Franklin Field hosted many cultures

By Catharine Hernson
May 2, 2002

USA vs. the World took over the Penn Relays this year. The Nike created super series pits the best relay teams from around the world against the track stars of the United States. With the buzz around Philadelphia that the world’s two fastest humans, Maurice Greene and Marion Jones would be competing, the Relays were able to draw record attendance. Yet he Relays still focus on the collegiate and high school track events.

The University of Tennessee men’s shuttle hurdles team easily claimed their second victory in a row at the Penn Relays. The defending champion team consisted of four seniors, Justin Gatlin, Hassaan Stamps, Jabai Greer, and Matt Rush. Stamps was excited after the win because it was his “final curtain call” as a senior. “We have the best coaches,” Stamps said, “We have a democracy with three presidents.” Rush was almost speechless after the event; it was one of the largest crowds he competed in front of. “I like the crowd, but it is the hardest atmosphere to warm-up in,” he said. Tennessee teams were also able to take home the 4x100m and 4x200m relay events.

Holmewood Tech Academy, from Manchester, Jamaica was disqualified after a record setting run in the high school girls’ 4x800m relay. After receiving their awards an announcement came over the loudspeaker that the team had been removed from their champion status after passing the baton out of the specified area.

The crowd at Franklin Field had a very Jamaican air on Saturday, the day of the featured USA vs. the World events. The American women have had a fierce rivalry with the Jamaican team in recent years. “It seems to me like [the Jamaican team] the home team at the Penn Relays,” Olympian Chryste Gaines said, as Jamaican drums beat down from the stands. “It’s a good rivalry, but they know we don’t play around when it comes to the big boys, the Worlds and Olympics,” Gaines said. The Jamaican team was able to edge out the Americans in the 4x100m relay.

John Drummond, a native Philadephian comented on the apparent Jamaican home field advantage, “I think that’s why the bring me, I’m the official Jamiacn -pisser-offer,” he said.

Other Olympians at the Relays were Tori Edwards, Inger Miller, Kelli White, Tim Montgomery, Coby Miller, Ramon Clay, Bernard Williams and Terrence Miller.

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Catharine Hernson

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