Penn Relays Saturday Preview: 4 x 400s, Usain Bolt, A Sub-16 Attempt?, A Great Pro DMR And Hopefully An Oregon-PSU 4 x 800

By LetsRun.com
April 21, 2010

More Previews:
*Thursday's Penn Relays Preview: College Women's DMR, HS Girls 3k And Distance Carnival Should Entertain
*Friday's Penn Relays Preview: Oregon Will Vie For Crowns In Men's DMR And Women's 4 x 1,500 As High Schoolers Wage Epic Battle In Boys 3k

Following the sport of track and field is a maddening exercise, as it requires LOTS of time to properly know what is going on. We here at LetsRun.com view one of our main jobs as being to save you time. Previews of major meets like Penn Relays can save you hours. Thus, we've written up a preview of the Penn Relays to help you know when to tune in. If you are at the meet, you can obviously buy one of their meet programs. But if you are trying to follow it online, our preview will really help.

We want to thank Walt Murphy of Eastern track for his great insight into the sport. We used his newsletter to help us get started on this preview. Walt is one of the most knowledgeable track aficionados in the world. For more information on his News & Results Service, which includes Eastern Track, X-Country X-Press, and This Day in T&F, contact Walt Murphy at [email protected] Much of his great insight has also been produced on the preview he wrote for ESPN/Dyestat.

The Penn Relays website contains the start lists for all of the events. The meet will be broadcast on ESPN2 on Sunday from 8 - 10 pm. Flotrack or thepennrelays.com will have live video feeds of Penn. We believe you will be able to watch it via the player below as well, as we've embedded their player for your convenience.

Watch live streaming video from flolive at livestream.com.

In terms of Saturday, the major events in our minds are as follows. Races of particular interest are in bold. All times Eastern.

Key Saturday Penn Relays Events - Full Schedule/List Of Entrants/Results Here
1:00 PM - College Men's 4 x Mile: Can Oregon break 16:00-flat?
1:25 PM - College Men's 4 x 100 Championship Of America
1:35 PM - HS Boys 4 x 100 Championship Of America
1:50 PM - USA vs. The World Women Sprint Medley
1:55 PM - College Women's 4 x 800 Championship Of America: What could possibly stop Tennessee from repeating?
2:30 PM - USA vs. The World Women 4 x 100
2:35 PM - College Women's 4 x 200 Championship Of America
2:40 PM - College Men's 4 x 200 Championship Of America
2:50 PM - USA vs. The World Men 4 x 100 - Usain Bolt ... need we say more?
3:00 PM - USA vs. The World Men DMR - Lots of talent on the track, as Australia, USA, Morocco and Kenya will clash.
4:10 PM - HS Boys 4 x 800 Championship Of America: This race is always a lot of fun.
4:20 - College Men 4 x 800 Championship Of America -
Will the long awaited Oregon - PSU matchup materialize?

4:55 PM - USA vs. The World Men 4 x 400
5:10 PM - USA vs. The World Women 4 x 400
5:25 - HS Boys 4 x 400 Championship Of America
5:50 PM - College Women's 4 x 400 Championship Of America
6:00 PM - College Men's 4 x 400 Championship Of America

Analysis Of Featured Races

1:00 PM - College Men's 4 x Mile -
Entrants/Results
First of all, we are thrilled the Oregon Ducks are running this race at Penn instead of in some contrived setting in Eugene. Last year in Eugene, they ran a record 16:03. The question this year is: "Can the Ducks accomplish the long-sought-after but never-accomplished sub-16:00?"

We doubt it, although on paper, their PRs for the 1,500 or mile would have us asking if they are going to break 15:50.

The top four Duck milers on paper are:

Matt Centrowitz (3:36.92 1,500)

Andrew Wheating (3:38.60 1,500)
Mac Fleet (3:57.70)
AJ Acosta (3:58:08)

That being said, we think the Ducks might run former Princeton runner Mike Maag (4:00.43) instead of one of their top four milers. If they do, that might jeopardize any shot of a sub-16:00.

