Departing on June 14 from JFK Airport in New York City, the University of Pennsylvania men's and women's track and field teams embarked on their quadrennial trip to the United Kingdom. Every four years, the Quakers team up with the Cornell track and field teams to compete at several different meets against teams from across the UK. The teams will spend a little more than two weeks abroad.
Below is an update sent in by Penn men's senior jumper John Carelli and Penn men's head coach Charlie Powell, detailing some of the experiences from the first week abroad.
From Cambridge, England:
Friday, June 25, 2010
We have been running around here like crazy and I just remembered to write this.
Bangor, Whales was a great way to start off the trip. Everyone (Penn and Cornell) was housed in dorms with rooms close to each other, so that gave us an opportunity to get to know one another. We had a lot of great trips while we were there. One of the highlights of the trip was an old steam engine train ride through the mountains of Snowdonia. It was about two hours long and the scenery was absolutely amazing. There were fresh water lakes burried between green mountains with sheep wandering around. It was a pretty cool experience. A bunch of people went to Caernarfon and Conway to see some old castles. They said it was a good time.
I actually didn't go see those castles because myself, Joe Ruzbarsky, Tim Carey, Jeremy Sinclair and Jim Foreman went to a mountain called Snowdon and actually climbed it. This was 3,200 feet in elevation and nine miles long (roundtrip). We went in expecting a leasurly strole where we could relax and have a good time. Boy, were we in for a surprise! It took us 2.5 hours to reach the summit and another two hours to get down. The majority of this time was spent on steep inclines, walking on loose stones. It was quite a challenge and extremely tiring. It was absolutely worth it though. The views were breathtaking. Words can't really describe the landscape from up there.
After that we went to Birmingham. This was a much different experience as we were in the city, more spread out from one another, and were housed with hosts. One of the major experiences scheduled for us was a trip to Warwick Castle. This was over 1,000 years old, but restored nicely. There were a lot of shows that we could attend while there, such as 'Birds of Prey' and 'Dungeon.' My personal favorite part of the trip was seeing the 'prison.' Deep in the dungeon was a space where prisoners of war were held. They were held in either a metal suit attached to the ceiling, where they would dangle from, or placed in a three-by-three foot hole that was about seven feet deep into the ground. Pretty ruthless stuff.
As for the track meet there, some of the competition was unbelievable. I think you will be getting an update from Anna (Aagenes) shortly detailing that, so I wont repeat anything. Right now we are in Cambridge and having a great time. I will be sure to send something within a day or two to share our experiences here.
From Birmingham, England:
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The meet in Wales on Monday was canceled so we did our own little thing. We had an intra-squad meet and had a lot of great laughs. The kids really got to know each other better. It really helped a lot into making this one homogeneous squad instead of a Penn group and a Cornell group. (Read Renatta Coleman's full update on the Wales meet here).
Yesterday we beat the Birmingham-Limerick squad, but only by a little. Penn-Cornell, 144. Birmingham-Limerick, 104. We were confused last night because they allowed so many locals to compete as Guests, and they also allowed many of their alums to compete as either scoring or non-scoring depending on when they graduated. Since English Universities are on a three-year cycle (not four like in the USA) they allowed a couple of recent grads to compete and count in the scoring. It was all in the good nature of competition and sportsmanship so we rolled with it and competed against anyone they threw at us.
(James) Foreman vaulted 15'7, (Tim) Carey went 14.92 in the 100-meter high hurdles, and (Jeremy) Sinclair went 15.23 in the event. Darryll (Oliver) ran 1:52.4 and (Brian) Fulton went 1:52.8 in the 800 meters. John (Carelli) only high jumped and went 6'0 or so, and Joe threw around 52.83 meters in the javelin. Ben (McKean) has been a little under the weather and then got a spider bite the other day so he did not run his best. But the tour has been VERY good as far as our hosts going out of their way for us. Nice accomadations and decent food.