School Record Shattered at Penn Relays

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Annelies Gamble. (photo by Sam Rubin '95, Yale Sports Publicity)

Events Suffer 90-Minute Rain Delay

PHILADELPHIA- Though the weather had other things in mind, the 117th running of the Penn Relays went smoothly for the Bulldogs on Thursday. A 90-minute rain delay pushed all of the afternoon's races back, meaning that the day's events continued well into the night. Despite the set-back, the distance medley relay team was able to blast the school record by 18 seconds and several athletes ran season-best times.

The distance medley relay, consisting of a 1,200-meter run, followed by a 400-meter dash, an 800-meter run then a 1,600-meter run to finish up, is not an event that is usually contested in collegiate track and field. Today marks the first time all season that the Bulldogs have attempted it. Yet they were able to chop more than 18 seconds off the school record, which has stood at 11:30.34 since 2008. All-American senior Kate Grace led off for the team, running her 1,200-meter leg in 3:19.53 to hand off to junior Gabriella Kelly in first place. Kelly completed her circuit in 56.34, which is a season-best for her as well as for the team. Sophomore Annelies Gamble also ran a season-best in her 800-meter leg, finishing in 2:09.45. Last, sophomore Nihal Kayali brought the baton home in 4:46.76. Neither the 1,200-meter run nor the 1,600-meter run is a normal event, but both Grace's and Kayali's times are impressive marks. The team combined for a time of 11:12.08, good for seventh place out of 14 teams in the Championship of America race. It was also the fastest Ivy League mark in the race, besting both Dartmouth (11:16.02) and Cornell (11:22.15).

Another season best on the night belonged to sophomore Elizabeth Marvin in the championship 3,000-meter run. Marvin clocked in at 9:36.60, which is also her collegiate best, to finish seventh of 31 competitors. Freshman Melissa Chapman also competed in the race, finishing in 9:44.95 for 13th place.

Junior Anne Lovelace competed in the college 3,000-meter steeplechase. She placed 15th in the heat, with a time of 11:05.99. Wind and rain never make for good steeplechase conditions, but Lovelace has at least a little bit of practice in them; she contested in similar weather at the Harvard-Yale meet back on Apr. 16, finishing in 11:07.41.

In the fifth of 10 heats in the 4x100 meter relay, the Yale team finished sixth in 49.02. This is the team's second-best effort in the race so far this season and included several new members. Sophomore Adele Jackson-Gibson, freshman Kelsey Lin, sophomore Allison Rue and junior Alexa Monti all carried the baton for Yale.

Later, the 4x400-meter relay team competed in the Heptagonal heat specifically for Ivy League teams. The Yale combination of Rue, Gamble, sophomore Jenna Poggi and Kelly took seventh in 3:56.16. Poggi had the only fresh legs; Gamble and Kelly had competed in the distance medley relay only about an hour previously, and Rue had been a member of the 4x100-meter relay team earlier in the day.

Despite the nasty weather, 22,750 spectators turned out to watch the first day of races at this year's Penn Relays. Competition begins tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. Results and official meet website are at www.thepennrelays.com.

Report by Natalie Villa '13, Yale Sports Publicity