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    Thursday Night Track & Field Report

    Kentucky 4x100 Relay Team Reaches Penn Relay Finals

    PHILADELPHIA – The Kentucky 4x100-meter relay team posted its second fastest time of the season to reach the championship final at the 119th Penn Relay Carnival on Thursday inside Franklin Field. 
     
    Tamyah Pipkin, Morganne Phillips, Kayla Parker and Keilah Tyson won their heat with a time of 44.87, which qualified them fifth for the final. The relay team’s performance was fourth-best in school history.
     
    The women’s 4x100-meter relay Championship of America is scheduled for Friday at 12:50 p.m. ET.
     
    UK’s indoor All-America distance medley relay team of Chelsea Oswald, Phillips, Allison Peare and Cally Macumber finished second in the Championship of America final.
     
    Oswald started the Wildcats well before Phillips handed off the lead with a 400-meter split time of 48.00. Peare kept Kentucky in strong position before Macumber anchored UK to a second-place finish of 11:04.45.
     
    A pair of women’s distance runners both posted personal-best times in the olympic development 5,000 meters as Hiruni Wijayaratne placed 15th in 17.06.48. Anna Bostrom finished 17th stopping the clock at 17.16.69.
     
    Luis Orta and freshman Mackay Wilson also recorded season-best times in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with respective times of 8:56.32 and 8:58.79.
     
    Shiara Robinson bettered her season-best 400-meter hurdles time as she crossed the finish line in 1:01.38.
     
    The UK throwers will head to San Diego for the Triton Invitational on the University of California-San Diego campus on Friday.
     
    The Miami Redhawk Invitational will take place on Saturday, April 27.
     
    This weekend marks the last time the Wildcats will compete before the championship season starts at the 2013 Southeastern Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championship. This year’s SEC Championships will be held at the Audrey J. Walton Track Stadium at the University of Missouri in Columbia from May 9-12.
     
    A signature Penn Relays wagon wheel plaque is awarded to each university relay winner.
     
    UK has won two relay wagon wheels all-time at the Penn Relays, the 1996 sprint medley and the 1986 distance medley.
     
    The 119th Penn Relays’ main event, the “USA vs. The World” events are slated to occur on Saturday afternoon.
     
    NBC will televise Saturday’s “USA vs. The World” events at the Penn Relays live from 12-2 p.m. CT as it will be the first stop of the 2013 USA Track & Field Championship Series. NBC Universal will also air live coverage of the meet from 2-4 p.m. CT following the “USA vs. The World” competition for four hours of live television coverage of Saturday’s action at Franklin Field.
     
    Live streaming video coverage will be available at thepennrelays.com.



    Records Fall for Texas A&M at Penn Relay Opening Day

    PHILADELPHIA – Texas A&M freshman LaQue Moen-Davis (La-Quay) won the Penn Relays championship division of the long jump amid bright skies and cool temperatures inside Franklin Field with an opening round leap of 21 feet, 2.5 inches (6.47).
     
    Later in the evening Aggie senior Henry Lelei (La-lay) won the championship 5,000 meters in 13:45.30 to break the A&M record of 13:46.37 set in the 1985 Texas Relays by Arturo Barrios. 
     
    It marks the first time an Aggie has won the long jump at the Penn Relays since the event was added for the women in 1978. Moen-Davis’ mark, aided by a 3.3 wind, becomes the 10th best mark in Penn Relays history. It’s also the second best winning mark over the past 10 years.
     
    “At first I didn’t know how good the first jump was, it just felt good coming out of the run I had,” Moen-Davis said. “It’s nice to have a big mark that everyone else has to chase, but I was trying to get after my own mark too.”
     
    After producing the winning mark on her opening jump, Moen-Davis followed with marks of 20-7 (6.27), foul, 20-9.75w (6.34w), foul, foul. Her 21-2.5 measurement is fourth best collegiately and tops in the SEC under any conditions. Any of the marks by Moen-Davis would have won the competition.
     
    “A couple of the fouls I had where in the same distance range of my first jump,” noted Moen-Davis. “I kept trying to get out further than the first mark I had.”
     
