April 26, 2003

In a meet with some of the greatest sprinters in the world running on the Franklin Field track, it was the women's teams from the University of North Carolina and Louisiana State University which stole the show at the 109th annual Penn Relay Carnival.

The Tigers won the 4x200 on Saturday, to go with their Friday triple of the 4x100, sprint medley and shuttle hurdles relays, while the Tar Heels won the three championship distance relays, adding the 4x800 to the distance medley it had won on Thursday and the 4x1500 from Friday.

LSU is only the second women's college team to win four relays in a single Penn Relays, matching the feat of Texas in 1989.

In addtion, LSU junior sprint star Muna Lee added the College Women's 100-meter championship to her list of relay victories (4x100, 4x200 anchors), and took home the award as the meet's Outstanding College Female Relay Athlete. It was her third consecutive championship in the 100-meter event at Penn.

The Tigers' 4x200 team of Nadia Davy, Monique Hall, Stephanie Durst and Lee won in a time of 1:29.78, becoming the first American college team to go under 1:30 in the event.

The only team preventing an LSU sweep of the sprint relays was Texas, which won the 4x400 relay in a meet record time of 3:27.64, with LSU a close second.

North Carolina's triumphant 4x800 relay was made up of Erin Donohue, Shalane Flanagan, Bobbie Jo Munson and Alice Schmidt. Their winning time of 8:26.71 was nearly five seconds ahead of second-place Kentucky. Flanagan, last year's Outstanding College Female Relay Performer, Donohue and Schmidt all ran on the three winning Tar Heels teams this weekend, giving them each five championship Penn Relays watches over the last two years.

In addition, North Carolina sophomore Laura Gerraughty was named the meet's Outstanding Individual Female Performer, with her victory in the College Championship shot put on Thuisdasy with a meet-record throw of 60-feet, 6-inches.

In the men's college relays, Arkansas made up for its disappointing distance medley performance on Friday by winning both the 4x800 and 4xmile relays.

The 4x800 team consisted of Chris Mulvaney, James Hatch, Robbie Stevens and Mike Taylor, winning in a time of 7:16.09. Mulvaney also ran the third leg on the 4xmile, behind Said Ahmed and Dan Lincoln, and ahead of anchor Alistair Cragg. Their winning time was 16:16.22.

Mississippi State took the coveted Championship of America sprint title by winning the 4x100 meter relay. The foursome of Christopher Lewis, Marquis Davis, Glenn McFadden and Pierre Browne was timed in 39.20 seconds for the one-lap race.

The 4x200 championship was awarded to U Tech of Kingston, Jamaica, which became the 94th different school or club to win a Championship of Amercian relay. U Tech actually finished just behind Texas, but the Longhorns' anchor had dropped the baton and finished the race with empty hands, disqualifying his team which had run 1:21.65. The new winning time was U Tech's 1:21.73.

The Outstanding Individual Male Performer was Ohio State weightman Dan Taylor, who won both the college championship shot put (65-0 1/2) and hammer throw (209-8). The surprise winner of Outstanding Male Relay Performer was Michigan freshman Nick Willis, whose all-time Franklin Field record of 2:49.7 for 1200 meters led off the Wolverines' surprising distance medley relay victory on Friday.

In the six major Olympic Development relays, the USA vs. the World, the USA "Red" men and women each won their 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 races.

The Red 4x100 men's relay consisted of Jon Drummond, Justin Gatlin, Coby Miller and world 100-meter recordholder Tim Montgomery. Their winning time was 38.62 seconds. Gatlin was the lone holdover on the Red 4x200 team, anchoring Shawn Crawford, Ramon Clay, and Darvis Patton in 1:19.16.

A year ago Gatlin, then running for the University of Tennessee, was the Penn Relays Outstanding College Male Track performer.

The winning Red 4x400 quartet was Derrick Brew, Jerome Young, Corey Nelson and James Davis, which won in a time of 2:58.40.

The winning USA Red women in the 4x100 were Angela Williams, Kelli White, Inger Miller and Chryste Gaines, winning in 43.10 seconds. White led off the victorious 4x200 team (1:31.41), followed by Latasha Colander-Richardson, Donica Merriman and anchor Crystlal Cox.

The 4x400 team was Donna Howard-Arnett, Jearl Miles-Clark, Crystal Cox and Demetria Washington, running 3:26.65.

More than 10,000 athletes competed in the three days of running, jumping and throwing at Franklin Field. The three-day attendance topped 100,000 for the second consecutive year, proving again that the Penn Relays remains the greatest of American track and field events.

By Frank Bertucci