PHILADELPHIA--There’s no lack of identity for the 2007 Penn Relay Carnival, where some of the entrants’ names are well-known and funny, famous and strange.
For instance, 1950 rock-and-roll idols are represented by Fabian and Dion, the NFL by Steve Young, the NBA by Kevin McHale, and both baseball and basketball by Sam Jones (a girl, running for Middletown High in Delaware).
There’s Dior and Saint Laurent for the fashion-conscious, Sherlock and Baskerville for the mysterious, a Pocus (but no hocus), a Pope, a John Paul, a Napoleon, a Mandela and a Verdi, for opera aficionados.
There are Jewels: Crystal, Diamond, Amber, Turquoise, Pearl; representatives from Mt. Olympus: Hera, Athena, Hercules, Adonis; and Romans: Caesar, Brutus, Casseus.
Most of all this year’s Penn Relays could be a world atlas, with continents (Asia), countries (England, Holland, India, Ireland, Jordan, Poland), and cities from around the world: Cairo, Palermo, Roma, Verona, Paris, York, Fatima, Liverpool, Napoli, Sydney, Capri, Brooklyn, Orlando, Birmingham, Montgomery, St. Louis, Boston, Cleveland, Phoenix.
The coach of Fort George Meade High in Maryland has an interesting idea of arranging his girls’ relay teams. His 4x100 has two Ashleys, Chastity and Tiffany; the 4x400 is three Laurens and Victoria; the 4x800 is made up of Christina, Martina and two Jasmines, and his distance medley is composed of Kahra, Caprice, Kristen and Kierra.
The smoothest runner may be Cashmere O’Neal of Morgan State, while there is also a Princess, Precious, Kiss and Innocent, which sounds more like a Sandra Dee movie than a relay team.
The longest names: Najia Singleton-McKinnon (Colonia Central, NY, High) and Shakeya Ladson-Singleton (Norristown, PA, High). The non-hyphenated leaders are Gwantaveous Anderson (Clemson) and Mphamvu Kalengamairo (Manchester, VA, High). None of which come close to last year’s Natthawut Orataiwaiwattanakul.
But this year’s winner for the most recognizable name goes to IAN FLEMING, a junior middle-distance runner from Father Judge High of Philadelphia’s Catholic League.
And, no, it’s not a family name, it really is dedicated to James Bond’s favorite writer.
“My dad (Ken Fleming) is a huge James Bond fan,” Ian said. “Every time I’d watch a James Bond movie at home with him, my name would pop up. He thinks it’s funny.
“My coach (Matt Dwyer) was the first person to kid me about it, but other people kid me now.”
Ian said that his family physician is not Dr. No, that he has never received anything From Russia with Love, and has never been to Casino Royale.
But he is part of the 2007 Penn Relays, as a relay runner. If he were an individual, we all know what triple-digit number he would be forced to wear.