RAZORBACKS AT THE PENN RELAYS
A Time line
The Penn Relays belonged to Villanova University. They had been the dominant force at the Penn Relays for decades. The Wildcats regularly had world leaders such as Ronnie Delaney, Marty Liquori, Don Paige, Mark Belger and Eamonn Coghlan to handle the all important anchor duties. It is little wonder they were on a run of 15 straight distance medley relays when the Hogs made their first ever appearance in 1981. Smaller wonder still that they would make it 16 straight with the future 1500m world record holder, Sydney Maree in their ranks. He would anchor 3 winning teams that weekend and send the Razorbacks back to Fayetteville empty handed. Although discouraged, Arkansas would return to the historic Franklin Field and face the challenge that is the PENN RELAYS.
IT IS the magical moment on Friday afternoon, when the young men of Arkansas, Georgetown, Villanova, Michigan, and of other schools that dare to challenge tradition, walk from the paddock to the starting line to begin the Distance Medley Relay, the most perfect race in the most perfect meet in the most perfect sport on earth.
IT IS THE PENN RELAYS (Credit Bob Hersh: Memories of Penn, 2003)
There were innumerable moments to treasure: close calls, spectacular legs, runaway victories and agonizing defeats. There were engaging rivalries with fine athletes from Villanova, Georgetown and Michigan and captivating anchor legs featuring duels between the top milers of their class – Donovan & O’Sullivan, Falcon & Cheruiyot, Reina & Trautmann and Lassiter & Sullivan. Here are some highlights of the Razorbacks at Penn.
Many of the photographs used were received from athletes and some were sourced from old newspaper clippings (I know you could tell). In two instances photographs were acquired from Gameface and a few more appear with the Getty Images watermark. Finally, the University of Arkansas is the likely origin of many of the photographs including those received from athletes. I would like to thank all original rights holders and assure them that the purpose is to inform and educate Razorback track fans.
All statistics are (mostly) accurate as of season end 2020. Same goes for the race recollections. Corrections welcomed.