Quaker wins high jump

The freshman cleared 7-31/4 for Penn's first win in the event since 1955.

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Penn's Maalik Reynolds won the college men's high jump, clearing 2.22 meters. (Jonathan Tannenwald/philly.com)

Maalik Reynolds heard something about Penn's last victory in the high jump at the Penn Relays being in 1955 and joked, "That's a little before my time."

But Reynolds, a freshman from Atlanta, might have started a new tradition for the Quakers in the event at their home venue Saturday by capturing the high jump with an effort of 7 feet, 31/4 inches.

It was quite an experience for Reynolds. The high jump competition is held in the closed end of Franklin Field, and the crowd roar was deafening as the USA vs. the World women's sprint medley relay was conducted while Reynolds was jumping.

"It was like one big ball of loud," he said. "But I was able to focus in the midst of all that.

"It's something I wasn't really used to, all the people, but I really enjoyed it. Maybe I was kind of nervous [starting out], but as I started jumping I let the crowd kind of feed me."

Reynolds needed to make his third and final attempt at 7-1 to keep going, then cleared 7-21/4 on the way to his winning height. He later moved the bar up to 7-5 but missed on all three tries.

Reynolds, who played basketball in high school in addition to competing in track and field, considered coming out for basketball at Penn before deciding to put all his energy into track. It seemed to pay off on his historic day Saturday.

"It's humbling, really," he said. "It's great to come out here and do something I can be proud of."

 

Quite a while

Princeton had waited 71 years to win a race at the Penn Relays, so another several seconds wasn't going to hurt the Tigers or Mark Amirault, their anchor in the 4-by-mile relay.

Amirault, a senior, made the final move about 70 meters from the finish line to overtake Arkansas and give the Tigers the victory, their first in a Championship of America race since they triumphed in the 1940 sprint medley relay.

Thanks to the race's fastest mile, a 3 minute, 58.3 second clocking by Dorian Ulrey, Arkansas went into the anchor with a 20-meter lead over Princeton and 30 meters over Villanova. But Amirault and Indiana anchor Ben Hubers closed in on the Razorbacks' Duncan Phillips and it was anyone's race the final half-lap.

"It fell right into my hands," Amirault said. "The Arkansas guy did all the work, getting us back to the front of the race. Toward the end he was kind of looking at me to see when I was going to go.

"Coach [Steve Dolan] always says the guy to go last usually wins, so I was waiting on them. When I went, it looked like he didn't have anything left."

Amirault, who was timed in 4:02.8, brought the Tigers home in 16:19.98.

Villanova, which won Friday's distance medley relay, came in fourth in 16:26.40. Matthew Gibney, the hero of the Wildcats' earlier win, appeared to run out of gas on the anchor, running a 4:07.7 mile.

 

They're outstanding

The outstanding athletes of the meet were Robby Andrews of Virginia (relay) and Omo Osaghae of Texas Tech (individual) for the men, and Jillian King of Boston College (relay) and Tina Sutej of Arkansas (individual) for the women.

Andrews anchored the Cavaliers' 4x800 team to victory for the second straight year. Osaghae won the 110-meter hurdles and was part of the Red Raiders' victorious shuttle hurdle relay team. King overtook two runners in the final 100 meters to give BC the win in the 4x1500 and Sutej set a carnival record of 14 feet, 71/4 inches in the pole vault.

 

Distinguished company

When Texas A&M senior Gabby Mayo helped her team to victory in the 4x100 and the shuttle hurdle relay, it marked the sixth and seventh watches of her Penn Relays career, tying the record for most watches won by a woman at the carnival.

"I feel like I'm on the best team ever in collegiate history," Mayo said, "so I'm very happy."

 


Contact staff writer Joe Juliano at 215-854-4494 or jjuliano@phillynews.com