PHILADELPHIA -- The decathlon and heptathlon will officially kick off the 102nd Penn Relays today at Franklin Field, with the decathlon offering the possibility of the first repeat winner in 16 years.
Ryan Werner of Liberty, a senior from Scarborough, Maine, won the competition last year with 7,443 points. No one has captured back-to-back decathlon titles at the Penn Relays since Joe Schneider of St. John's did it in 1979 and 1980.
Werner's toughest challenge could come from a fellow Maine resident, Penn State's James Cook of Kennebunk. Cook last year took third in the decathlon, tallying 7,099 points.
The heptathlon is guaranteed a new champion, because Diane Guthrie-Gresham of George Mason graduated after capturing an unprecedented fourth carnival victory last season with a record 6,271 points.
Athletes in both competitions, which will conclude tomorrow, will be trying to earn NCAA qualifying marks -- 7,550 in the decathlon and 5,500 in the heptathlon. The provisional qualifying marks are 7,050 and 5,075.
Pub Date: 4/23/96