If the Ducks for some reason scratch this race (we doubt they will, but it does come before the 4 x 800), then we guess someone will have to win, although honestly we have no idea who. Indiana may be our pick, as they have a 3:41, a 3:42 and two 3:47s. Duke has two 3:42 guys, a 3:46 and a 3:47 and then there are some of the usual suspects from the East, including Princeton, which appears to be even better than Syracuse and Georgetown. We're not sure why Rojo didn't enter his Cornell guys, as he'd have 4 at 3:48 or better.

1:55 PM - College Women's 4 x 800 Championship Of America - Entrants/Results
Tennessee set the collegiate record (8:17.91) in this race last year and they return three of the four legs from last year in Kimarra McDonald (2:09.14 last year at Penn), Chanelle Price (2:02.45 last year at Penn), and Phoebe Wright (2:02.62 last year at Penn). They lost Sarah Bowman, however, and she ran 2:03.70, so they will not break last year's record even though they replace Bowman with Brittany Sheffey, who ran 2:06.86 at Sea Ray. Price hasn't run outdoors yet and if she doesn't run, then Tennessee takes a big hit and the door is opened for LSU, Georgetown or Oregon.

2:50 PM - USA vs. The World Men 4 x 100 - Usain Bolt ... Need We Say More? - Entrants/Results
Usain Bolt
is here, so this should be a lot of fun. The problem is he's going to have a ton of ground to make up - maybe too much, as Jamaica is splitting their teams and the Jamaicans have lost this event to the US 9 of the last 10 years. We just hope that Bolt gets it close enough to have a chance to do something special.

3:00 PM - USA vs. The World Men's DMR - Entrants/Results
This is a race that has us excited. Unfortunately, they have it right after the 4 x 100, so the crowd will likely be in post-Bolt craziness. They should have put this race prior to Bolt's race.

How about these potential lineups:

Australia Men's DMR: Collis Birmingham, Nick Bromley (Alternate), Ryan Gregson, Jeff Risley, Sean Wroe
Kenya Men's DMR: Stephen Kamolo, Moses Kertich, Jonathan Kibet, Julius Kirwa, Vincent Mumo
Morocco DMR: Hicham Bellani, Mouhcine Elamine, Marouane Elmaadadi, Sidiayyoub Elmandilo, Amine Laalou
USA DMR: Nick Symmonds, Will Leer, Leo Manzano, Jacob Hernandez, David Torrence, Duane Solomon

4:20 PM - College Men's 4 x 800 Championship Of America - Entrants/Results
Before we talk about this race, let's talk about how bad the lying seeding has become in college track in this day and age. We've heard stories of teams entering with seed times faster than world records in years past at Penn, but this year may top it all, as Walt Murphy reports that a ridiculous 15 squads seeded themselves at under 7:20.

But looking at the teams entered, we see at least 9 that (if they ran their best) would hope to actually be under 7:20 (Oregon, Penn State, Texas, UVA, UConn, LSU, Tennessee, Georgetown and Columbia), based on the PRs of the guys on their roster. But that isn't likely to happen and no way does this race approach the 1982 race, when 7th place was 7:16.22.

Who can win? Texas, Penn State, Oregon, UVA and UConn are the top 5 seeds. But let's cut the waste and cut to the chase. For months, people have been fantasizing about a Penn State - Oregon matchup and the fans are going to see their dream realized. Oregon is set to run the 4 x 800 for the first time in school history, so people will get to see the beast of the East, Penn State, challenge the Ducks in Franklin Field.

Penn State and Oregon, from what we can tell, are the only teams with four guys on their roster that have gone sub-1:50 this year. Their top 4 800 guys with outdoor 2010 marks unless otherwise noted.

Oregon
Andrew Wheating - 1:45.03 PR
Mac Fleet - 1:49.19

Travis Thompson - 1:49.54
Elijah Greer - 1:47.33i
/1:50.62.

