PHILADELPHIA - Quintuple Olympic medalist Marion Jones, the University of North Carolina alumna who took three golds and two bronzes at Sydney, will put her talents on display in the 4 x 400 relay tomorrow at the 107th annual Penn Relays, with more than 50,000 track and field fans expected to pack the Franklin Field seats.
It was four North Carolina undergraduates, however, who stole the spotlight at yesterday's opening session of the Penn classic, as Beth George, Edi Nituen, Alice Schmidt and Shalane Flanagan teamed to win the women's collegiate Championship of America distance medley relay in 11:03.52.
Flanagan's 4:34.3 anchor 1,600 meters clinched an easy victory over Stanford (11:15.07) and Georgetown (11:18.39) as UNC won its first Penn women's relay crown.
Largo High School ran a 47.28-second qualifying race to breeze into the 4 x 100 high school relay final.
Maryland's 47.32 qualified the Terps for today's ECAC women's 4 x 100 relay final. Maryland, running a 3:42.06, and Morgan State, 3:47.76, advanced into the ECAC 4 x 400 final.
In other collegiate 4x100 sections, Maryland Eastern Shore ran 48.36, Western Maryland 49.24, Coppin State 49.34, Navy 49.39 and Towson 50.56.
Western Maryland won the Middle Atlantic Conference 4 x 400 relay final in 3:58.22. Elsewhere in the collegiate 4 x 400, UMBC ran 3:58.16 and Towson 4:04.68.
Eleanor Roosevelt High of Greenbelt won its section of the girls scholastic 4x400 in a quick 3:43.82 as Antoinette Gorham, Romona Modeste, Angel Chinn and Renee Clarke easily outdistanced runner-up Abraham Lincoln High of Brooklyn (3:52.14) with Largo High (3:53.88) fourth.
Walter Johnson High of Bethesda won its 4 x 400 section in 4:03.73 with Leigh Rivlin, Regina Rice, Julia Simons and Sara Calderone.
Kate Kohout, Sarah Coseo, Rachel Ippolito and Jessica Hilton gave Governor Thomas Johnson High of Frederick a 3:59.83 section victory, with McDonogh of Owings Mills second (4:00.86) and Long Reach fourth (4:04.46.) Central of Seat Pleasant provided another Maryland sectional winner with Krista Brown, Kim Dedmon, Tiffany McPhatter and Tiffany Duncan clocking 4:04.09.
Other Maryland teams breaking 4:10 included Elizabeth Seton of Bladensburg (3:53.80), Laurel (3:56.61), Oxon Hill (4:00.97), Western of Baltimore (4:02.44), Mervo(4:03.31), Bladensburg (4:04.06) and Arundel Senior (4:09.35.) Elizabeth Seton High of Bladensburg was the only Maryland team to advance in the girls 4x100 relay. Its 48.55 earned a spot in today's small-school final.
Melanie Walker of St. Jago, Jamaica, won the girls 400-meter hurdles title in 57.85, and April Butler of Gwynn Park ran sixth in 1:02.16 as first Maryland finisher.
Middletown High's 9:41.37 was good for sixth place in its section of the girls small-school 4 x 800 relay final.
Navy (12:05.83) ran ninth in its distance medley section. Maryland's Thema Napier (59.83) ran eighth in the 400-meter hurdles final, and teammate Lynn Harris was 10th in the long jump final (17-10 3/4 ).