Walt Murphy is one of the finest track geeks that I know. Walt does #ThisDayinTrack&FieldHistory, an excellent daily service that provides true geek stories about our sport. You can check out the service for FREE with a free one-month trial subscription! (email: WaltMurphy44@gmail.com ) for the entire daily service. We will post a few historic moments each day, beginning February 1, 2024.

(c)Copyright 2024-all rights reserved. It may not be reprinted or retransmitted without permission.

By Walt Murphy’s News and Results Service (wmurphy25@aol.com), used with permission.

This Day in Track & Field–April  25

 

With all due respect for the Drake Relays, the most excellent meet I’ve ever seen (only because it’s always held on the same weekend as Penn), there are many more references to events held at the Penn Relays in “This Day in T&F” than you will see for Drake. My close association with the Relays (see the Murphy Legacy in 1953), having been to every edition since 1964, and my fascination with the event’s history. I hope to one day provide the same in-depth coverage for Drake.

 

Sports Illustrated explains why Penn is more than just a track meet:

https://www.si.com/track-and-field/2020/04/24/penn-relays-coronavirus-on-pause

 

1903—Michigan won the first of its 6 consecutive titles in the 4-mile relay (18:39.8). The Wolverines have won this event at Penn 15 times, trailing only Villanova (21) and Arkansas (200).

 

1908—Yale’s Walter Dray, who placed sixth at the 1904 Olympics, set a World Record of 12-6  ½ (3.82+) in the Pole Vault at the Penn Relays. He had previously set the mark of 12-5  ½ (3.79+) in 1907 and raised the Record to 12-9  ½ (3.89+) in June 1908. He won for the first time at Penn in 1905.

The legendary Jim Thorpe (Carlisle) tied for 1st-place in the High Jump with Indiana’s John Lynn Miller, as both cleared 6-0(1.83).

Drayhttps://www.olympedia.org/athletes/78336

 

1914—England’s Oxford University (18:05.0) won the 4-mile Relay in a tight battle over Penn in the rain and mud. Running the 3rd and 4th legs for Oxford were Norman Taber, a Rhodes Scholar from Brown who would set a World Record of 4:12.6 in the Mile the following year, and Arnold Jackson, the 1912 Olympic Champion at 1500 meters.

USC’s Fred Kelly won the 1st of his two Relays titles in the 120y-hurdles (15.6). He was the 1912 Olympic gold medalist in the 110-hurdles. There were two additional Trojan winners—Howard Drew in the 100y (10.2) and the Long Jump (22-0 [6.70+] and Charles Borgstrom in the Pole Vault (12-0 [3.66]). Penn’s Mike Dorizas was the 1st winner of the Javelin (169-8  ¼ [51.71+]).

This was the first year that batons were used at the Relays.

https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1914/04/26/100309186.html?pageNumber=49

Taberhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Taber

Jacksonhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnold_Jackson_(British_Army_officer)

Kellyhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Kelly_(hurdler)

 

1925—For the fourth year in a row, the World Record in the 2-mile relay was broken at the Penn Relays.

Georgetown’s winning time of 7:42.0 took over 5 seconds off Boston College’s year-old mark of 7:47.6! Running for the Hoyas were Ed Swinburne (1:58.6), James Holden (1:54.0), William Sullivan (1:54.4), and George Marsters (1:55.0). Georgetown also won the Mile Relay (3:19.0) and the Sprint Medley (also anchored by Marsters/3:28.0).

Winners in individual events included Michigan’s DeHart Hubbard, the 1924 Olympic Champion in the Long Jump, in the 100y (9.8), Cambridge’s David Lord Burghley in the 400m-Hurdles (one turn/54.8), Ohio State’s Larry Snyder in the Triple Jump (44-1 [13.43]).

Burghley, who would win Olympic gold in Amsterdam in 1928, was one of the athletes portrayed in the Oscar-winning movie “Chariots of Fire”, but as Lord Lindsay, as he refused to let the producers use his name in the film! A winner again at Penn in 1927, he set a World Record of 54.2 in the 440y-Hurdles in London later in the year.

