Prestigious Penn Relays await

Starting today, the USF track and field teams will compete in the Penn Relays, hosted by the University of Pennsylvania.

The Penn Relays is one of the oldest annual track meets in the country. Penn has put on this event for the past 108 years. The event will bring the nation’s best collegiate, high school and amateur teams together. All told, there will be more than 50 collegiate teams present. The three-day event begins today and will conclude on Saturday.

“It’s one of the oldest meets. It’s prestigious, it’s challenging, it’s competitive,” said USF coach Greg Thiel. “It’s a big meet for those kids who are trying to qualify for nationals.”

Last year at the Penn Relays, two USF athletes qualified for the NCAA Championship, including Tara Quinn in the 10,000 meters.Again this year, Quinn will be one of the Bulls trying to qualify for nationals. She will attempt to improve her qualifying mark in the 10,000 this week. She qualified on March 29, with a time of 34:22.18, good for 16th among all qualifiers. The NCAA typically takes the top 20 to 22 athletes. Quinn will attempt to improve her mark in the 5,000 meters next week. She is currently 15th. Kristy Fuller is 31st in the 5,000 meters.

Chandra Brewer and Dayana Octavien will also look to improve their marks this week. Brewer is currently ranked 23rd in the shot put with a mark of 15.54m, and Octavien is 28th in the discus throw with a mark of 50.92m.

Jimmy Baxter is mostly assured a spot in the championship, as he currently holds the best mark in the nation in the high jump.”Jimmy is pretty much in. Tara has to step up in the 10,000 meters or the 5,000 meters to get in. Chandra and Dayana in their respective events need to do the same thing,” Thiel said.

The 10,000 meters, shot put and discus throw will be held today. The high jump will be held Friday.

“It’s a good opportunity for the kids to be in a high profile meet,” said Thiel.

“It’s a good barometer to go by, to see if they are ready to step up to the national level.”