Track athletes sprint to prestigious Penn Relay Carnival

By Ben Levin

Representing your school in an international competition is something many student athletes only dream about. But last weekend, several Whitman athletes made it a reality, participating in the annual Penn Relay Carnival.

Sixteen Whitman runners were part of the 22,000 student athletes who competed in the relays at the University of Pennsylvania. This number of participants is the largest of any sporting event in the country. The legendary carnival is also the oldest track event in the country, with the first race dating back to 1893.

Sprinter Maddy Frank opened the relay for Whitman in the Girls’ 4x400 at the annual Penn Relay Carnival. Photo courtesy of Penn Relays.
Sprinter Maddy Frank opened the relay for Whitman in the Girls’ 4×400 at the annual Penn Relay Carnival. Photo courtesy of Penn Relays.

This was track and field coach Stephen Hays’ seventh year taking student athletes to the Penn Relays in his 17 years of coaching track at Whitman.

“We had a great bonding experience as a team,” Hays said. “Watching and competing with great athletes while spending the weekend together was a really fun time.”

Whitman runners competed in four different events against top runners from across the world. Throughout the meet, many athletes’ main focus was self-improvement.

“Running in a meet like the Penn Relays brings out the best in us because of the competitive nature of the meet and other teams,” sprinter Jack Feigin said. “Even though we weren’t competitive with the best teams, we were still able to run season-bests and improve on our own times.”

The team hopes to translate their momentum from the Penn Relays into success at the Montgomery County Championship Meet on May 11.

“It’s just another meet and another time to compete,” Hays said. “But any time you get a chance to go against great competition, it gives you a chance to better yourself, so hopefully this will make us better for the post-season.”