#PenRelays2018 coverage is brought to you from Franklin Field Stadium (April 26-28) by WIHCON
Auburn will return to defend its 4x400m men’s title at Penn Relays 2018.
The Tigers ran 3:05.19 a year ago, placed third at last year’s NCAA outdoor Championships and fifth at last month’s indoor NCAA.
They are led by three Jamaicans who have plenty of relays experience from high school. Raheem Chambers (10.20 100m best) and Nathon Allen (44.19 400m best) ran the first and third legs on St. Jago’s runner-up school 4x100m in 2015, when it ran 39.89, while Akeem Bloomfield (44.74) ran the leadoff on Kingston College’s 2016 championship 4x100m (39.63).
Bloomfield, while at Auburn, was runner-up this winter at the NCAA indoor champs and SEC champs, while Allen was NCAA outdoor runner-up a year ago and won silver medal as a member of Jamaica’s second-place 4x400m team at the Rio Olympics.
Auburn’s win a year ago was its first at Penn Relays in the 4x400m in 26 years.
Mississippi State and Hampton should pose some challenge to Auburn.
In the sprint medley, GC Foster College won out of the unseeded section a year ago. That result is no longer permitted; the championship team may now only come out of this event’s seeded section.
In the short relays, Auburn is favored to win its first Relays championship in 25 years. The Tigers were second a year ago to Oregon in the 4×100.
Auburn, in the women’s 4x100m, is led by the Jamaican duo of Jonielle Smith (11.13 100 PR) and Natalliah Whyte (11.25w). Smith ran on the third-place HSG 4×1 for Wolmers Girls in 2014, while Whyte was on St. Jago’s runner-up team a year later.
This spring’s Jamaican collegiate champions, UTech, fourth a year ago, is led by Shellece Clark, who ran third leg for Edwin Allen, winner of last year’s HSG 4×100 in its phenomenal meet record of 43.96. Fellow Jamaican school G.C. Foster has run 44.41 this spring, U-Tech 44.58.
Auburn has run 43.65 this spring, while Oklahoma has run 44.33, Duke 44.47, Clemson and South Carolina 44.90. OU, led by Ama Pipi and Leya Buchanan, was fifth a year ago, Penn State sixth.
Auburn will face challenges from the Jamaican schools G. C. Foster, led by the freshman Tissanna Hickling, and UTech, led by Junelle Bromfield in the women’s 4x200m. Hickling won the HSG long jump a year ago at the Relays for St. Jago. UTech was champion of this event in 2015. American challengers include Middle Tennessee, Clemson and Penn State.
In the 4×400, UTech was third a year ago in 3:32.00, behind Oregon and Oklahoma. The Jamaican school, champions of this event in 2009 and 2010, are led by Bromfield (51.74 400 lifetime best). Pipi has run 52.07 for Coach Jim Van Hootegem’s Sooners, who ran 3:34.05 this winter indoors. Others to watch include Pitt (3:35.73), Mississippi State (3:34.77), Clemson (3:32.84) and Duke (3:33.64). Coach Norm Ogilvie’s Blue Devils are led by Madeline Price (52.88).