    Runner-up to Moen-Davis was Jamaican La Toya Powell of Turabo with a 20-6.25 (6.25w) effort while North Carolina’s Chrishawn Williams, third at last week’s ACC meet, finished third with a 20-1.75 (6.14).
     
    “It felt good to be out here competing and it was a good atmosphere, so I had fun,” said Moen-Davis, an Omaha, Nebraska native who is familiar with windy, 50 degree conditions. “This is my type of weather, so it was a good day to go out and get after it.”
     
    Lelei had a challenger in Eastern Kentucky’s Eade Meddles for the first half of the race, but when Lelei pushed the pace he ended up winning by 10 seconds. Mark Allen of American placed second in 14:05.64 while Meddles placed third in 14:07.38. Other Aggies in the race included Ryan Miller (14:31.14) in 14th and MacLean O’Donnell (14:50.26) in 21st. 
     
    “It’s a big thing getting a record,” stated Lelei. “I know it’s not easy, so to break a record that has stood for 28 years is very special. I wonder how long my record will remain. I think I need to run around 13:30 for my record to last that long.” 
     
    Opening with a 2:47.6 in the first 1,000 meters, Lelei went 2:44.9 to lead the field through 2,000 meters. Then a 2:40.2 on the third 1,000 pulled Lelei away from the field with Meddles on his shoulder. After a 2:49.3 on the fourth 1,000, Lelei put the race away with a 2:43.3 finish.
     
    “I was consistent with laps between 64 and 66 seconds and it was easy to run them in the cool weather we had this evening,” said Lelei. “I was hoping the runner with me could have lasted another lap or two. It was good to have him with me, he helped push me for a while.”
     
    Lelei’s previous career best in the outdoor 5,000 was a 13:50.03 set last season at the USC Invitational in Los Angeles. 
     
    “I wanted to get a good qualifying time for NCAAs,” said Lelei, who is the collegiate leader in the steeplechase this season with an 8:32.94. “It gets my confidence going in being able to double in the steeplechase and 5,000 later this season.”
     
    Texas A&M women’s distance medley team placed second in the college division with a solid time of 11:30.23, finishing behind the winning time of 11:24.37 for Boston College. Placing behind the Aggies were Duke (11:36.30), Delaware (11:38.36), La Salle (11:39.94), Rutgers (11:46.40), Temple (11:47.08) and South Carolina (11:47.93).
     
    Running on the DMR for A&M was the foursome of Ashley Chamberlain (3:40.33), Donique’ Flemings (54.89), Aliese Hyde (2:09.98), and Sophie Blake (4:45.05). Hyde moved the Aggies into fourth place when she handed the baton off to Blake, who managed to advance A&M into second place with a couple laps remaining in the race.
     
    “It’s incredible racing here with the atmosphere, it’s nothing like I’ve ever seen before,” stated Blake on her first Penn Relays experience. “I spent the whole first lap warming up. Then on the last three laps I was racing like I do a 1,500 and focusing on the girl in front of me. Then I just kept picking off the ones in front of me.” 
     
    Contesting this event more during the indoor season, the Aggies produced one of the fastest times in school history with their performance at Penn. The A&M outdoor school record is a 11:26.06 set in 2001. Last year the Aggies set the indoor school record of 11:29.89 with Hyde also part of that effort.
     
    Isaac Spencer produced a career best time of 8:49.43 to finish second in the Championship race of the 3,000-meter steeplechase, moving to No. 4 on the A&M all-time list. Eastern Kentucky’s Ole Hesselbjerg won the event in 8:47.52 while Spencer finished ahead of Indiana’s Joshua Roche (8:55.88), and Kentucky’s Luis Orta (8:56.32). Aggie Stephen Curry clocked 9:15.47 to place 16th.
     
    “I haven’t been in a race like that, where everyone is shoulder to shoulder, pushing and shoving,” noted Spencer, who won the college division steeplechase at Penn a year ago in 9:02.20. “Going over the barriers I didn’t feel like my technique was perfect. At the end when I made my move so did the leader, so the gap between remained the same.
     
    “I was a little bitter at the end. I even told coach that the better man didn’t win tonight. He was still happy with me setting a PR and thinks I can run a lot faster if I concentrate a little more. It’s a good race to learn from because all the next races for me are championship races. I need to learn to get use to those types of races.”
     
