Penn Relays

The Baltimore Sun

PHILADELPHIA -- Everything's clicking for Joel Brown.

The Woodlawn High and Ohio State University graduate blazed a 13.21-second split, leading the USA Blue team to a "world best-ever" performance of 53.31 seconds in the Olympic Development 480-yard shuttle high hurdles relay yesterday at the 114th Penn Relays, and now turns his attention to the individual high hurdles event on today's concluding program.

"This definitely ranks right up there with all the good things I've done in track over the years," Brown said.

"First there was the Maryland state record I set in high school," he said. "Then came getting my scholarship and running for Ohio State. After that, I guess it was winning the national indoor title in Boston three years ago, and running sixth in the world outdoor championships.

"But now, for sure, I've got to add this to the list. I felt great. I guess all of us felt great today."

David Oliver gave USA Blue a solid advantage on the leadoff phase. Aubrey Herring stretched it on the second leg, Brown handled the third and Aries Merritt brought it home in record fashion.

Merritt had anchored the American team that set the previous best time, 53.36 seconds, last summer in Stockholm, Sweden. He had teamed with Ron Bramlett, Anwar Moore and David Payne.

But the 53.31-second time will not appear on the official world records list. It's simply a "best-ever" because the shuttle hurdles is not an official world-record-eligible event.

Tasha Stanley had a sensational outing, too.

The Eleanor Roosevelt star was named the Penn Relays' Outstanding Girl Scholastic Athlete after anchoring the Greenbelt team's second consecutive Championship of America 1,600 relay title after powering her team's second-place but record-setting finish in the 3,200 relay.

Stanley's splits were 54.2 seconds in the 1,600 relay as Roosevelt beat out Manchester of Jamaica, and 3:37.10 to 3:40.89 and 2:09.6 in the 3,200 relay, where Roosevelt ran 8:43.12 - a U.S. national high school record - only to finish second to Jamaica's Holmwood Tech (8:41.92).

It was a big day for other Maryland athletes, as well.

Morgan State's Tyron Benjamin took the gold in the college men's second-tier shot put final with a 56-6 1/4 heave, and Maryland's Sal Delhierro was third at 55-0. Solomon Haile of Sherwood High in Sandy Spring (8:34.53) finished second to Mark Dennin (8:30.11) in the boys scholastic 3,000-meter final.

The Terps' Toni Aluko cleared 5-8 3/4 for fourth in the women's college high jump final.

The Southwest Masters club team (43.90) edged the Maryland Masters (44.80) for the men's 40-49 division 400 relay title.

Bowie State (1:26.61), Navy (1:26.90) and UMES (1:27:29) were top Maryland finishers in the men's college 800 relay series, and Morgan State (1:38.57) and Bowie State (1:40.74) were the state's best in the women's 800 relay.

Maryland teams had four of the top eight spots in the girls large-school 400 relay final, as Westlake of Waldorf (46.98), Western (48.50), Annapolis (48.28) and Charles H. Flowers of Springdale (48.70) finished second, fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively, with St. Andrew's of Jamaica (46.98) winning.

Bladensburg's Elizabeth Seton High (46.31) raced home second in the small-school 400 relay, behind Manchester, Jamaica (45.64.)

Gaithersburg's Sean Stanley placed seventh in the high school boys shot put final at 55-10 3/4 .

Jamaica's Calabar High sped to a 41.14 triumph in its section of the boys large-school 1,600 relay trials and led the way into today's Championship of America final. Westlake was the second-fastest qualifier in 41.57.

Other top Maryland performances in the 30 sections of the large-school 400 relay included Meade's 42.69, Old Mill's 42.76, Oxon Hill's 42.95, North Point of Waldorf's 43.21, Wise of Upper Marlboro's 43.21, Eleanor Roosevelt's 43.31, Annapolis' 43.32, Montgomery Blair's 43.38, DeMatha's 43.67, Charles H. Flowers' 43.97 and Northwestern's 43.99.

Good Counsel of Olney ran a solid 43.05 as the fourth-fastest American small-school 1,600 relay entry.

Jamaica's Manchester High won the boys small-school 3,200 relay race in 7:51.08 with River Hill eighth (8:08.35) and Gilman 16th (8:21.60.)

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