23 APR 2009 Preview Philadelphia, USA

Beijing Olympic relay reunion for USA and Jamaica at the 115th Penn Relays - PREVIEW

Allyson Felix at the 2008 Penn Relays (Kirby Lee)Allyson Felix at the 2008 Penn Relays (Kirby Lee) © Copyright

  The presence of the Beijing Olympic relay gold medallists from the United States (men’s and women’s 4 x 400m) and Jamaica (men’s 4 x 100m) in the USA vs. the World competition will highlight the 115th Penn Relays at the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field on Thursday through Saturday (23-25 April).

Allyson Felix and Sanya Richards, the third and fourth legs on the  4 x 400m Relay in the 2008 Olympics, and Natasha Hastings, who ran in the preliminaries, will lead the USA women.

The American men’s 4 x 400m will have LaShawn Merritt and David Neville, the gold and bronze medallists in the 400m in Beijing and Olympic 400m Hurdles champion Angelo Taylor. The USA will also have 2007 World 400m Hurdles champion Kerron Clement and 2004 Olympic 4 x 400m gold medalist Darold Williamson at its disposal.

In the men’s 4 x 100m, Jamaica will have three of its four members from its World Record quartet from Beijing with former 100m record holder Asafa Powell, Michael Frater and Nesta Carter in their line-up.

The 10th edition of the USA vs. The World will pit the USA against a record 13 nations in the men’s and women’s 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m, men’s Distance Medley and women’s Sprint Medley Relays.

Double duty for Felix

Allyson Felix, the 2004 and 2008 Olympic 200m silver medalist, will run in both the women’s 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m Relays.

Felix will be joined in the USA 4 x 100m line-up by Carmelita Jeter, the early season world leader in the 100m and 200m. Jeter is coming off a 10.96 clocking in the 100m in the Mt. San Antonio College Relays last Saturday (18 April) for the No. 3 time in meet history and fastest since 1992.

 The USA 4 x 100 women’s pool also includes World 100m champions Torri Edwards and Lauryn Williams and 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials champion Muna Lee. In addition her relay duties at Penn, Lee will have her responsibilities as a Texas A&M assistant coach.

The Jamaican women’s 4 x 100m will feature Beijing Olympic 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser and bronze medallist Kerron Stewart.

The men’s 4 x 100m Relay will have the top two teams from the Beijing Olympic final, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago. Trinidad’s line up will include 2008 Olympic 100m silver medallist Richard Thompson, Marc Burns and Emmanuel Callender.

The USA men’s 4 x 100m pool includes 2004 Olympic 200m champion Shawn Crawford, Beijing 100m and 200m bronze medallist Walter Dix and 2008 Olympic 100m finalist Darvis Patton.

The Jamaica women’s 4 x 400m squad will feature Melaine Walker, who set an Olympic record to win the 400m Hurdles in Beijing, and Shericka Williams, Novlene Williams and Rosemarie Whyte who were members of Jamaica’s bronze medal 4 x 400m Relay.

USA looking to avenge women’s Medley Relay defeat by Jamaica

The USA women will be looking to reclaim its title in the Sprint Medley Relay after Jamaica defeated the Americans to end a three-year win streak in 2008 in the 200m-200m-400m-800m race.

Hazel Clark, who anchored the U.S. winning teams in 2005-07 at Penn, including world bests in 2005 and 2006, will lead the American pool that includes Rachelle Boone and twins Me’Lisa and Mikele Barber.

The USA men’s Distance Medley Relay will feature 2008 1500m Olympians Leonel Manzano and Lopez Lomong and eight-time national indoor and outdoor 800m champion Khadevis Robinson.

Manzano, the 2007 and 2008 ‘Penn Relays Outstanding Relay Performer’, is in his first full season as a professional after leading Texas to wins in the 4 x 800m, 4 x mile and distance medley relays last year.

Largest Athletics competition in the USA

The Penn Relays is the largest athletics competition in the USA with more than 22,000 high school, university and open athletes participating with a crowd of more than 100,000 in attendance over three days.

The first versions of a four-person relay were developed in Philadelphia in 1893 and the inaugural Penn Relay Carnival contested in 1895.

The Penn Relays is part of the USA Track & Field Visa Championship Series that includes stops at the Drake Relays (25 April), adidas Track Classic in Carson, Calif. (16 May), the Reebok Grand Prix in New York City (30 May), the Prefontaine Classic (7 June) and culminates with the USATF Championships in Eugene, Ore. (25-28 June).

Westman wins first Decathlon title for Penn since 1992

Penn senior Max Westman won the Decathlon conducted on Tuesday (21) and Wednesday (22) with 6842 points to become the school’s first Penn Relays winner since 1932. Gabby Giola of North Carolina won the women’s heptathlon with 5159 points to lead a 1-2 Tarheel sweep with teammate Alexandria Coppadge.

Kirby Lee for the IAAF

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