    In qualifying relay races the Aggie women led the field advancing to Friday’s Championship of America final with a time of 44.33 seconds. Oregon posted the second best time of 44.34 while LSU turned in a 44.36. The rest of the eight-team final will consist of UTech of Jamaica (44.73), Kentucky (44.87), Johnson C. Smith (45.04), G.C. Foster (45.07) and Norfolk State (45.41).
     
    Texas A&M ran the sprint relay with the foursome of LaKeidra Stewart, Ashton Purvis, Kamaria Brown and Ashley Collier. The Aggies, who are the current collegiate leaders with a 42.56 from the Texas Relays, have won the past four Penn Relays 4x100 finals and will seek to become the first school to win a Championship of America 4x100 title five consecutive years during Friday’s race at 11:50 p.m. (CST).
     
    The top qualifying time in the women’s 4x400 also belonged to Texas A&M as they won the opening heat in 3:34.72 with the quartet of Olivia Ekpone (54.3), Ibukun Mayungbe (53.6), LaKeidra Stewart (53.9) and Kamaria Brown (52.9). Finishing second in the heat with the Aggies was George Mason in 3:37.17.
     
    As A&M attempts to defend their Penn Relays title in the 4x400 on Saturday evening they will be joined by UTech (3:35.22), Oregon (3:35.37), LSU (3:36.81), George Mason (3:37.17), St. Augustine’s (3:38.95), Hampton (3:39.38) and Penn State (3:39.53).
     
    In the championship race of the women’s 5,000 the trio of Aggies placed 14th, 15th and 18th with Amanda Jenkins (16:47.80), Hillary Montgomery (16:53.28) and Grace Fletcher (16:57.52).
     
    Jena Hemann placed eighth in the college division high jump with a clearance of 5-6 while Annie Kunz had three misses at the opening height. The women’s college long jump had Jordan Wilson (17-10.75) placing 17th and Jennifer Madu (17-7) finishing 20th.



    Freshmen Lead Dawgs in Drake Relays

    DES MOINES, Iowa --- A pair of Bulldog true freshmen posted finishes in the top three to highlight the second day of the 104th running of the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday.
     
    Georgia has three relay teams scheduled to start the action back in Des Moines on Friday around noon ET and events will continue into the night.  The Drake Relays, which have more than 2,000 collegiate competitors scheduled to compete, continue through Saturday.
     
    Freshman Kisean Smith recorded his first collegiate victory with the second-fastest finish of his career in the 800-meter run.  Smith finished in 1:51.90 to be the only competitor in the 12-man field to break 1:52.  The Snellville native took control of the 800 early in the race and help off the field in the final 100 meters.
     
    Freshman Devon Williams scored 6,916 points in the decathlon to be the No. 2 collegiate finisher and third overall.  Williams, who had three collegiate personal bests to end the competition, had a trio of second-place finishes on Wednesday to score 3,657 points on the opening day, which also had him in third place.
     
    “This was a solid first two days at the Drake Relays for the Bulldogs,” said Georgia distance coach Patrick Cunniff.  “I am excited about the signs for the future for this program.  Kisean did a great job of winning his race and I think he could have gone faster had he had someone pushing him.  Devon battled tough conditions and finished strong with some personal bests.  Both of these guys are great examples of the potential we have to keep getting better in the future.”
     
    “Devon did well today after battling extreme weather conditions for him,” said Bulldog multi-events coach Petros Kyprianou.  “This was his first collegiate decathlon and he improved his high school personal best by 600 points.  Devon tried hard to move forward in each event and did not quit when an event went badly for him.  The fact that he finished both days with strong 400 and 1500 performances shows that he is in great shape going into the SEC Championships.  
     
    “Today was a great experience for him in learning how to handle emotional rollercoasters and never quit.  He is a very talented young man who is learning fast how to compete in this great event.”
     
    On his second toss in the javelin, Williams registered a personal-best mark of 153 feet, 8 inches.  His mark scored 542 points and gave him a seventh-place finish in the event.
     
    The only event of the decathlon that Williams had not tried at Georgia was the 1500.  The Marietta native completed his laps during the 10th and final event in 4:43.62 to finish seventh (658 points).
     