Snyder, who won the 120y-Hurdles at the 1924 Relays, later became the head coach at his alma mater. Among the athletes he coached (all Olympic gold medalists) were Jesse Owens, Mal Whitfield, and Glenn Davis.

https://www.olympedia.org/athletes/78336

 

1931— Minnesota’s Biggie Munn set a Penn Relays Record of 48-7  5/8 (14.82+) in the Shot Put. Munn, an All-American football player, went on to have a successful career as a college coach, leading Michigan State to a national title in 1953.

 

1936–Jesse Owens displayed his talent at the Penn Relays. In Friday’s sprint medley (4-24), with a crowded field of 13 teams, Owens’s strong 220y 3rd leg brought Ohio State from 7th to 2nd, and anchor Charlie Beetham overtook Penn’s Gene Venzke to give the Buckeyes the win.  On Saturday (4-25), Owens won the 100-meter with a meet record of 10.5 and came from behind to win the Long Jump with a meager jump of 23-5/8 (7.02+).

Texas, coached by Hall of Famer Clyde Littlefield, for whom the Texas Relays are named, set meet records in the 440-(41.1) and 880- (1:26.6) relays.

From a Texas Relays article:

“Littlefield was an expert in analyzing form and technique and excellent one-on-one with athletes. He was also superb one-on-four, meaning the relays. Texas put extraordinary practice hours into stick passing and demonstrated the not-always-understood fact that when it comes to sprint relays, better efficiency can conquer better speed. An example occurred at the 1936 Penn Relays, where anchor Chink Wallender found himself in the final exchange zone with Eulace Peacock of Philadelphia’s Temple Owls, who had beaten Jesse Owens four times in a row. The Longhorns were smooth in their baton passes, whereas the preceding Owls were sloppy on the backstretch. Peacock got the stick five yards back, strained to close the gap down the straightaway…and popped his hamstring.“ (WM-Peacock reinjured the hamstring he’d hurt in Europe at the end of August ’35, keeping him  from competing at his best at the 1936 U.S. Olympic Trials.)

 

1942—With Herb Douglas running the lead-off leg, Xavier/Louisiana won the 440y-Relay at the Penn Relays in 41.7. It was the first Championship Relay win at Penn for an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges/Universities) team.

Douglas was recruited to compete at Xavier by Hall-of-Famer Ralph Metcalfe and won the bronze medal in the Long Jump at the 1948 Olympics in London. “It was a big day for Xavier,” Douglas said recently. “It was like winning an event in the Olympics.” Sadly, Douglas passed away in 2023 at the age of 101. He had been the oldest living Olympic medalist.

From Sports Illustrated:

“Douglas and his teammates had traveled to Philadelphia in April 1942 only to learn that no hotel would house them “because we were a black school coming from the South,” Douglas says.

The closest lodging his coach could find was miles outside the city, smack next to a brewery. “That’s all we smelled all night,” Douglas says. “I was so angry. It [made you] want to go beat the world. And that’s what we did.” The next day, with Douglas running leadoff in the 4×110-yard final, Xavier knocked off favorites Pittsburgh and Penn State to become the carnival’s first HBCU relay champion. “We were on our way as African Americans,” says Douglas.

“Until then, black athletes had only occasionally made the papers for their exploits at Franklin Field; even (Jesse) Owens was upstaged in 1936, mere months before his gold-medal performance at the Berlin Olympics, when the University of Texas team arrived wearing 10-gallon hats to practice their starts. But these Xavier runners of ’42 were hailed as trailblazers on the track. “Brown America hit the jackpot with gusto here last weekend at the Penn Relays,” reported the historically black Pittsburgh Courier under the headline “Xavier Leads Sepia Brigade as Race Stars Dominate Relays.” “In fact, it marked the first time any all-Negro institution ever crashed the sacred portals of the relay’s inner sanctum of championships.”

Running the opening 440y leg, Barney Ewell helped Penn State win the Sprint Medley (3:26.5). He also won the Long Jump with a leap of 24-5  ½ (7.45). Ewell ran the lead-off leg on the U.S. 4×100 team that won the gold medals at the 1948 Olympics.

New Hampshire’s Boo Morcom won the first of his 2 titles in the Pole Vault (13-6 [4.11+). He became a legend in Masters competition, competing in many events into his 70s. He was a coach at Penn for 35 years and later coached at his alma mater.

