PHILADELPHIA — It was a tale of to anchor legs at the Penn Relays on Friday, with Caroline King propelling Boston College to heights it had never reached and Matthew Gibney adding to Villanova’s legacy.
King finished strong to lift Boston College to victory in the women’s 6,000-meter relay in 17 minutes, 25.19 seconds, the first championship at the Penn Relays for the Eagles’ women.
Gibney turned in a similar performance to give Villanova a championship in the men’s distance medley relay in 9:37.93, extending the Wildcats’ record to 24 wins in the event at the meet. The junior from Albury, Australia, also anchored Villanova to a distance medley title at the Penn Relays two years ago.
King, a senior who won the ACC 800 title last week, outkicked Georgetown’s Emily Infeld at the end to grab the victory. Infeld, who had anchored Georgetown’s distance medley team to an upset win Thursday, led by about 20 meters with one lap to go. But King and 2010 NCAA cross country champion Sheila Reid of Villanova soon began to close on her, with Reid momentarily ahead of King before King powered down the homestretch.
“I could feel Sheila on my back and that just pushed me to go on,” King said. “Sheila then went ahead with 600 to go, and that really helped me because I would just focus on her back—that was just it. I just kind of went with 100 to go.”
Boston College senior Caitlin Bailey led off with a 4:25.2 split in the first 1,500, but the Eagles were 6 seconds behind first-place Richmond at that point. Second leg Jillian King—Caroline’s younger sister—closed the gap by clocking a 4:18.80. Senior Siobhan Breagy then kept Boston College near the front with a 4:29.00 third leg, setting the stage for Caroline King, who closed with a 4:12.20 in the final 1,500.
“Everybody ran absolutely perfectly,” said Boston College coach Randy Thomas.
Gibney ran down Brigham Young’s Miles Batty—the NCAA indoor mile champion — and Arkansas’ Dorian Ulrey in the final 200 meters to give Villanova the men’s distance medley title.
Up to five teams—Virginia Tech, Villanova, Arkansas, Brigham Young, Indiana and Albany—were jockeying for the lead on the anchor leg.
Batty, who had also anchored Brigham Young to the NCAA indoor distance medley title, made his move and assumed the lead with about 250 meters to go, but it didn’t last. Gibney and Ulrey caught him soon after and engaged in their own footrace, with Gibney managing to hold on for the win in 9:37.93.
“When we saw what teams were in the race, I was pretty confident that it would go out as a slow race and really play to my advantage,” Gibney said. “So my strategy was to wait until the last 100 and give it all I had. I was pretty confident; you can sort of tell how fast people are going and how much they’ve got.”
Brian Tetreault led off with a 2:57.86 in the 1,200, Carlton Bowers posted a 46.89 in the 400, Samuel Ellison clocked 1:51.03 in the 800 and Gibney closed with a 4:02.16 in the 1,600.
LSU won the women’s sprint medley relay in 3:48.45. It was the Tigers’ fifth consecutive win at the Penn Relays in the event, and it extended their record for Penn Relays victories in the sprint medley to seven.
Texas A&M won both the women’s 400 and the shuttle hurdles relay. It was the Aggies’ third consecutive Penn Relays title in the 400 and second-straight win in the shuttle hurdles. Gabby Mayo, a senior, ran the leadoff legs on both.
LSU’s Walter Henning claimed his third consecutive Penn Relays championship in the men’s hammer with a throw of 208 feet, 3 inches. Rutgers’ James Plummer took the men’s discus for the second straight year with a toss of 191-1. Texas’ Hayden Baillio won the men’s shot put with a throw of 64-. Buffalo’s Rebecca O’Brien won the women’s discus with a throw of 173-1.
Shanay Briscoe of Texas won the women’s high jump by clearing 5 feet, 10 1/2 inches, while fellow Longhorn Marquise Goodwin took the men’s long jump with a leap of 26-3 1/2 . Melissa Ogbourne of LSU won the women’s triple jump with a distance of 42-10 3/4 .
Leford Green of Johnson C. Smith was the men’s 400 hurdles champion with a time of 50.00. Texas Tech took the men’s shuttle hurdles title in 54.67. And Penn State won the men’s sprint medley relay in 3:17.30.