Since the Texas Relays, the Longhorns have dominated their competition, with the men and women winning their respective divisions at the Texas Invitational and taking home 16 individual titles at the Michael Johnson Classic. The Penn Relays, which take place from Thursday to Saturday of this week, will provide elite competition to challenge the Longhorns’ recent string of dominance.
The women already have a strong contingent of runners virtually guaranteed spots in the NCAA West Regional meet, but the competition at the Penn Relays could drive some of the fringe athletes over the threshold and place more athletes in the qualifying meet.
Graduate student Olivia Mickle, a distance runner, is one of the athletes who could benefit from a strong showing in Pennsylvania. Mickle has been on head coach Mario Sategna’s radar all season, and currently sits with the seventh best 10,000-meter time in the nation. A strong performance in the 5,000 meter could land her in another event and provide some more competition for senior middle distance runner Marielle Hall, who leads the 5,000-meter field.
On the men’s side, the athletes to watch are a pair of freshmen jumpers hoping to make it to the outdoor NCAA West Regional meet in their first attempt. Logan Brittain is currently ranked 53rd in the nation for the high jump with a mark of 6-10 3/4 inches, and he could jump his way into the regional meet with a good showing this week.
Freshman jumper Nick Phynn is competing in both the triple jump and the long jump this weekend. He is ranked 58th in the nation in the long jump with a mark of 49-6 1/2, and he is ranked 87th in the long jump with a leap of 23-10 3/4. Phynn will have a chance to move both marks into qualifying range this weekend.
The Penn Relays will be the last time for the Longhorns to compete against strong competition before the postseason, as only one home meet remains between Texas and the Big 12 Championships.