Georgetown’s Al Blozis won his 2nd title in the Shot Put (54-11 [16.73+]) and Discus (160-6  ¾ [48.93]). (Also won in 1940). He was inducted into the National Hall of Fame in 2015.

Herb Douglas

Blozishttps://www.usatf.org/athlete-bios/al-blozis

Morcomhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boo_Morcom;

http://masterstrack.com/masters-legend-boo-morcom-dies-at-91-hall-of-famer-as-jumper/

 

1953–Morgan State’s Josh Culbreath won the first of his three Penn Relays titles in the 400m hurdles (4-24). Culbreath was a 3-time U.S. Champion and won the bronze medal in the 400-meter hurdles at the 1956 Olympics.

He coached Central State of Ohio to national prominence in the NAIA and was the athletic director at Morehouse College. He helped revive the sport at Central after it was dropped, and he appeared with his good friend, Bill Cosby, in two track-related episodes of “The Bill Cosby Show.” He portrayed “Tailwind”  Turner, an old rival of Cosby’s, and the show’s races were actually taped at the Meadowlands Inv. and the Penn Relays.

RELATED LINKS:  Cosby show (search for Tailwind) :

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x8oa32u

President Clinton meets coach Culbreathhttp://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=46653#axzz1sv6jcNKa.

 

 

The Murphy “Legacy” at Penn (see attached file)

(We are Proud and honored to say that the Murphy clan is this year’s recipient of The Steinbrenner Family Heritage Award, which was established in 2001 to recognize multi-generational families for their support and dedication to the Penn Relays.

As I’ve mentioned many times before, my cousin, Tom Murphy, was a pretty good runner in his day. One of the highlights of his career came in the H.S. Boys Championship Mile Relay at Penn (4-25).

“In the pre-internet era, it was hard to know what teams in other areas were doing, but the St.Augustine coach had heard that Rindge Tech had been running well in the Boston area and told his team, “You have your work cut out for you.”

The anticipation was high for the final, but “Rindge dropped the stick early,” said Tom. We didn’t know that Rindge had a great anchor, but he was probably 30 yards behind me when we started the anchor leg. I ran about 48.4, and he ran 47.1, which was announced as the fastest split of the weekend, even faster than the college runners.”

St.Augustine won in 3:26.6, and that Rindge anchor turned out to be Charlie Jenkins, who went on to win gold medals in the 400 and 4×400 relay at the 1956 Olympics. Jenkins also won 8 Relay watches at Villanova (1955-1957). (His son Chip anchored Villanova’s winning 4×400 at the 1986 Relays and won Olympic gold after running in the first round of the 4×400 at the 1992 Games in Barcelona). Murphy also had future success at Franklin Field–he anchored Manhattan College to a win in the 2-mile relay in 1957 (but lost out in a photo-finish with Michigan State’s Willie Atterberry in 1958), won the 800-meters at the 1959 US-Soviet dual meet, and won a Olympic Development races at the 1959 (880y) and 1960 (800) Relays.

Rindge was so upset over their loss that they raised funds to bring St.Augustine to Boston for a match race later in the season. “It wasn’t much of a race,” said Tom. “I remember they had a big lead, and I patted Charlie on the back and told him, ‘Have a good one.’” Rindge won easily and set a National Record in the process!

https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1953/04/26/92708017.html?pageNumber=232

 

1958–Dyrol Burleson (Cottage Grove, OR) runs 4:13.2 to set a National H.S. record. Burleson had a great career at Oregon and was a 2-time Olympic finalist (6th-1960, 5th-1964). He put two American Records in both the 1500-meters and the Mile and had a mile best of 3:55.6. He won three NCAA and U.S. titles in the 1500/mile and anchored Oregon to a World Record of 16:09.0 (actual time was 16:08.9) in the 4-mile relay in 1962 (he ran 3:57.7). That mark stood as the collegiate record until Arkansas ran 16:07.96 in 1999. He was also one of the first Oregon runners to break 4-minutes and the first to do so at Hayward Field.

