I had a chance to go out to the 2009 Penn Relays in Philadelphia. I’ve gone to this meet as a high school and college athlete and as a spectatator probably a dozen times over the years. I have a core group of running friends that meet at U Penn every year for the meet. It was great to see everybody — high school teammates, college teammates, college competitors and coaches, etc.
I was totally psyched to go this year, especially since the UW women were travelling across the country to race the 4x1500m. I thought it was a “slam dunk” that they’d walk away with the win, given that they have the girl with the best U.S. high school 1500 & 1600m times ever (Christine Babcock) and the Canadian world Jr. XC champion (Kendra Schaaf) on their team, as well as a whole bunch of other girls with 1500PR’s in the low 4:20′s. That was not to be, as the top 3 teams all broke the former collegiate record held by Michigan (17:15). The final results were as follows:
|17:08.3||Chanelle Price (4:19.5), Phoebe Wright (4:19.0), Rolanda Bell (4:19.6), Sarah Bowman (4:10.2)|
|17:11.8||Christine Whalen (4:20.2), Emily Infeld (4:17.5), Renee Tomlin (4:16.7), Maggie Infeld (4:17.4)|
|17:14.6||Kailey Campbell (4:20.9), Katie Follett (4:16.9), Mel Lawrence (4:19.6), Christine Babcock (4:17.2)|
It was an incredible race, with the anchors from the top three teams all still together with 400m to go. But, in the end, Tennesee’s Sarah Bowman ran a 4:10 anchor leg (to make up 4 seconds and break the race wide open) to get the victory.
The entire race can be seen here, courtesy of flocast. I’m planning to write up a story for next month’s Northwest Runner on the race and the UW women’s team.
Additionally, I’ll be doing another blog post about the Tenessee women and their coach JJ Clark. The team is incredibly talented, grounded, and fun to watch.