By Aubrey Campbell
NEW YORK, NY:
Since 1964 when the first wave of athletes jetted into Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the pages of the record books of the Penn Relays Carnival (PRC) have never been the same.
A testament to that fact will be in evidence for the world to see on the Saturday afternoon of April 27, during the Wall of Fame induction ceremony at the Franklin Field stadium, University of Pennsylvania, PA.
That's when the 2004 HS Girls 4 x 100 meters Championship of America (CoA) winning relay team from Vere Technical HS, Clarendon, Jamaica, is remembered for their awe-inspiring, record breaking performance almost a decade ago.
That year, the team of Indira Spence, Maris Wisdom, Sharneter Stewart and Simone Facey, stopped the clock at an eye-popping 44.32 seconds, breaking a meet record that had lasted six years. An earlier Vere Technical team had held the record previously for three years.
The Vere Tech girls team was selected this year along with three other teams and four individuals by a panel of Penn Relays experts. It is unclear if the ladies will be in attendance as only Facey is believed to be still competing in the sport.
This year's other relay team honourees are; the 1963 Fordham University 4-mile relay team, which is being honored on the 50th anniversary of setting a Carnival record; the 1969 Villanova 2-mile relay team of Andy O'Reilly, Chris Mason, Marty Liquori and Frank Murphy set a Relays record of 7:20.1, a mark which was not bettered on conversion until 1977, and the 2003 South Carolina shuttle hurdles team of Corey Taylor, Fred Townsend, Charles Ryan and Kenneth Ferguson ran 53.94 for the 4?120-yard distance, setting a collegiate record while still stands.
The individual inductees are: Michelle Bennett of Cardinal Spellman (Bronx) High School '87 and Villanova '91, one of the few women to have won seven relay Championship of America watches and who was an important cog on several Villanova relay teams; DeHart Hubbard of Michigan '25 who as a sophomore in 1923, won a long jump-triple jump double; Alberto Salazar of Wayland (Mass.) High School '76, who was the runner-up in the high school 2-mile run in 1975 and came back as a senior and blazed an 8:53.7, nearly seven seconds faster than the former record and the first Carnival time under nine minutes and vaulter, Brian Sternberg of Washington '63 who was one of the greats during the transition to fiberglass poles, Sternberg came to Penn in 1963 and set a pair of meet records.
The sole restriction in the nomination process is that only retired athletes (or those now competing as masters) may be nominated, and inductees are honored solely for their accomplishments at the Penn Relays; achievements in any other meets are not considered.
The Penn Relay Carnival Wall of Fame tradition begun in 1994 at the time of the 100th running and the class of 2013 is the 20th group of inductees. This brings the number of individuals selected (inductees) to 95, including five (5) Jamaicans; (Herb McKenley, Lennox Miller, Cathy Rattray, Inez Turner, Diane Guthrie Gresham).
Of the 85 relay teams on the Wall of Fame, seven are from Jamaica (1986 - Camperdown Boys 4 x 100 m, 1989 - Camperdown Boys 4 x 100 M, 1990 - St. Jago Boys 4 x 800 m, 1991- Vere Technical Girls 4 x 400 m, 1991- Vere Technical Girls 4 x 800 m, 1992- Vere Technical Girls DMR and 2001- Holmwood Technical Girls 4 x 400 m).
This year's 119th running of the Penn Relays Carnival is set for April 25-27 at the Ben Franklin Field, UPenn, in Philadelphia., PA.