Burleson was inducted into the U.S. Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2010

Sports Illustrated Vault: https://vault.si.com/vault/1958/05/12/triumphs-and-tribulations

https://bringbackthemile.com/athletes/detail/dyrol_burleson

Prep Historyhttp://runningentertainment.com/runningshots25.html

 

1964- This was the first time a Jamaica team won a high school championship at the Penn Relays.

Kingston College, anchored by future three-time Olympic medalist Lennox Miller, won the 440-yard relay in 42.7 seconds, and the floodgates were opened. Jamaican teams became a dominant force at Penn over the years. (KC would win the event again in 1965 and 1966.)

That Kingston team was named to the Relays Wall of Fame in 2014 to mark the 50th Anniversary of their historic

win.

https://kctimes.org/articles.aspx?articleid=1571&kcedtn=1025

It was also my first year at Penn as a fan!  I had run in one of the Saturday morning high school mile relays in 1961 but didn’t return to Franklin Field until this year. And it wasn’t to see all of the relay action!

I had signed up with Track and Field News to join their tour of the Tokyo Olympics later in the year, and I was keenly keeping track of all things Olympic. When I read that Bob Hayes would compete in a memorable sprint double at the Relays, I jumped to get a close-up look at the Olympic champion-to-be in the 100 and 4×100 relay.

While watching Hayes win the 100-yard dash in 9.3 and the 220 in 20.6, a strange thing happened–I became addicted to the Relays itself and haven’t missed one since!

The outstanding collegian at the meet was Norm Tate, a junior at North Carolina Central, who won the Long        (24-11 [7.59]) and Triple (50-8  ¼ [15.45] jumps and anchored the winning 440-(41.0) and 880-(1:25.6) yard relays. Villanova became the 3rd  school to win four Championship relays, taking the 2-mile, 4-mile, sprint medley, and distance medley. Vic Zwolak ran on three of the winning teams and also won the steeplechase.

Kingston Collegehttps://www.kctimes.org/articles.aspx?articleid=1632&kcedtn=1028

NY Times Coverage

 

1964–Al Oerter threw 206-6 (62.94) at the Mt.Sac Relays to get his 4th and final World Record in the Discus

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Men%27s_discus_throw_world_record_progression

 

1969—Steve Prefontaine, a senior at Coos Bay (OR) H.S., ran 8:41.5 for 2-miles at the Corvallis Invitational to smash the National H.S. Record of 8:48.4, which was set by Rick Riley (Ferris, WA) in 1966.

Pre’s Records:

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/1245002-the-end-of-an-era-steve-prefontaines-last-major-record-falls#slide3

 

1970—For the 3rd year in a row (1968-1970), Villanova won the same 5 events at the Penn Relays:

Mile—3:07.9—Larry James ran the anchor leg all 3 years

2-Mile—7:28.1—Anchored by Marty Liquori (1:48.1)

4-Mile—16:40.2–6th win in 7 years…Dick Buerkle ran the 2nd leg, had the fastest split—4:05.5, Liquori anchored

Sprint Medley—3:19.0–3rd win in a row…Larry James ran the lead-off leg all 3 years.

Distance Medley—9:38.5—anchored by Liquori (4:03.9)

Chris Mason ran the 3rd leg on the 3 longest relays—1:51.2, 4:14.9, 2:56.1.

Arizona State’s Mark Murro, who had set an American Record of 300’ (91.44) the previous month, won the Javelin with a Relays Record throw of  271-3 (82.69+).

John Carlos won the Olympic Development 100-yard dash in 9.2

NY Times Coverage

 

1975—Villanova, with a lineup of Ken Schappert (1:49.6), Greg Eckman (46.7), Tom Gregan (2:55.6), and Eamonn Coghlan (3:56.3), set a World Record of 9:28.2 in the Distance Medley (yards) at the Penn Relays. It was the Wildcats’ 10th win in the event in a fantastic 16-year winning streak.

NY Times

 

1981—Tennessee won the 4×100 (39.68), 4×200 (1:22.57), and Shuttle Hurdles (56.4) Relays. Willie Gault ran on all 3 teams, handling the lead-off leg in the sprint relays and anchoring the SH.

As noted yesterday (4-24), Sydney Maree anchored Villanova to wins in the 4×1500 and Distance Medley Relays.

