“The Penn Relay is a pretty elite meet,” said coach Ralph Spry. “It’s mainly relays, but there are a couple of events that are open events, like the 100 meter, maybe high jump, things of that nature. Most of our top athletes will go to Penn Relays, but there are some that we are trying to keep ready for conference championships, and there aren’t races for them at the Penn Relays.
“Those folks that are going to Troy University are folks that we are probably going to end up taking most of them to the conference championships; we’re just giving them one more shot to stay sharp and try to get a little better and try to progress and peak a little bit headed into the conference.”
After posting 27 new personal bests at the War Eagle Invitational last weekend, the Tigers are poised for a strong showing next month at the national championships.
“I am really excited about where we are and what we did last weekend,” Spry said. “Most of our top athletes already have solid marks to get them to the first round of the NCAA Championships, so that’s going to allow us to go to the conference championships and just focus on the competition.”
Among the group traveling to Philadelphia are sprinters Keenan Brock, Marcus Rowland, Harry Adams and Michael DeHaven. The quartet will compete in the 4x100 meter and 4x200 meter relays.
“What we’re trying to do is just stay focused and do the same thing we did at the Texas Relays: be of one accord, make sure everyone is healthy and don’t let anything distract you,” Rowland said. “It’s a big event. It’s like a festival up there, so we’ve just got to stay focused and not worry about the distractions and we will get the job done.”
Brock echoed Rowland, saying the size and diversity of the meet are what set the Penn Relays apart from all other events.
“It’s just like going to world trials and Olympics—people from all over the country, Jamaica, everyone coming in to see colleges run and the U.S. run,” Brock said. “It’s a great way to showcase your speed and what’s upcoming.
“We just want to go to Penn and grab a pinwheel and maybe a Penn record.”