COURTESY OF AU ATHLETICS
Four runners represented AU at the 118th Penn Relays, which marked a significant step up from last year’s performance. The Eagles ran respectably in the three-day meet last weekend that drew high school, collegiate and professional athletes from all over the world.
AU tallied runners in various divisions of the 5,000-meter race. Mark Allen led the way for the Eagles with a fifth-place finish in the Olympic Development race with an impressive time of 14:24.39 that was the fastest of the day for the Eagles and also an IC4A qualifying time. Mark Leininger, competing in the same event as his teammate, placed 17th with a time of 14:49.46.
AU’s Josh Olsen crossed the finish line in 14:52.89 for a 28th-place finish in the men’s 5,000-meter championship, while Ryan Williams also posted a 28th-place showing in the men’s 5,000-meter college race with a time of 15:12.58. Those four performances rounded out a solid weekend for the Eagles, who only had one participant in last year’s relays.
In 2011, the Eagles sent Erin Koch to the Penn Relays, who wound up placing 11th in the women’s 3,000-meter run. That marked the first appearance by a member of the AU women’s track and field team at the relays since 2009.
With the event now behind them, the Eagles hope to post a strong performance in this week’s Patriot League Track and Field Outdoor Championships.
Last year, the men placed sixth overall and the women came in eighth despite multiple strong individual performances on both sides.
On the women’s side, senior Octavia Rinehardt will look to defend her title in the 5,000-meter race. The Eagles will miss Koch, the runner-up at 1,500 meters, but sophomore Ali Tyburski will look to improve on her impressive fifth-place finish from a year ago.
A championship in the 4x800 meter relay last year highlighted the meet for the men’s team, and they’ll look for similar success this time around.
Williams, Leininger, Allen and Zach Wright are returning notable competitors looking to lead the Eagles in 2012. Allen placed fifth in the 5,000 last year in 14:48.38, and has run well throughout the season for the Eagles. High jumper Wright, the school’s record holder, placed fifth as well in his event, clearing with a final height of 6’ 8.25”. Williams and Leininger placed sixth and seventh in the 10,000 meter race last year, respectively.
The Patriot League Championships are scheduled to take place from May 4 to 5 in Worcester, Mass.