For the 2nd year in a row, the Tennessee State Tigerbelles, coached by Hall-of-Famer Ed Temple, swept the 4×100 (44.99) and 4×400 (3:33.04) Relays. Anchoring both teams was Chandra Cheeseborough, who also won the 100-meter in 11.54. She would win Olympic gold in 1984 in the 4×100 and 4×400 and silver in the 400 meters.

Freshman Joetta Clark anchored Tennessee to a win in the 4×800 (8:38.1) and would do the same the next 3 years!

Houston sophomore Carl Lewis set a relay record of 26-9 (8.15) in the Long Jump.

Keith Connor won the Triple Jump (52-4  ½ [15.96]), and his SMU teammate Michael Carter won the Shot Put with a Relays Record toss of (66-2  ¼ [20.17]). He would win again in 1984, improving his record to 68-4  ¼ ( 20.83).

Connor set the current Collegiate Record of 57-7  ¾ (17.57) in 1982 and would win 2 NCAA titles and the bronze medal at the 1984 Olympics, while Carter won the silver medal at the L.A. Olympics and won 3 Super Bowls as a nose tackle with the San Francisco 49ers.

Temple: https://www.usatf.org/athlete-bios/ed-temple

 

1982— Oklahoma’s Kellie Cathey ran 32:22.5 for 10,000-meters at the Mt.SAC Relays. Her time bettered the American and Collegiate Records but couldn’t be ratified as such since she ran along with the men!

http://www.copperarea.com/pages/kellie-cathey-comes-home-2/

 

1987—As reported yesterday (4-24), Georgetown (9:20.96) won a great DMR over Villanova (9:21.02) and Mount St. Mary’s (9:21.66), with all 3 teams bettering the previous World Record.

In appreciation of their outstanding performances in a losing cause, outgoing Relays Director Jim Tuppeny presented Penn Relays watches, usually given only to the winners, to the teams from Villanova and Mt.St. Mary’s.

The Women’s Distance Medley was won by Villanova (10:55.46) on Thursday with a lineup of Gina Procaccio (3:22.0), the current head women’s coach at her alma mater, Celeste Halliday (54.8), Debbie Grant (2:04.6) and sophomore Vicki Huber (4:34.1), who also won the Invitation Mile (4:36.25) on Saturday and was named the Outstanding Female Performer of the Relays.

There was a snafu in the final of the Men’s 4×100, which Florida won in 40.23. Outgoing runners from TCU and Tennessee were placed in the wrong lanes, leading officials to call for a rerun, which TCU won in 39.26. Since Florida had been guaranteed at least a share of the title, they declined to compete in the rerun, leaving the Gators and TCU co-champions. TCU also won the 4×200 in 1:21.99.

Highlights from “Thursday Night at the Races” included Arkansas’ Joe Falcon winning the College 10,000 in 28:34.3 and Sydney Maree (13:34.7) holding off Chris Fox (13:36.1) to win the Olympic Development 5000. Alberto Salazar, struggling to get back to top form, finished well back in 14:27.8.  Falcon would come back two days later to run the second leg on the Razorbacks’ winning 4-Mile Relay. The Razorbacks also won the 4×400 in 3:04.3.

Syracuse’s Anthony Washington won the 1st of his 3 Penn titles in the Discus (181-11 [55.46]). He went on to become the World Champion in the event in 1999.

Tennessee’s LaVonna Martin won the 100m-Hurdles (13.38) and would win the silver medal at the 1992 Olympics.

Sean “P-Diddy” Combs, the rapper and record producer, was a football star and quarter-miler for New York’s Mount Saint Michael’s Academy. On Saturday morning, he led his team’s 4×400 relay.

 

1987–Newcomer Butch Reynolds (Ohio State) won the 400-meters in 44.60 at the Drake Relays. He would set a World record of 43.29 the following year.

 

1992-The Santa Monica T.C. set a World Record 1:19.11 in the 4×200 at the Penn Relays: Michael Marsh 20.4, Leroy Burell 19.7, Floyd Heard 19.8, Carl Lewis 19.2.

