PHILADELPHIA -- Mount St. Mary's didn't win anything in yesterday's climax of the 102nd Penn Relays at Franklin Field, but the athletes from the little school in Emmitsburg got a chance to see how the other half lives.
And they think it can only help them down the road.
"I had butterflies at first," said freshman leadoff man Jamal Simms, after Mike Merritt's 4 x 200 relay team settled for sixth place in the prestigious Championship of America Relay, with a school record 1: 25.99, well behind winner Norfolk State. "The Mount's very small. We're probably one of the tiniest schools here."
And without the depth of the college track and field powerhouses, Mount St. Mary's paid dearly. The Mount was doing fine until No. 2 leg Newel Scoon, who has been bothered by a sore hamstring all season, tightened up coming around the curve.
"You could see it," said anchor man Clyde Edwards, who said he was out of contention by the time he received the baton. "By the time Newel got to the curve his whole stride had tightened up.
"We're a small school. We don't have anyone of his caliber to replace him."
The same problem afflicted the Mount's 4 x 800 women's relay team, which finished a distant ninth in 8: 54.51.
"We just didn't run well," said Merritt, after the team of Aisha Stevens, Heather Moul, Robin Kloster and Amy DeBor came up empty. "The women were tired. They've run a lot of races the last three days and my biggest worry was it would catch up to them -- and it did."
Mervo's Fred Hendricks, meanwhile, said this was one weekend he'd rather forget, other than getting a third place from Erik Newby in the long jump at 22 feet, 5 1/4 inches. But after making it to the Championship of America 4 x 100 relay last year, things never panned out for Mervo this year.
"We had a bad day," said Hendricks, and that was summed up when leadoff man Garfield Thompson was jostled and dropped the baton in the 4 x 800 relay. "Put a fork in us. We're done."
Morgan State didn't fair badly. The Bears' team of Geneva Pugh, Philippa Arnett, Towana Bovell and Ameerah Bello won the ECAC section of the 4 x 200 relay in 1: 35.76. Arnett later placed fifth in the 100, running 11.63.
Among other Baltimore-area schools, Maryland, Navy and Coppin State placed 3-4-5 in the IC4A section of the 4 x 200 relay, running 1: 28.75, 1: 28.90 and 1: 28.97, respectively. The Mids also took sixth in their heat of the 4 x 800 relay in 7: 43.70.
Among high school teams, Poly managed 10th place in the consolation heat of the 4 x 400 relay.
Pub Date: 4/28/96