Track continues impressive run at Penn Relays

Keisha Raymond, Staff Writer

St. John’s track and field competed in six events on the first day of the Penn Relays in Philadelphia. The six events were throws, jumps, sprints and distance relays and the Red Storm placed in the top-fifth of the 80 team fields in the 4×100-meter and 4×400-meter relays.

“The weather turned cold, but our efforts continued to be hot as our 4×100-meter and 4×400-meter relays advanced to the finals and the distance medley ran a seasonal best,” St. John’s head coach Jim Hurt said. “Nyla Woods and Ann Dagrin made the finals, and Nyla the podium, in the college hammer. It was a brutal weather day, but our ladies continue to impress.”

Running in the 4×100-meter, the team of senior LaTasha Collins, junior Shenika King and freshmen Maya Stephens and Julia Schwan finished with a time of 47.17 seconds to claimed 17th overall.  In the 4×400-meter relay, senior Nastasya Rodriques, juniors Pariis Garcia and Raquel Ricketts, and freshman Marlow Schulz placed 14th overall in a time of 3:47.92.

In the distance medley, Stephanie Van Pelt (3:35.59), sophomore Christine Oguledo (59.80), junior Michelle Van Pelt (2:19.65) and freshman Izzi Batt-Doyle (4:57.79) had a total time of 11:52.81 to take eighth in a 20-team field. This relay team came within six seconds of finishing third and within ten seconds of the school record that was set in 1999.

Freshman Nyla Woods and a trio of Red Storm teammates placed in third in the hammer throw event, Woods had a mark of 54.09 meters, junior Ann Dargin came in ninth with a toss of 51.61 meters, senior Nastasha Amazan was 22nd with a throw of 48.08 meters. Amazan took part in the women’s shot and claimed 33rd with 12.67 meters. Also, freshman Anointing Onuoha competed in the long jump. Onuoha had a jump of 5.39 meters to finish 26th.

On day two of the Penn Relays, senior LaTasha Collins, junior Shenika King, freshmen Maya Stephens and Julia Schwan had a time of 47.13 seconds in the 4×200-meter ECAC final to take fifth,  their second-fastest time of the season.  Collins and Stephens plus juniors Pariis Garcia and Raquel Ricketts teamed up in the 4×200-meter relay to finish in 23th in 1:40.30.

On the final day of the Penn Relay, which had an announced crowd of 48,920 at Franklin Field in Philadelphia, the Red Storm took aim at a 21-year-old school record in the women’s 4×800-meter.

“We had a fantastic Penn Relays culminating with highly competitive 4×200, 4×800 and 4×400 relays today,” coach Hurt said. “St. John’s was well represented in front of 48,000 spectators as well as national TV audience. The strength of our program was demonstrated in the field with our hammer throwers and on the track with our multiple relay teams. We look forward to continued success at our home meet, the Tom Farrell Classic, next Saturday at DaSilva Memorial Field.”

Freshmen Marlow Schulz (2:13.59) and Izzi Batt-Doyle (2:13.92) and  juniors Stephanie Van Pelt (2:10.93) and Michelle Van Pelt (2:16.13) came in fifth overall with a time of 8:54.56  in the 4×800 meter relay event. They came in within less than three seconds off the program record that was set in the 1994 Penn Relays.

Senior LaTasha Collins, juniors Raquel Ricketts and Pariis Garcia, and freshman Maya Stephens had a time of 1:37.63 for third place in ECAC final 4X200-meter relay. The Red Storm had a recorded time of 1:40.30 in the preliminary round to finish 23rd.

In the finals of the 4×400-meter, Schulz, Garcia, Ricketts and senior Nastasya Rodriques finished in seventh place with a combined relay time of 3:44.87.

Junior Stephanie Van Pelt’s thoughts on the Penn Relays:

“Penn Relays is always a great experience.  It’s a meet like no other.  We haven’t ran a 4×800 relay since ECAC’s indoor, so it was a lot of fun to run it again.  We are extremely happy and proud of the way we ran.  We came in 5th overall, which was so cool and we all got Penn Relays medals; personally, my first one since I started to run at the meet in high school.  We didn’t think about the school record, we mainly focused on trying to get out in front of the race from the beginning and try to break away from everyone.  We definitely are more focused to break the school record by Big East Champs.”

St John’s will host the Tom Farrell Classic on Friday, May 1 and Saturday, May 2. The first session will be on Friday at Queens College at noon. Saturday event will take place at DaSilva Memorial Field on St. John’s Queens, N.Y., campus, starting at 11:30 a.m.