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Track impressive at Penn Relays

With the Patriot League Championship on the horizon, the Boston University track and field program is peaking at the right time, posting impressive performances at both the Penn Relays and the Skyhawk Invitational over the weekend.

The Penn Relays, run annually at the University of Pennsylvania, is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious meets in the country. This past weekend marked the 120th edition of the event.

“It’s a great honor,” said director of track and field Robyne Johnson. “[The Penn Relays] is arguably one of the best meets in the world. We feel very fortunate to be able to take part and also to be able to do so well.”

BU’s performance in Philadelphia was highlighted by senior Nikko Brady’s great all-around performance, as she won the eastern section of the long jump, leaping 6.21 meters, just shy of a school record. Also in the jumps, senior Alison Barwise placed second in the high jump (1.84m) and junior Tessa Runels posted a top-20 finish (11.7m) in the triple jump.

A day later, Brady turned in a season-best time in the 100m hurdles, running 13.84 seconds and placing 18th in the event. The New Castle, Del., native then helped helm a 4x100m relay team that finished fourth in the ECAC section with a time of 45.99 seconds, just off of a program record. For her efforts, the conference named Brady the Patriot League Field Athlete of the Week on Monday.

“[Brady] did a great job this week,” Johnson said. “She had some season-bests and also a personal-best in the long jump. She’s worked very hard to be able to do what she’s done. I’m very proud of her accomplishments. … To do so well on that kind of a stage speaks to her being ready and training well and being very focused.”

Junior Gemma Acheampong, a member of the 4x100m relay team, finished 14th in the 100m dash with a time of 12.20 seconds. In the men’s version of the same event, freshman Justin Flynn continued his stellar rookie campaign, running 10.82, good for a top-20 finish.

To cap off an impressive meet, BU’s 4x400m relay team of senior Hannah Wiley, freshman Toria Levy, senior Carolyn Maynard and sophomore Christy Wood shattered their own school record. The quartet finished the four laps in 3:38.77.

Wiley’s performance on both relay teams, coupled with her top-20 placing in the 400m hurdles, led to her being awarded Patriot League Female Track Athlete of the Week.

At the Skyhawk Invitational in Easton, the Terriers posted strong performances all across the board.

In the 1,500m run, both the men and women had strong finishes. Sophomore Kevin Thomas won the competition in a time of 3:51.26 while his classmate Alec Olson came in third (3:52:13). For the women, junior Ashli Tagoai emerged victorious, running a personal-best time of 4:36.53.

Freshman Cameron Williams showcased his dominance in the sprints. He came in first in the 200m and ran second in the 100m in a personal-best time of 11.06.

In addition to Williams, the Terriers placed two more runners in the top-10 of the 200m. Sophomore David Lagerberg was right behind Williams, finishing second with a time of 21.98, while freshman Alastair Prenn came in 10th with a time of 23.00.

Not to be outdone, the women had four runners in the top-10 of the 200m. Freshman Djenne Parris and senior Janet Mellor came in first (25.58) and second (25.82) in the event, with sophomore Talia Flores (26.37) and freshman Kerri Graber (26.47) finished in seventh and eighth place, respectively. Graber also came in fourth in the 400m dash (59.11).

BU truly shone in the field events, as junior Ethan Knight won the shot put (15.54m) and freshman James Barnett came in ninth (12.33m). Knight also came in second in the discus with a throw of 46.59m. Junior Mike Maloof won the hammer throw with a with a mark of 52.44m. Senior Connor Sullivan won the high jump with a leap of 2.00m.

On the women’s side, senior Sarah Dillard finished first in the discus (38.90m) and third in the hammer throw (44.16m). Freshman Natalie Grabowski and freshman Sarah Kert came in fifth (3.20m) and sixth place (3.05m) in the pole vault.

Overall, the men’s side finished in second place among all teams while the women’s team came in fourth.

Johnson expressed her satisfaction with her well-rounded unit as they prepare for the Patriot League Championships this weekend at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

“It’s great [to have a balanced team],” Johnson said. “This is my ninth season coaching here at BU. When I first got here we weren’t very well rounded and I’m happy to say that out of the 21 events that are in track and field, we are represented in pretty much every one of them. That speaks volumes. That’s what track and field’s about and that’s what it should be.”

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