The 122th edition of the Penn Relays concluded yesterday with a wheel, two watches, and a new Ivy League record.
The Saturday headliner for HepsNation came from the College Men 4xMile Championship of America race, where the hosting Penn Quakers surprised and delighted the crowd by winning their first Championship of America event since 1974. The race was not a gimmie for Penn. Keaton Naff ran the lead-off leg, sitting in the mid-pack for the majority of his leg before positioning himself even with the front four at the first exchange so that it was easy for second leg Chris Hatler to move to the leading position right within the first 50m of his leg. Hatler ran the Distance Medley Relay the day before but he managed to hold the leading position for his entire mile leg. Nick Tuck held the position until 275 meters to go on the third leg when Iona, Indiana, and Georgetown made a move to pass him prior to the final exchange. Thomas Awad got the baton in fourth place, steps behind Indiana and Georgetown and about 20 meters behind Iona. Awad was able to keep it close with Georgetown and Indiana as this group of three slowly closed the gap on Iona. At the bell, Awad sat in fourth place. While some people may have questioned how much energy Awad would have for this final kick after racing the Distance Medley Relay the day before, it seems like doubt never came to Awad’s mind as with 100m to go, Awad began to unleash his legendary kick. He passed Iona and Georgetown on the final curve, and slingshoted around Indiana at the top of the final stretch, maintaining the pace through the final 50 meters to the line to win the event in 16:26.30. Officially, their splits were Naff (4:08.0), Hatler (4:06.7), Tuck (4:11.3), and Awad (4:00.3). This was the 10th time Penn has won the 4xMile race – a first since 1950. The last time Penn won a Championship of America event was in 1974 when they won the Shuttle Hurdle Relay for the third year in a row. The last time an Ivy school won this race was in 2012 when Princeton won with Olympian Donn Cabral on the anchor. Hatler, Tuck, and Awad ran this event last year where Penn finished 6th overall.
Cornell’s Rudy Winkler won his first watch yesterday as he dominated the College Men Hammer Throw Championship with a distance of 231-07. Three of Winkler’s four legal throws would have won the competition yesterday as he had a winning cushion of 24 feet. Winkler was the runner-up in this event last year.
Princeton alumna Ashley Higginson earned her fourth career Penn Relays watch – her first as a professional athlete – yesterday with her win in the Olympic Development Women’s Mile. Higginson won the event win what we believe to be a new personal best time of 4:33.90. Higginson previously won two watches as a high schooler (back-to-back High School Girls 3,000m Championships) and one while at Princeton (2008 College Women 5,000m Championship). Penn’s Ashley Montgomery finished sixth in the race with a time of 4:44.53.
Columbia demonstrated yesterday in the College Men 4×800 Championship of America that they are still one of the middle-distance strongholds within the Ivy League. The foursome of three freshmen and one senior – Josiah Langstaff (1:51.92), Sam Ritz (1:50.16), Alek Sauer (1:48.89), Rob Napolitano (1:49.44) – finished second overall with a new Ivy League record of 7:20.41. The group was about 3 seconds behind winner Penn State (7:17.37) and 3 seconds ahead of third place Indiana. Penn’s team of Elias Graca (1:51.33), Jeff Wiseman (1:50.20), Joseph Novak (1:52.31), and Drew Magaha (1:50.63) finished fifth in the race with 7:24.47, steps behind Georgia Tech but just ahead of Duke.
The College Women 4×800 Championship of America also resulted in changes to the Ivy League record books as Princeton and Columbia ran the #2 and #3 fastest times in conference history. Princeton’s quartet of Ashley Forte (2:08.02), Cecilia Barowski (2:03.74), Jackie Berardo (2:11.12), Zoe Sims (2:09.37) finished third overall with a time of 8:32.23. Barowski had the second fastest 800m split of anyone in the race. Meanwhile, Columbia’s line-up of Brittney Wade (2:08.74), Libby Kokes (2:09.28), Olivia Sadler (2:09.39), and Sarah Hardie (2:06.82) finished fifth overall with a time of 8:34.23.
Penn senior Sam Mattis won a watch yesterday but it wasn’t the watch that he wanted. Mattis earned the watch by being the top American athlete in the College Men Discus Throw Championships as he finished third behind two athletes from the University of West Indies – Mona. Mattis’ distance was 196-07. Noah Kennedy-White finished in sixth place with a distance of 176-07.
Other HepsNation results on the final day of Penn Relays competition include: