Jeramy Elkaim will be looking for redemption at this year's Penn Relays. (Credit: oregonlive.com)
Ladies and gentlemen, it is finally here. Penn Athletics’ signature event, the Penn Relays, are here and underway. For the 120th time, athletes from across the country — and the globe — have converged on Penn’s campus for the myriad track and field events through Saturday afternoon. Unquestionably, there are dozens of events that excite everyone taking place at Franklin Field. But which events are our editors most excited about? Find out!
Sports Editor Riley Steele: I’ll never forget my first Penn Relays experience last year, taking in the beautiful weather while thoroughly enjoying the atmosphere and unbridled joy of victorious high school runners.
This time around, the events that excite me most are unquestionably anything involving USA vs. The World. Specifically, I can’t wait to see former Olympians Walter Dix and Justin Gatlin do battle against some of the world’s best in the men’s 4x100-meter race on Saturday afternoon. Gatlin performed at the Penn Relays in 2013, leading his 4x100-meter squad to victory. The mere thought of a repeat performance is enough to get me out of bed and down to Franklin Field before noon this weekend.
Sports Editor Ian Wenik: You can watch the pros all you want. I’m going to have my eyes firmly glued to the college men’s 4xmile championship on Saturday afternoon. There may not be a single field more stacked than this one. Stanford’s team, which boasts the Rosa brothers, Joe and Jim, should be worth the price of admission alone. Both juniors are All-Americans, with Joe boasting the slightly better personal best in the mile (4:01.72). If the Cardinal have those two running the third and fourth legs of the race, they’ll be tough to beat.
But Stanford’s Pac-12 rival Oregon, the top seed for Saturday, is no slouch. The Ducks have five runners at their disposal that have run sub-four-minute miles, including senior Jeramy Elkaim, who is looking for redemption after his late-race fade in 2013 handed the Relays’ distance medley title to Penn State. That list doesn’t even include freshman phenom Edward Cheserek, who’s already won two national championships in two different seasons (cross country and the indoor 3,000m).
Maybe I’m just being nostalgic. After all, I watched all these guys torment my team back when I ran in high school (go Millburn!).
Senior Sports Editor Steven Tydings: Why pick out a single event? The Penn Relays are so much more about the experience and an eclectic group of runners and throwers from throughout the nation (and beyond) taking part in the highest level of competition. This is a time to celebrate — regardless of the event — and enjoy a crowd that far surpasses what we saw during Homecoming or Spring Fling.
And when you look at the talent that is coming just from Penn, it makes me want to be there for the entire weekend. Noel Jancewicz already did her thing, and now it’s time for some upperclassmen to make their marks. If there is one race that I have to pick, I’m going to take the Olympic Development mile at 3:55 p.m. on Saturday, where Penn’s star, Thomas Awad, will look to keep up his impressive sophomore year.
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