Cavaliers Head to Philadelphia for the 117th Penn Relays
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia track and field team will head to Philadelphia this weekend to compete in the 117th running of the Penn Relays – the world’s largest and oldest relay carnival. The meet will take place at historic Franklin Field and will run Thursday through Saturday. Live results will be available for all three days at VirginiaSports.com, while ESPN2 will provide a tape delayed broadcast of the meet on Saturday from 8-10 p.m.
At last year’s Relays, All-Americans Robby Andrews and Lance Roller, in addition to former Cavaliers Alex Bowman and Steve Finley, earned Virginia its first men’s Championship of America relay title in 67 years, winning the 4x800m relay.
Throughout the history of the meet, Virginia’s women have won four Championship of America relay titles, while the men have claimed five. Sixteen Cavaliers have earned field event titles (eight men, eight women) in the championship section, while two women have won individual running titles.
“To me, I believe the Penn Relays is the best track and field meet in the world,” Virginia director of track and field Jason Vigilante said in a pre-meet press conference.
This year, the Cavalier men will look to defend their 4x800m title, with sophomore Brett Johnson and freshman Anthony Kostelac joining Roller and Andrews in the event on Saturday afternoon. Kostelac, the indoor and outdoor ACC Champion in the 800m this year, is no stranger to the carnival. The 2009 Penn Relays Outstanding High School Boys Athlete of the Meet led his Albemarle high school team to the 4x800m title, setting a national high school record and Penn Relays record in the event. He finished with the second-fastest 800m split ever run by a high school boy in the 117-year history of the Relays.
On the women’s side, Virginia’s All-American quartet of junior Morgane Gay and seniors Ayla Smith, Lyndsay Harper and Stephanie Garcia will reunite after a third-place finish at the 2011 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. The foursome will try to earn UVa its first women’s championship relay title since 1982. This year’s squad combined to run 10:59.33 at the Columbia Last Chance meet, shattering the 28-year old school record – and former world record – set by All-Americans Lisa Welch, Lesley Welch, Lisa Garrett and Jill Haworth at 11:19.39 in 1982. The women’s championship DMR race is scheduled for Thursday at 5:20 p.m.
Following this weekend, the Cavaliers will break for exams before heading to the ECAC/IC4A Championships and Carolina Qualifier on Friday and Saturday, May 13-14.