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115th Penn Relays

Thu.-Sat., April 23-25, 2009

Franklin Field, Philadelphia PA



PHILADELPHIA - Ada Unachukwu came up a little short in her atttempt to win her second straight triple jump title. But she sure did come up big again.

Unachukwu, a senior at Marlboro who won the triple jump last year with a 38-11 ¾, hopped and skipped and jumped more than a foot further than that yesterday when she landed in the sand 40-0 to clinch second place as the 115th Penn Relays began yesterday in front of 24,315 fans at breezy Franklin Field.

Unachukwu’s 40-0 matched her personal best as she finished as the top American finisher in the competition, which earned her a Penn Relays watch for the second straight year.

Watches are given to the winner of each event and to the top American finisher of each event.

Rochelle Farquharson of St. Elizabeth Tech in Jamaica finished first with a 41-1 ¾.

``Because I won last year and I was hoping to come back here and do it again,’’ said the Michigan-bound Unachukwu. ``But I can’t be dissappointed because I peformed better than I did last year and I matched my best ever. Today, there was just someone who jumped better.’’

Unackuwu was also felt like she redeemed hereself after a supar perfomance at the Arcadia Invaitional in California two weeks ago when she went just 35-0.

``Every athlete has a time when things don’t go the way they plan,’’ said Unachukwu. ``But you have to find a way to jump back and I’m proud of myself for doing that today.’’

Unachukwu wasn’t done after the triple jump.

She returned about four hours later to run the 400 leg on Marlboro’s distance medley relay, which was making its first ever appearace in the Championships of America race.

Unachukwu split 58.5 on her quarter leg to help Marlboro finish 14th in the DM in 12:26.50.

``It was a great day,’’ said Unachukwu. ``I couldn’t ask for much more.’’

In other field events action, Emily Kianka of Hopwell Valley had a great day in the high jump, placing fourth at 5-8. Kianka, the Meet of Champions winner this pasat winter, narly made 5-9 ¼ on her second try.

``I finished seventh last year, so I am happy to come back and finish as high as I did,’’ said Kianka, who made a personal best 5-8 ¼ at the Mercer County Relays last week. ``I was dissapppionted that I didn’t get over 5-9 ¼ and get a new personal best. I was so close, but that’s okay. It didn’t quite all come togetgher today, but it was pretty close.’’

Shannon Sullivan of Immaculate Heart, the M of C javelin winner lasat spring, finished third in the javelin with a 140-1.

Chrissy Finkel of Montville, third last year, finished fifth this time as the senior made 11-10.

``Usually I’d be dissappointed to not get close to my best, but I don’t feel that way,’’ said the Notre Dame-bound Finkel. ``I just love to compete here and no one really jumped well so I’m not going to let this bother me.’’