Penn State
Ryan Foster -1:47.32i/2:19.60 i/3:41.26
Casimir Loxsom - 1:47.98i/1:48.41
Owen Dawson - 1:48.85
Lionel Williams - 1:49.07

Looking at the 2010 outdoor seasonal bests, Penn State has the advantage through the first three guys (neither team's anchors in Ryan Foster for PSU and Andrew Wheating for Oregon has run an outdoor 800). If you add up the 2010 outdoor seasonal bests, Penn State's SBs for their first three runners average 1:48.78 per man, whereas Oregon's average 1:49.78. Wheating is better than Foster heads-up, but he's not 3 seconds better than him.

But we still think with Wheating on the anchor, the Ducks should win. It's just hard to run away from teams on relays and normally things come down to the anchor leg. Penn State could win if they can get away from the Ducks early. If frosh Casimir Loxsom runs something like the 1:47 he did indoor, then they'll have a chance.

Although ... when we wrote that previous paragraph, we forgot that the 4 x 800 comes after the 4 x Mile. Thus the Ducks might be very tired, as they might have already doubled. If Penn State bags the DMR, they should win this race fresh over the Ducks. If Oregon bags the 4 x Mile, they likely win this race. If Oregon runs the 4 x Mile, then it gets interesting.

The question for Oregon is who they run as their weakest runner. Frosh Elijah Greer is the logical choice, but the guy is less than consistent and may be already on the way down for the season. He ran 1:47 indoors but only 1:50.62 outdoors. If the Ducks don't want to run Greer, they could go with Matt Centrowitz. If the Ducks are doubting Greer, we say lead off Centrowitz, as he's a competitor. They'll stay in it and if they are in it at the end, they will get the job done.

Thus this race very well could come down to how the freshman, Greer and Loxsom, do. But we wonder if Loxsom and the Nittany Lions in general may have peaked a little too early. But this race is defintely worth one watching, as it offers so many contrasts. The pure 800 Penn State guys versus the more mile-oriented Oregon guys, East Coast vs. West Coast, and on and on.

If Oregon or PSU don't win, everyone probably thinks we'll pick UVA as the next most likely team to win it. While we could maybe see UVA winning if it's slow and tactical, as they'll have Robby Andrews on the anchor, we think they may have a hard time being in contention when it comes down to the anchor, even though their other 1:47 guy in Lance Roller should help keep them in it. The fact of the matter is no one from UVA has broken 1:50 outdoors this year. But again, if UVA bags the DMR and is totally fresh, whereas PSU and Oregon are exhausted, then UVA probably should win.

But honestly, the third most likely team to win, ahead of UVA, may be LSU. Check out the top 4 outdoor seasonal bests from their team for 2010:

Richard Jones -1:46.90
Jamaal James - 1:48.34
Sadiki White - 1:49.13
Garrek Thompson - 1:50.75

Texas was the winner the last two years, but none of their guys who have gone under 1:50 in the past, in Tevan Everett, Tevas Everett or Patrick Dodd, have done it this year. Speaking of Tevan Everett, what is up with him? The guy is one of the biggest talents in the NCAA but he's only run 1:50 this year.

4 x 400s - The meet ends as track meets traditionally do with some exciting 4 x 400s. We love seeing the crowd get into it. Days PRIOR to his Beijing Olympic success, LetsRun.com's Robert Johnson told Bolt that to be a legend, he needed to add the 4 x 400 to his résumé. If Bolt runs a leg here, he'll bring the house down. The USA vs. The World 4 x 400 is at 4:55 pm.

4:55 PM - USA vs. The World Men 4 x 400
5:10 PM - USA vs. The World Women 4 x 400
5:25 -
HS Boys 4 x 400 Championship Of America
5:50 PM - College Women's 4 x 400 Championship Of America
6:00 PM - College Men's 4 x 400 Championship Of America

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