Villanova Takes Fifth Place, La Salle Tenth As Three Philly Schools Place In Top Ten
PHILADELPHIA, PA. 4/29/2016 – Three Philly colleges were in the final of the 2016 Penn Relays Men’s Distance Medley Relay Championship of America. Penn took the third spot, but broke the school record from 1972 covering the distance in 9:37.25.
“One of the cool things about today is our record in the DMR has been here since 1972. 3 of the 4 legs from 1972 was here to watch the guys run,” said Penn Track Director Steve Dolan. “That was a pretty cool thing for Penn track and field. “We broke our record by about 2 seconds, a big breakthrough for the guys. And it was really cool to have the guys from 72 share it.”
Villanova fielded a young team and took fifth place with a time of 9:39.10. La Salle finished in tenth place with a time of 9:42.58.
Penn State took the Championship of America in 9:35.51 for the second time in three years. The Nittany Lions won the DMR in 2013. Georgetown was second just .41 seconds behind.
As the teams entered the anchor leg Penn State was in front. but Villanova, La Salle, and Penn were in contention. It would come down to that last 1600 meters. The Quakers had Thomas Awad running that leg. Jordy Williamsz represented the Wildcats, and Stephen Lewandowski took the baton for the Explorers. They couldn’t catch the Lions as anchor runner Brannon Kidder ran his split in 4:00.77. Awad made the biggest charge covering the distance in 4:01.42. It just was not quite enough to win on his home track.
“He was dreaming about winning as we all were,” Martin said. “But he knew he gave it all he had. He kicked hard over the last lap. It just wasn’t in the cards today to win it.”
Chris Hatler ran the 1200 leg in 2:57.81. Jeff Wiseman posted a 46.82 in the 400. Elias Graca covered the 800 in 1:51.20 before giving the stick to Awad.
Williamsz took the baton for Villanova in contact with the leaders, which is what the team wanted. However, Williamsz has been in Australia competing for a spot on their Olympic team. His kick was not quite there running a 4:03.24. Villanova fielded a young team with two freshmen in trying to capture the crown, and it was Williamsz last DMR here.
“It gives these guys an opportunity to experience the Penn Relays,” Williamsz said. “When the Penn Relays means as much as it does to us, even with freshman, you put a lot on the line.”
“The boys before him (Williamsz) did a great job,” said Villanova Coach Marcus O’Sullivan. “Ben Malone (2:57.4) did a great job. He understands Penn. Harry Purcell did a great job in the 400 (47.92). Ville (Lampinen) did a great job (1:49.60). Their job was to put him in position to win. I was concerned with Jordy running the trials in Australia. He wasn’t himself. In days of old it was his style of race.”
The La Salle team was made up of Nicholas Smart with a 2:49.26 split, Justin Guerre who ran the 400 in 47.36, Chris Sanders covering the 800 in 1:47.90. Lewandowski ran a time of 4:07.76.
Written By: Glenn Papazian