PHILADELPHIA - Since 1984, only one other member of the University of Pennsylvania outdoor men's track and field team reached the mark that sophomore Jake Brenza posted in the shot put at the 118th Penn Relays this weekend. As hosts to the world's oldest and largest relay carnival, the Quakers wrapped up the 2012 outdoor regular season and will host the Heptagonal Championships next Saturday and Sunday.
There were 49,810 in attendance Saturday at historic Franklin Field, and a total of 112,416 during the three-day relay carnival. The final day total was the third-best for a Saturday at the Penn Relays, while the overall total ranks as fifth-most all-time in the event's 118-year history.
Brenza moved up in the school record books with a personal best mark on Friday. His toss of 16.15 meters (53 feet) was seven centimeters better than his previous top mark and places him ninth all-time at Penn in the event. Even more importantly, Brenza became just the second Quaker to reach that spot in the last 28 years and the first since 2000 (Brent Stiles, 16.31m).
Also on Day One, behind Brent Jules, Efayomi Carr, Colin Donnelly and Mason Smith, the Quakers posted their best 4x100-meter relay of the season and improved upon their IC4A qualifying mark. The foursome finished in 41.92 to place third in their heat behind only Houston and LSU - who finished with the event's top time of 39.72. Overall, the Red and Blue were 34th among the 88 teams and qualified for Saturday's IC4A final, where the same foursome placed seventh with a mark of 42.12.
In one of Friday's most prestigious races, the Quakers competed in the Distance Medley Championship of America. Senior Brian Fulton had Penn among the middle of the pack after the first 1,500 meters and senior Brian Rosenthal finished 400 meters in 49.0. Freshman Mato Bekelja took the baton for two laps before senior Ryan Cunningham finished the last mile. Cunningham caught up to the front pack, but didn't have much left after that and the lead pack slipped ahead. Penn finished in 10:02.95 to place 14th.
After an inspiring anchor effort from Cunningham, Rosenthal was the hero for the Quakers in Friday's 4x400-meter relay. In the heptagonal race, Penn finished second in 3:18.79. On the final lap, Rosenthal passed nearly half the field and moved the Red and Blue from fifth-place to finish as the runner up.
In the first event on Friday, junior Tim Carey finished third in his heat in the 400-meter hurdles. His time of 54.26 placed him 29th overall among the 57 hurdlers.
In the other field events, sophomore Maalik Reynolds entered the Penn Relays high jump as the defending champion. The Atlanta, Ga., native passed seven feet once again, but it wasn't enough to claim an unprecedented second straight Penn Relays title in the event - no other Penn athlete had ever won the gold watch in the high jump in back-to-back years. Reynolds finished eighth at a height of 2.16 meters (7-01 ft.).
Carr also competed in the triple jump on Saturday. He finished 18th overall with his leap of 13.66 meters (44-09.75 ft.). In the javelin, sophomore Karl Ingram was 14th when his best toss measured 58.25 meters (191-01 ft.).
Penn has completed the 2012 outdoor regular season. In addition to hosting Penn Relays for the 118th consecutive year, the Quakers will also host the 2012 Heptagonal Outdoor Championships at Franklin Field. The Ivy League will converge on the West Philadelphia stadium May 5-6.
Penn at The Penn Relays:
4x100 Relay: 7-Penn (41.92p, 42.12f)
4x400 Relay: 2-Penn (3:18.79)
Distance Medley Relay: 14-Penn (10:02.95)
400-Meter Hurdles: 29-Carey (54.26)
High Jump: 8-Reynolds (2.16m)
Javelin: 14-Ingram (58.25m)
Triple Jump: 18-Carr (13.66m)
Shot Put: 6-Brenza (16.15m)