USA v. Jamaica. Poly Long Beach CA v. Holmwood Tech JAM. These are the main plots of the 110th Penn Relays for the high school fan. Necessary reading are results of the Jamaican national championships (HS), the Carifta Games (Caribbean under 20 and under 17 championships), and the Arcadia Invitational. Thursday is all girls. Friday is shared. Saturday is for the boys, with the 50,000 strong Saturday crowd also enjoying top collegiate and elite (USA v. the World relays) competition.
Poly v. Jamaica, Part 2
Last year, Shalonda Solomon anchored Poly Long Beach CA's 4x400 relay to a big win over the Jamaicans in a US record time of 3:55.55. Poly has the same crowd back this year, and has already run (3:36.43 at Arcadia April 10) less than a second off their national record.
photo by Errol Anderson
Penn Relays director Dave Johnson calls it the "First, Largest, Best of the Relay Meets." It started in 1895 and it has evolved to a huge carnival of runners from middle school age to the elites (USA v. the World). The Saturday afternoon crowds of 50,000 in the old double decked football stadium produce electric moments every year. High school relays are the heart of the meet, and the "Championship of America" finals have become Jamaica v. USA showdowns that bring the loudest crowds of all. Thousands of Jamaica fans waive their green and gold flags and scream support for their runners. Poly Long Beach CA last year almost singlehandedly put down the Jamaican invasion, so Jamaica is reportedly itching for revenge this year.
Penn Relays sanction issues cause late shuffle
Just 2 days before the start of this year's meet, Penn Relays director Dave Johnson announced a reshuffling of some events to separate non-members of state associations from members. Johnson said the problem involved "new interpretations of existing rules in the states of New York and Connecticut." But teams from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, DC, Massachusetts and Rhode Island were also affected. More . . .
See High School Alert on the Penn Relays web site for changes due to this situation.
Ed Grant's Opinion
One of the most expert and respected observors of high school track, having covered the sport for more than half a century, gives his reaction to the situation.
|It is unfortunate that a group of people who actually have little or no interest in our sport have managed to throw a damper on the 110th edition of the [Penn Relays]. . . The action of the New York and Connecticut athletics officials is beyond contempt. . . . As far as the "educators" who instituted these policies are concerned, it is painfully obvious they they have no business having anything to do with training young people to live in a diverse democracy such as we have in this country. The sooner they retire the better.
DyeStat at Penn in prior years
- 2003 - Poly Long Beach CA wins four relays, girls 4x100 and 4x400 USR and boys 4x400 and 4x800.
- 2002 - Boys & Girls girls set US record in 4x800, Holmwood Tech boys get big double
- 2001 - Alan Webb's South Lakes VA and Boys & Girls NY girls sweep 4x800 and DMR. Dathan Ritzenhein runs 13:51.69 5k.
- 2000 - San Lorenzo Valley CA girls 11:41.28 DMR is US record. St. Malachy's of Ireland wins DMR for fourth straight year, despite Alan Webb's sub-4 minute anchor.
- 1999 - Northwestern MD boys win 4x400 in 3:10.35. Rickey Harris wins 400H in 50.63.
- 1998 - Boys and Girls NY boys 7:41.12 4x800.