by Pearl Watts
The Northern Virginia area did not have a banner weekend at the 109th
Annual Penn Relay Carnival held at Philadelphia's Franklin Field, but
area did come away with some creditable performances at the meet where
there and competing in front of such a large appreciative crowd is what
usually of the utmost importance.
The top finish among the high school competitors on Saturday, the final
of the three day extravaganza, was Steve Huntzinger of Robinson's third
finish in the boys discus throw. Huntzinger, who came in as one of the
favorites in the event, managed a best effort of 172 feet 10 inches amidst
light rain which fell throughout Saturday morning at Penn.
Huntzinger was edged out of second place by just one inch with Derek
McGuire of Immaculate Heart, NY the runnerup at 172-11 and Raybun Fox
Vandebilt High, LA the winner with a distance of 180-8. Huntzinger, who
thrown a personal best of 188-4 at the Arcadia (CA) Invitational just
weeks ago, felt he was more hampered by the wet conditions in the discus
circle since he utilizes his legs more than most of the other competitors
many times rely more on their arms to fling the disc to their maximum
The West Springfield boys finished a creditable sixth place on Saturday
the Championship of America 4x800 relay in 7 minutes 55.93 seconds with
team of Tim Kwak, John Cook, Joe McMahon and Jeff Day although that was
quite the placing or time they were looking for after runnning the second
fastest time of in Fridays 4x800 trial heats at 7:52.24. State rival
Midlothian had the fastest time in the heats at 7:50.77 and then finished
third in the finals at 7:47.89 with Long Beach Poly (CA) the winner in
Disappointment also befelled Florida's Rickey Harris (Centreville High
grad) on Saturday morning in his bid to win his third straight collegiate
hurdles title to go along with his two high school wins. Harris was out
quickly and over the first of the ten hurdles ahead of a very strong field
which included South Carolina freshman Ken Ferguson and Auburn's Fred
Although having to chop his steps at the second and fifth hurdles, Harris
back into rhythm at each subsequent hurdle and had a two step lead going
the ninth hurdle.
Ferguson of South Carolina, who set the national high school record in
hurdles last year, cut that lead in half approaching the final hurdle
Harris then hit the final hurdle hard; first with his front foot and then
caught the hurdle with his back foot and landed chest first onto the Franklin
Field track. Seemingly unhurt, Harris was able to get back up and complete
the race with Ferguson the winner in 49.63 and George Mason's Richard
Phillips fifth in 51.69.
Harris had already had a busy weekend at Penn prior to the 400 hurdles
Saturday morning with three races on Friday when he ran the leadoff leg
the Gators' 4x110 meter shuttle hurdle relay team which finished second
54.90 to South Carolina which set a national record of 53.94 with Ken
Ferguson on anchor. Harris also ran the leadoff leg for their 4x200 relay
team which advanced to the eight school championship final and the anchor
their 4x400 relay team which advanced to the eight school final.
Harris finished up his weekend following the hurdle fall on Saturday with
the leadoff leg on Florida's third place 4x200 team (1:22.31) and anchored
the Gators from sixth to fourth in the 4x400 final (3:07.45).
Texas Christian University was the winner of that 4x400 Championship of
America event in 3:05.41 with TCU's Jerry Harris (West Potomac) running
second leg and moving his team all the way from sixth to first on his
carry. TCU had led all qualfiers on Friday in better weather conditions
the fastest qualifying time of 3:03.65 with Harris recording the fastest
relay split among all collegians at 44.7. Harris also ran the third leg
the Horned Frogs third place 4x100 relay team (39.77) as Mississippi State
recorded a slight upset to win at 39.20.
Also on Saturday in the staple of the Penn Relays, the high school boys
4x400 relay trials, Lake Braddock had the fastest time among local teams
3:20.35 with the team of Dan Wilson, Shawn Harrison, Gilber Elston and
Craig Gallimore (48.2) but it took a time of 3:18.41 or better in order
make the eight team Championship of America high school final.
In collegiate action on Saturday, the George Mason men were third in the
IC4A 4x400 final (3:09.26). Lincoln University was fourth in the IC4A
final in 1:26.04 with Gus Schmader (Chantilly) running the second leg.
Garrett Brickner (Lake Braddock) finished eighth in the men's high jump
6-9.5 and Virginia's Carrielle Doe (South Lakes) anchored the Wahoo women
second place in the ECAC 4x200 relay (1:26.06).
In Friday action, the Robinson girls 4x800 relay team of Lauren Hovland,
Vicki Moore, Joanna Rodgers and Sam Ference finished 11th in the Championship
of America race at 9:26.95 after just making the 12th and final qualifying
spot the day before in the trials by .06 second when Meredith Brooks,
Rodgers and Ference (2:18.2) ran 9:25.29.
The Jefferson boys finished sixth in the boys distance medley relay at
10:25.26 with the team of Keith Bechtol, Tim Zagrobelny, Chris Anderson
Christo Landry with Northport, NY the winner in 10:15.70. Lake Braddock
ninth in 10:29.15 with the team of Danny Howick, Craig Gallimore, Gilbert
Elston and Steve Hoogland but may have been able to finish as high as
had not anchor runner Hoogland been pushed to the ground with both hands
another anchor in close quarters in the middle of the final curve.
In other boys field event action at Penn, Lake Braddock's Carl Hunter
personal best effort of 23-1.75 to finish third in the long jump; Langley's
Nick Crumpton was seventh in the triple jump (45-8) and Westfield's David
Lewis tied for eighth in the pole vault (13-7.5) while in girls field
Lake Braddock sophomore Ashley Haislip was fifth in the high jump (5-7),
Adrienne Mayo of South Lakes placed fifth in the triple jump (38-4.75)
South Lakes junior Alisha Bryant was eighth in the long jump (17-7).
In the always popular Collegiate and Olympic Development Thursday night
the races, American University's Samia Akbar (Oakton), in her first race
at the distance, ran a strong NCAA provisional qualifier of 34:17.48 in
10,000 meter run to finish second among collegians and William and Mary's
Jacob Frey (Oakton) ran a personal best by almost 30 seconds in finishing
fifth in the collegiate men's 10,000 run with a clocking of 29:40.41.
Once again, the Penn Relays lived up to its billing as the most widely
watched track and field competition of the season as a total of 98,275
spectators were in attendance for the three day meet with 23,489 on Thursday;
35,003 on Friday and 39,783 in less than ideal conditions on Saturday.