    Williams got off to a quick start in the 110 hurdles by winning the day’s first event.  He crossed the finish line before all of the competition in 14.38.  Williams stumbled in this event at the Bulldog Decathlon and eventually dropped out of the competition after not finishing the race.
     
    Williams tied for eighth in the pole vault with a first attempt clearance of 13-1.50.  This first height cleared during his outdoor season scored him 617 points.
     
    In the discus, Williams started off with two fouls before having a third throw that measured 107-1.  This added 516 points to his total and gave him a 10th-place finish in the event, and still holding on to second place overall.
     
    Georgia also had a pair of competitors run in the longer distances on Thursday.  Senior Abbie Robinson took 28th in the 10,000 with a time of 37:33.35 while senior Kyle James was 22nd in the 5000 after crossing the finish line in 14:57.23.
     
    “Both of them ran really hard and are in great shape to peak at the SEC Championships,” Cunniff said.
     
    Live results and recaps from each day’s action at the Drake Relays will be found at georgiadogs.com.



    MSU Collects Top 15 Finishes on Opening Day

    PHILADELPHIA, Penn. – Earning five Top 15 performances on Thursday, Mississippi State track and field will head into day two of the 119th Penn Relays with a boost of momentum. 
     
    “It is always good to get that first day out of the way," MSU coach Steve Dudley said. "We have crossed that first hurdle, now the nervousness of the unexpected can disappear and make way for the excitement and adrenaline of competing.”
     
    Lady Bulldog Brittney Covington started the day off for the Maroon and White with a 27th-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles championships. Her time of 1:01.54 landed her spot in the top half a 54-athlete field. 
     
    John Valentine was the top-finishing Bulldog as he jumped hurdles, splashed through water and ran multiple laps to post a third-place time of 9:10.59 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. 
     
    The MSU women also picked up a pair of top field performances before noon as Erica Bougard (19-00.75) finished 10th in the college long jump championships, while Alyssa Hall’s clearance of 5-06.00 in the high jump placed her 11th.  Later in the day, Sojourner Ewing donned a sixth-place performance in the long jump college competition with a leap of 19-04.25. 
     
    Just missing out on the championship finals, the Lady Bulldog quartet comprised of Ocian Archer, Jody-Ann Muir, Ste’yce McNeil and Bougard finished ninth in the college 4x400-meter relay, clocking a 3:40.02. The top eight teams will advance to Saturday’s finals. 
     
    Dudley’s squads will continue action this evening at Franklin Field with the women’s college 10,000-meter championship at 10:15 p.m.  Stay tuned for updated results by visiting www.thepennrelays.com and by following the Bulldogs on Twitter (@msutracksarah).



    Radford Grabs Third Place to Open Penn Relays for USC

    PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – In front of 23,310 fans, the Gamecocks started their weekend at the 119th Penn Relays at Franklin Field. With just the No. 25 South Carolina women in action on Thursday, the Gamecocks racked up four top-10 finishes. 
     
    Senior Breanna Radford, who finished fourth in the championship division of the shot put at Penn Relays last season, added a third-place finish to her resume. After being honored with the President’s Award at the annual Gamecock Gala on Monday night, Radford recorded a mark of 53-03.50 (16.24m).  The mark made Radford the second-place collegian in the championship section. 
     
    The women’s distance medley relay team ran the second-fastest time in school history. The quartet of freshman Lisa Zimmer, junior Amber Allen, freshman Anna Todd and sophomore Meredith Mill ran a time of 11.47.93 just off the all-time Gamecock record of 11:40.52 set in 1996. The foursome’s time gave them eighth place. 
     
    In the women’s long jump, senior Ceci Kryst set a new personal record and recorded her fourth top-10 finish of the season.  Kryst’s new PR of 19-03.50 gave her seventh place in the collegiate section. 
     
    Graduate student Chelsea France also collected a top-10 finish on the first day of the meet, running 10:48.02 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. France finished 10th overall with her time. 
     
    The Gamecock men join in on the action tomorrow.  Freshmen hurdlers Jermaine Collier and Dondre Echols kick off the action at 9 a.m. in the 400-meter hurdles.  Senior Ceci Kryst is the first Gamecock woman to compete tomorrow, competing in the triple jump at 11 a.m.