Bulldogs to Compete at 116th Penn Relays

Alexa Monti. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)
Alexa Monti. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Yale to Host Springtime Invitational Sunday

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - This weekend a select group of Bulldogs will compete in the 116th   Annual Penn Relays. Hosted by Penn, the three-day long Carnival takes place on Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pa. It is the largest and longest-running track meet in the world, and this year almost 250 colleges will send athletes, along with nearly 1,000 high schools and athletes from around the world, to total more than 22,000 entries. Yale will send three relay teams and several individual competitors. On Sunday, Yale will host the Springtime Invitational.

The Penn Relays have their start in a 1895 meet to inaugurate the opening of Franklin Field. According to the official Penn Relays website, Penn first hosted a relay race in 1893 as a way to make its usual competition more exciting, with four men each running a quarter mile. Two years later they invited high schools and colleges to a day of nine events: four for collegiate runners, four for high schoolers and the collegiate championship race. The NCAA Championships were not held until 1921, so Penn Relays was the only place for competition from around the country for many years.

In 1910 "Carnival" was officially added to the event's name because of the tent camp that evolved from spectators and athletes coming together around Franklin Field. Until 1913, there were no passing zones and no batons involved; the athlete running a succeeding leg would stand on the starting line and wait to be tagged.

Women competed for the first time in 1962, though a broad range of events was not developed until 1968. The Relays switched to metric events in 1976.

The Penn Relays are responsible for making relays a central part of track and field competition. They set the standard for adding relays to the 1912 Olympic program. A more in-depth history of the meet can be found here.

This year Yale will send 4x100-meter, 4x400-meter and 4x800-meter relay teams to Penn. All relay competitors compete first in heats, and the fastest eight teams in each heat compete the next day in the Championship of America final. The next eight teams in the ECAC compete in the ECAC Championship final, and then the closest eight teams following the above compete in the College final. For the 4x400-meter relay there is also a separate Heptagonal event.

In the 4x100-meter relay last year, the Yale team finished in 49.08, which was good for fifth place in its heat and 51st place overall in a field of 81 teams. Sophomore Alexa Monti ran the first leg of the relay, followed by senior Claudia Duncan, junior Jennifer Parker, and junior Kate Grace ran anchor. Three of those runners will be returning for this year's race. Yale's best time this season is 47.65, which is already a solid two seconds faster than last year. Heats will begin at 1:05 p.m. on Thursday.

In the 4x400-meter relay, Yale competed in the Heptagonal race, in which the Bulldogs finished third.  The team of Duncan, Jennifer Lin '09, Parker and Grace finished in 3:47.93. Duncan and Grace will certainly compete again this year. Freshman Allison Rue and senior captain Faith Briggs have been important contributors to Yale's 4x400-meter team so far this season; the team's best time has been 3:47.59, so they are on track to step it up with more competition. The Heptagonal heat is at 6:55 p.m. on Thursday.

Senior Alexandra Cadicamo will be competing in the 3,000-meter run. Her season best is 9:52.73, which qualified her for ECACs. She is scheduled on Thursday at 8:45 p.m.

Sophomore Anne Lovelace will compete in the 3,000-meter steeplechase competition at 8:15 p.m. on Thursday. Last year Lovelace finished ninth in 11:16.22. This year her season best is 10:40.94, which she ran at Princeton in early April. With good competition, she should post another fast time at Penn.

On Saturday, a team will compete in the 4x800-meter relay. Last year Yale's team consisted of senior Stephany Reaves, Grace, Duncan, and senior Erin Walsh, and they finished in 8:56.42. The Bulldogs have not raced in the 4x800-meter run outdoors yet this season. Their race will be at 1:55 p.m.

Results from each event will be posted live at PennRelaysOnline.com, and the Bulldogs' results will be posted at YaleBulldogs.com at the end of each day.

On Sunday, Yale will host the the Springtime Invitational. Held every year on the Sunday after Penn Relays at the Cuyler-Dwyer track complex, this is the Bulldogs' last meet before Heptagonal Championships May 8-9.

Field events will start at 10 a.m. and running events at 12 p.m. There are no set times for the following events; the meet will run on an open schedule where each event will start as soon as the last one has cleared the track. Buses will be available to transport spectators between Payne Whitney Gym and the track complex every 30 minutes.

Report by Kyle Eichner '12, Yale Sports Publicity