400m Relay: Wow! That's all that can be said about Thursday's 4x4's. With the top eight teams advancing to the final, it tooks sub-3:43 to qualify. Leading the way was Eleanor Roosevelt (MD), who ran uncontested, winning their heat in 3:38.40.Qualifiers to Friday's 4x400m Championship of America 3:38.40 - Eleanor Roosevelt (MD) 3:39.04 - Holmwood Tech (JA) 3:39.72 - Long Beach Poly (CA) 3:39.86 - Edwin Allen (JA) 3:40.17 - Boys & Girls (NY) 3:40.37 - Vere Technical (JA) 3:40.72 - Manchester (JA) 3:42.77 - Landstown (VA)
Photo: Emily Vannoy (MD) (photo by Don Rich) wins girls shot put in 48-04.
- Girls Shot Put: An upset of sorts happened in the girls shot put as Emily Vannoy (Gov. Thomas Johnson, MD) beat pre-meet favorite Karen Shump (Penncrest, PA) with a final toss of 48-04. In the first round of throws Shump threw 47-02.5, setting herself up well for the finals, however, Shump fouled all three throws in the final. Vannoy took advantage of Shump's mishaps by launching her last throw for her best mark of the season and a big Penn Relays win.
- Girls Distance Medley Relay: It's all about the start in the DMR. From the gun it was fairly apparent who the top teams on the day would be, as Saratoga Springs (NY), Warwick Valley (NY) and Roxbury (NJ) (pictured right by Don Rich) all jumped up front on the 1200m leg. The leaders came through the first split in 3:33-34. From there all three squads and Holy Names (NY) moved within a second of each other by coming through the 400m in 4:30. As the 800m conluded all four teams handed off at nearly identical times with 2:18-19 splits. So then it was onto the milers. Saratoga Springs' anchor jumped to the lead with 1200m to go, while Roxbury's anchor sat on her shoulder. With 400m to go Roxbury made a strong move and pushed the pace one last time, breaking Saratoga and earning a big win in 11:42.16. Saratoga Springs finished with runner-up status in 11:42.49.
Photo: Stephanie Morgan (OH) (photo by Don Rich) makes her break to win the girls mile.
- Girls Mile Run: A battle of four led to incredibly fast times. From the gun freshman star Chelsey Sveinsson (Greenhill, TX) took the lead, pushing an early fast pace and stringing the field out in her typical fashion. The fast pace created a group of four with Sveinsson, Emily Infeld (Beaumont, OH), Stephanie Morgan (Barnesville, OH) and Anna Shields (Lewis S. Mills, CT). At the quarter the group ran through in 67, then the same pack came through 800m in 2:29. From there Shields dropped off a bit and the trio came through the 1200m in 3:33. As the gun sounded, Sveinsson and Morgan started to pull away, Morgan simply sitting on Sveinsson's shoulder and looking ready to make a move. With 200m to go Morgan shot past Sveinsson and pulled away to a thrilling victory in 4:41.22. Last year after taking second in this race, Morgan said, "It definitely feels good to come back here and finish in first. I love this meet." Infeld finished strong and took second in 4:43.31, while Sveinsson placed third in 4:43.51.
- Girls 3,000m Run: A large field of nearly thirty runners kept the pace conservative early on, as the entire pack ran tight through the first 1200m. Leading the whole way were the two top-seeded athletes Kathleen McCafferty (Oak Knoll, NJ) (pictured left by Don Rich) and Emily Jones (Bromfield, MA). As the pack came through the mile, those two started to push the pace, knowing that they had to break from the rest of the field in order to win and run a great time. With two laps to go McCafferty and Jones led by nearly thirty meters, and with one lap to go the two ran stride for stride an dhad the top two spots wrapped up, it was just a matter of who would win. With 200m to go McCafferty pulled away from Jones and never looked back, running away with the win in 9:37.15. Jones finished second in 9:40.35 and Melanie Thompson (Voorhees, NJ) finished third in 9:44.87.