Track and Field partakes in prestigious Penn Relays

The Marshall University track and field team prepares for no ordinary meet this weekend, which began Thursday. The team will send athletes to the oldest and largest track and field meet in the United States for the 123rd annual Penn Relays at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

“This is an exciting week for all our kids, especially our runners,” head coach Jeff Small said. “This is like the Super Bowl of track and field. There will probably be 20,000 people in the stands Thursday, another 30,000 Friday, and 40,000 Saturday. We’ll get to see a bunch of Olympians, world champions and great teams. We’re really excited.”

Last year, Marshall earned a victory in the 4×100 meter relay in the college division. The team of Kametra Byrd, Shanice Johnson, Asia Bange and Hope Julmiste ran an impressive time of 46.25 seconds to take the win. Additionally, top-10 finishes came from Antonique Butler, who finished sixth in the triple jump and Heidi Heiniger, who finished ninth in the javelin throw.

This year, the team is scheduled to send relays in the 4×100 meter relay, 4×400 meter relay, 4×800 meter relay, distance medley relay and shuttle hurdle relay.  The team is also scheduled to send 11 individual qualifiers, including sophomores Elena Marchand and Hasana Clark who are scheduled to compete in multiple events. Marchand is scheduled to compete in both the shot put and discus, Clark in the shot put and hammer throw.

One of the top competitors this season for the Herd has been Alexis Montes. The graduate student currently sits at the top of Conference USA in the javelin throw with her mark of 164 feet, 2 inches (50.03 meters). That throw was also good enough to break the Marshall school record in the javelin throw in her first competition for the Herd. Montes is scheduled to compete in the javelin throw championship Thursday 6:45 p.m.

“It’s an honor to me that I will be in competition alongside these athletes,” Montes said. “I’m excited and looking forward to represent Marshall at this prestigious meet.”

The meet began Thursday with Marshall’s first scheduled competitors being sophomore Sarah Bever and freshman Torie Derrow in the high jump at 10 a.m. The meet runs all day Thursday through Saturday, with Marshall’s competitors competing throughout the three days.

Patrick O’Leary can be contacted at [email protected].