Ducks outdistance pack at Relays
PHILADELPHIA -- Oregon freshman Edward Cheserek led the Ducks to the distance medley relay championship Friday in the Penn Relays, running the closing mile leg in 3 minutes, 57.98 seconds.
Cheserek, the NCAA cross country champion, teamed with seniors Mac Fleet, Mike Berry and Boru Guyota to finish in 9:25.40 in front of 38,135 fans at Franklin Field.
"I always make my move at 200," said Cheserek, who grew up in Kenya and attended high school at St. Benedict's Prep in New Jersey. "But I did my move with 300 to go instead of 200. And I was feeling good."
Fleet ran the opening 1,200-meter leg in 2:53.95, Berry followed with a 44.72 in the 400, and Guyota had a 1:48.77 in the 800.
"We knew Ed was looking pretty smooth," Fleet said. "You can tell if he's feeling good or not. He lit that one up. He gets really excited and just takes off. It's fun to watch."
Villanova was second in 9:28.93, and Stanford third at 9:29.66.
The DMR championship was the second for Oregon. Fleet, a redshirt senior, was a member of the Ducks' first title-winning team four years ago and has four wins at the Penn Relays. He'll have a chance to close his college career with a fifth victory when Oregon attempts to defend its 4-mile relay title Saturday.
"It's kind of fun knowing the East Coast schools really gear up for this meet," Fleet said. "This has been one of my favorite relays since freshman year. ... I absolutely love this meet."
Villanova captured its second victory in two days, winning the women's 6,000 relay, and Texas A&M took the women's 400 relay for the sixth straight year.
The Wildcats' win played to almost exactly the same script as their distance medley relay title Thursday, with Villanova's Emily Lipari chasing down Stanford's Aisling Cuffe in the final 100 meters.
Villanova won the race in 17:16.52 for its first Penn Relays victory in the 6,000 since 2000, coach Gina Procaccio's first year in charge. The win also marked the first time the program captured Penn Relays titles in both the DMR and the 6,000 since 1997.
"We're known as being middle-distance runners, 1,500-meter runners," Procaccio said. "So for us not to win this event in that many years really bothered me a bit. The girls understood that. They know what Villanova's all about."
Stephanie Schappert ran the first 1,500 leg in 4:22.3, Angel Piccirillo the second in 4:17.4, and Nicky Akande the third in 4:20.4 to give Lipari the baton just behind Cuffe.
And, for the second straight day, Cuffe could not hold her lead as Lipari finished her anchor leg in 4:16.4 to edge Stanford by 0.22 seconds. Dartmouth, led by a blazing 4:08 anchor leg from reigning NCAA cross country champion Abbey D'Agostino, finished third in 17:20.87.
"I kind of knew what (Cuffe) was going to do and what to expect," Lipari said. "I just heard Angel screaming at me at the turn, `How bad do you want it?' And I thought, `I want this pretty bad."
In the first collegiate championship of the day, Texas A&M edged Oregon by 0.22 seconds in the women's 400 in 43.11. Jennifer Madu kicked off the relay, with Ashton Purvis, Kamaria Brown and Olivia Ekpone following her.
"It's been great for the past few years that we've been here," Ekpone said. "I'm very excited to be a part of the sixth one."
Savannah State won the college men's shuttles hurdles championship in 58.25, and Auburn took the women's shuttles hurdles title in 54.96. In the sprint medley relays, Penn State won the men's race in 3:18.39 and UTech of Jamaica won the women's race in 3:47.14
In the field events, Rutgers' Corey Crawford won the men's long jump at 25 feet, 11 inches, Texas A&M's LaQue Moen-Davis took the women's triple jump at 44-1½, and East Carolina's Tynita Butts won the women's high jump at 6-2 3/4. Penn State's Darrell Hill won the men's shot put at 63-11 3/4, and Florida State's Kellion Knibb took the women's discus at 185-4.