PHOTOS: Penn at the Penn Relays
PHILADELPHIA - Freshman Maalik Reynolds became the first member of the University of Pennsylvania men's track and field team since 1955 to win the Penn Relays title in the high jump, doing so in front of 48,531 fans at Franklin Field Saturday for the 117th running of the Penn Relays.
Also at the world's oldest and largest relay carnival this weekend, the 4x800 relay finished third in impressive fashion and sophomore Luke Grau highlighted the first day of competition for the Quakers with Penn's fastest 5,000 meters in six years. The meet's three-day attendance total was 110,087, marking the eighth straight year and the 11th time in the last 12 years in which that mark surpassed 100,000 spectators.
"It feels really great," Reynolds said of his fifth high jump victory in as many weeks. "The weather was good for one, which was nice, and its really good to come out here, freshman year, and do something I can be proud of. Its different having the crowd, but in the end its just me versus the bar."
Reynolds won with a jump of 2.22 meters (7 feet, 3 1/4 inches), which was just one centimeter shy of his collegiate best and his school record mark. He was the first to win the event at one of the world's most famous track meets since Will Lee's winning height of 6"4' in 1955. Six Quakers have combined to win seven high jump titles at the Penn Relays, which ranks only behind the eight titles won by Texas.
The Westminster School product passed the bar at 2.08 and 2.12 meters on his first attempt. However, he missed on his first two jumps at the next bar.
"On the third try at 2.16 (meters), I knew that if I got this, it was over," Reynolds recalled. "So, that got me motivated."
The motivation paid off. He cleared the bar on his final attempt and then cleanly passed 2.19 meters on his first jump. The Atlanta, Ga., native was the only one to raise the bar past 2.22 meters, but his three attempts at 2.26 meters fell just short. That final height would have topped his school record, improved upon his current third-place national ranking and would have ranked as the seventh-best height in the 117 years of the event.
In the last 20 years, only Nolan Tully has run a faster 5,000 meters in a Red and Blue uniform (14:04.68 in 2005) than Grau's sixth-place finish of 14:12.21. Grau topped his previous career best by six seconds, which moved the Chadron, Ohio, native up to No. 7 in the school record book. Also in that event, freshman Conner Paez set a personal best with an 18th-place finish of 14:21.04 - 11th best in program history.
In another impressive performance for the Quakers, Robby Harwood, Matt Chylak, Brian Fulton and Darryll Oliver combined to finish third in the 4x800 College Relay with a time of 7:26.66. All three posted similar splits with Harwoood handing to Chylak after 1:52.82. The sophomore finished his leg in 1:51.46, which was followed by a near-identical split off 1:51.93 from Fulton. Oliver took the anchor leg in 1:50.45.
In one of the meet's most competitive races on Friday, the Quakers were 12th among the top distance medley relay teams in the nation in the Championship of America. Junior James Finucane took the first leg and handed to junior Brian Rosenthal at 3:02.34. Rosenthal finished his 400 at a personal-best 46.98 and sophomore Matt Chylak split the 800-leg at 1:54.02. Junior Michael Cunningham ran the anchor in 4:06.03 to stop the clock at 9:49.36.
In Friday's 4x400 Heptagonal relay, the Quakers won the Heptagonal Championship preview with a time of 3:16.64. Sophomore Seck Barry, sophomore Allante Keels, senior Darryll Oliver and Rosenthal teamed up for the split-second victory over Cornell. Rosenthal outstretched the Ivy rivals at the finish line to claim the Penn Relays title in the event.
The 4x100 relay foursome of senior captain Alan Hill, sophomore Patrick Foley, junior Colin Donnelly and freshman Mason Smith combined to finish in 41.60 in the IC4A final. That placed them sixth overall in the event after the same group of Quakers placed 32nd overall and eighth among IC4A schools in Friday's preliminaries with a time of 41.81.
Next up for the Quakers is the Heptagonal Championships in New Haven, Conn, on May 7-8.
Penn at The Penn Relays:
400-Meter Hurdles: 54-Neason (56.05)
5,000 Meters: 6-Grau (14:12.24), 18-Paez (14:21.04)
Steeplechase: 14-Kiley (9:25:54)
4x100 Relay: 32-Penn (41.81)
4x100 IC4A Final: 6-Penn (41.60)
4x400 Heptagonal Relay: 1-Penn (3:16.64)
4x800 College: 3-Penn (7:26.66)
Distance Medley Relay: 12-Penn (9:49.36)
High Jump Eastern: 10-Harriger (1.96m)
High Jump Championship: 1-Reynolds (2.22m)
Discus: 19-Brenza (46.59m)
Shot Put: 25-Brenza (14.81m)
Hammer: 33-Brenza (38.48m)
Javelin: 13-Ingram (58.37m)