Tough Battles on Day 2 of Penn Relays

Penn hoped to win their second Penn Relays wheel in as many years today, this time in the College Men’s Distance Medley Relay Championship of America. They lined up with a talented field, which conference foes Princeton and Columbia. Fortunately for us track fans, the pace was kept honest throughout the race and the field was fairly even in the talent department, so the title could have gone to any one of eight teams – including Penn and Columbia – on the bell lap. Penn’s anchor Chris Hatler tried to make his move to the front of the pack with 300m to go, but Oregon’s anchor Sam Parkel was able to respond with Hatler and pulled away from the pack. Hatler tried to hold on but was not able to, as Oregon gapped him and then Indiana and Middle Tennessee passed him in the final 20 meters. Penn ended up in fourth place. Hatler ran a 3:58 on his anchor leg, but Columbia’s Rob Napolitano had the fastest anchor leg of the field (3:57). He got the baton in 11th place (last) by a good 30 meters but he got Columbia back into the competition by 2 laps to go and then passed two more teams on the bell lap to finish sixth overall.

Their times? Good enough to be the 4th and 5th fastest outdoor times in Ivy League history – 9:33.35 for Penn (Nick Tuck (2:58.41), Jeff Wiseman (47.12), Elias Graca (1:48.89), Chris Hatler (3:58.96)) and 9:34.92 for Columbia (Spencer Haik (3:00.81), Johanan Sowah (48.69), Alek Sauer (1:48.25), Rob Napolitano (3:57.19)).

Princeton finished 9th in the field with a time of 9:42.67 (Noah Kauppila (2:59.02), Connor Matthews (48.36), Joshua Ingalls (1:50.15), William Paulson (4:05.15))

The Penn women almost set a new conference record today… in the shuttle hurdle relay. They were originally given a time of 56.91 before they were disqualified due to their anchor hurdler starting before her teammate crossed into the “handoff” zone.  The Penn women also had the misfortune of a missed handoff during the 4×100 Championship of America, leading to them not finishing the event.

But the one bright spot today for the Quakers is Breanne Bygrave, who set a new collegiate personal best time of 13.64 to qualify in the 100m hurdle finals tomorrow.  She had the eighth fastest time in the preliminary round.  Her 13.64 is the fourth fastest time in Heps history AND the fastest time run by an Ivy Leaguer this season.

The Penn women also finished sixth in the 4×1500 Championship of America race in 17:55.05, with the quartet of Clarissa Whiting (4:33.6), Ashley Montgomery (4:20.0), Cleo Whiting (4:28.0), and Kylene Cochrane (4:33.5). That time is the fifth fastest in conference history.


photo by Steve Ruark

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