 

1998—Michigan, getting a great 3:55.5 anchor from Kevin Sullivan, who sprinted past Arkansas’ Seneca Lassiter in the home stretch, won the Men’s Distance Medley (4-24)  in 9:27.64. Check the attached file for Sullivan’s description of the race and his fondness for the Penn Relays. “That race will always mean more to me than any NCAA Championship or All-American plaque that I won simply because of the great history of the Penn Relays and the great friends I had to share that success with.”   (Sullivan is currently the Director of T&F/ X-Country at Michigan).

The two teams met again the next day in the 4-mile Relay, which had been reinstated after the relay had conducted a 4×1500-Meters race the previous 22 years. There was no dramatic finish this time, with Lassiter (4:02.8) leading Arkansas (16:11.65) to an easy win over Sullivan’s (3:58.5) Wolverines (16:20.09) and Stanford (16:23.16), which ran with a lineup of Michael Stember, Jonathon Riley, Jason Lunn, and Gabe Jennings.

With an abundance of quality milers spread among many teams in the field, there had been hopes that the magical 16-minute barrier might be challenged, but windy conditions kept that from happening.

NY Times Coverage

 

2015—The 4-mile relay at Penn provided one of the more bizarre scenes in the history of the Relays (or any other meet)! Here’s what I wrote for Eastern Track:

This race attained instant classic status, thanks to the bizarre tactics of Oregon’s Edward Cheserek.

Ever since the 4-mile relay was revived at Penn in 1998 (a 4×1500 from 1976-1997), the dream each year has been that some team would break the 16-minute barrier in the race. Teams have come in with the talent to average under 4 minutes for each mile leg, but the closest any team has come is Michigan, which set the Relays Record of 16:04.54 in 2005.

The dream almost became a reality this year, but the tactical anchor leg meant the barrier would remain unbroken for another year.

Here is how the race unfolded:

The FloTrack announcers, who did an otherwise great job all weekend, were obviously confused about how to take splits in this imperial race on a metric track. They dismissed any chance of a sub-16-minute race in the first 200 meters (!), thinking the leaders had gone through that marker in 35 seconds.

In reality, it was a decent pace, with Vllanova’s Sam McEntee (4:01.6), Oregon’s David Winn (4:01.7), Cornell’s James Gowans (4:01.8), and Stanford’s Thomas Coyle (4:02.2) all running well on the opening leg.

The fast pace continued on the 2nd leg, with Villanova’s Robert Denault (4:01.8) and Cornell’s Ben Raineiro (4:01.6) handing off together, just ahead of Oregon’s Johnny Gregorek (4:01.7), with Stanford’s Erk Olson (4:02.2) close behind. Tommy Awad moved Penn into the picture with his 4:00.7 split, which would turn out to be the fastest of the race.

The 3rd leg brought the prospect of a sub-16-minute race closer to reality when Oregon’s Will Geoghegan (4:01.0) and Villanova’s Patrick Tiernan (4:01.1) broke away from the others on the final lap. Geoghegan had opened up a 5-meter gap on Tiernan, who returned to hand off almost even with the Ducks.

With total times of 12:04.4 and 12:04.5,  Oregon and Villanova needed a 3:55 anchor to get under 16 minutes. While that might have been asking too much of Edward Cheserek and Jordy Williamsz, who had respective PRs of 3:56.43 (mile) and 3:36.74 (1500), surely the Relays Record of 16:04.54 and even the Collegiate Record of 16:03.24, could fall.

Not so fast, so to speak. As soon as he received the baton, Cheserek slowed the pace, allowing Stanford’s Sean McGorty, Georgetown’s Ahmed Bile, and Cornell’s Connor Herr to catch up to him and Williamsz as they hit the first 1/4-mile split in about 65 seconds.

And then the fun began. About midway through the first turn of the 2nd lap, Cheserek, apparently confident that he could outkick anyone at any pace, almost stopped. His 4 pursuers didn’t take the bait, letting him keep the lead regardless of how slow he wanted to go. There were some boos from the crowd, and even one of the FloTrack announcers said incredulously, “What is going on?”.

This continued until they hit the backstretch when Bile shot to the front (see photo below), only to slow the pace himself (when his coach immediately yelled, “NO!”). His lead didn’t last long since Cheserek took over again, increasing the tempo to a more reasonable pace.

They passed the 1/2-mile split in about 2:14(!), with Cheserek again slowing down. Cornell’s Herr moved into the lead, and after it looked like it would be a 2-team race at the end of the third leg, 9 teams were now within 15 meters of each other.

It was now Oklahoma’s Brandon Doughty’s turn to move in front, and he led through the 3/4 split in 3:21! He was followed by Cheserek, McGorty, Williamsz, Bile, and Wisconsin’s Joe Hardy (4:02.3), who took the lead heading into the backstretch.

Cheserek unleashed his feared kick, which was 250 meters away, and it looked like McGorty might block Williamsz’s path for a moment. But the Villanova senior broke clear and started chasing Cheserek. This was a rematch of the final sprint to the finish in Friday’s Distance Medley, when Cheserek overtook Williams to secure the win for Oregon. This time, the chaser was Williamsz, and the outcome was different as he passed Cheserek with 50 meters to give Villanova its 19th win in this event at Penn, one shy of Arkansas’ record total of 20. It was the Wildcats first win since 1993.

Villanova coach Marcus O’Sullivan summed up all of the elements of the race perfectly:

“I’m thrilled. This is an extraordinary day for me because this is one of the races I thought we would be challenged with.”

“The 4:13 (for Williams) doesn’t tell the whole story. To me, the 4:02, 4:01, and 4:01 were a string of miles that you want to break 16 minutes, and this was a very breakable 16 minutes today. That’s the most impressive part of the relay, for me: to see those guys, one after the other, put it together on one particular day.

The last leg was an entire theater, exciting moments, and their booing, cheering, hoopla, and everything. That’s what it’s all about, to me. It’s the excitement of getting a crowd; it’s entertainment, and you don’t know what the exciting finish will be. I’m just happy here today that it fell in our favor, as opposed to yesterday; it didn’t fall in our favor.”

“So much went on out there. Everyone has their hat in the ring, and when you look at the race and everyone has a vested interest, that’s what makes it so exciting. When the race opened up, and the sprint was on, it’s just a culmination of this exciting moment where you don’t know what will happen, and with 150 to go, you still don’t know what will happen.”

Added Williams, “The boys set it up so perfectly. I couldn’t ask for a better spot, right behind Ches. He put the brakes on, and the longer that it stayed slow like that, the better it was for me. I’m an 800 guy (PR-1:46.77), so I was trying to stay relaxed. I just tried to stay as patient as I could, even when Cheserek went with 250 to go. That’s what I did yesterday.

I was running on emotion. It’s like a home crowd for us, so I dug deep. It feels perfect. Honestly, with 200 to go, I thought I had messed it up. When it went that slow, I would never go to the front.  Last night, I told the boys I think I can get him. If the race goes just right, I can get him. I guess it went just right for us. If they think I can do it, they will get me there. You don’t beat that guy easily. It’s a strenuous effort.  I’ve seen what he’s done; I tried to give it back to him.”

“I’m going to get a lot of credit for this, but it’s mostly these guys. It’s a team effort, not jusone-man thing. Thesehese guys are my best mates. I’m so proud of them all to have put me in the position they did.”

Ken Goe of Oregonlive.com gives his take on the race (includes links to some post-race videos.

http://www.oregonlive.com/trackandfield/index.ssf/2015/04/sunday_morning_news_notes_link_15.html

Relays Director Dave Johnson said, “It’s the most fascinating race I’ve ever seen at the Penn Relays or anywhere else. I was rooting for the possibility of a sub-16, and then it suddenly turned into the most bizarre, most utterly amazing, and thrilling race ever.”

 

See the Picture Below (also included in the attached Word file)

 

Veteran T&F photographer Steve Sutton captured the moment when Georgetown’s Ahmed Bile finally took the lead after Oregon’s Edward Cheserek almost brought the race to a complete halt! Villanova’s Jordy Williamsz asks, “Who’s next?”.This picture was also on the cover of the 2016 Penn Relays program.

 

2021—Keturah Orji jumped 48-11 1⁄2 (14.92) in Chula Vista(CA) to break Tori Franklin’s American Record of

48-8  1⁄4 [14.84]).

 

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