By ELLIOTT DENMAN
DMR – get used to that acronym, world track and field fans.
That’s DMR, for the Distance Medley Relay, that’s been in the DNA of the University of Pennsylvania Relay Carnival for over a century.
The men’s collegiate Championship of America DMR has been run at Penn since 1915, the women’s DMR since 1980. Now and always, Franklin Field fans love this great amalgam.
While there won’t be a USA Vs. The World DMR in this year’s edition of the Penn Relays, the twin men’s and women’s DMRs have forever, it seems, been Penn features.
And one week hence, the DMR goes truly global with its addition to the program of the second edition of the IAAF World Relay Championships at Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas.
This first day – primarily Ladies Day – of the 121st Penn Relay Carnival once again saw the DMR occupy the Franklin Field spotlight.
The result was familiar – a fourth consecutive Villanova win, the Wildcats’ 13th all told – but the ingredients were exciting.
This Championship of America DMR Penn collegiate feature did not disappoint.
Villanova fought off the best North America could offer, running with Angel Piccirillo (3:23.25 leadoff 1200 meters, opening a big gap) Michaela Wilkins (56.30 400), Siofra Cleirigh Buttner (2:09.91 800) and Stephanie Schappert (4:39.61 1600 anchor) for an 11:09.06 win over Stanford (11:11.07), Georgetown (11:16.83), North Carolina (11:17.29), Columbia (11:23.12) and six others.
“I wanted to do whatever I could do to help out,” said Piccirillo.
“We all have the same goal,” declared Wilkins. “I knew about the big legacy and the boots that need(ed) to be filled,” added Buttner,another brilliant Wildcat with roots stretching to Ireland.
“You’re going to kill me before I give up this win,” vowed Schappert, whose Dad, Ken Schappert, had been a brilliant Villanova distanceman in his own right.
“I have so much faith in these girls, they’re some of my best friends. Seeing Angel open up that big lead, and seeing Michaela and Siofra fight to hold it up”
……well they’d have had to cart Schappert off before she’d relinquish that advantage.
“It was definitely an awesome four-person victory,” summed up coach Gina Procaccio.
“I’m excited for them and and really proud of them. This is our turf and they ran like true Villanovans.”
The Villanova men – with a magnificent Penn DMR legacy of their own – will attempt to emulate the women’s win in Penn’s Friday feature. But standing directly in the Wildcats’ way is mighty Oregon with the sensational Edward Cheserek likely to run the anchor 1600 leg for the Ducks.
Penn State, Georgetown, Duke, Stanford, Oklahoma, Columbia, Texas A&M and
host Penn lurk with power-packed DMR squads, too.
So be ready for further DMR fireworks.
Even the girls high school DMR Thursday produced some brilliant racing.
Rachel McArthur’s 4:50.16 anchor 1600 lifted Patriot High of Nokesville, Va. to the girls C of A DMR crown in 11:51.85. Christina Rancon ran a sterling 4:56.10 anchor for New Jersey’s West Windsor-Plainsboro South, but it sufficed just for second. WWP-South clocked an 11:54.89 to hold off Blacksburg, Va. (11:57.69) and Delaware’s Padua Academy (12:03.00) for the silvers.
So that got some true track cognoscenti conjuring up further visions of a great meet just “waiting to happen.”
That, of course, would be the World Junior Championship Relays. With the
4×100, 4×200, 4×400, 4×800…and now, most certainly, the DMR.
Why not? Why not sooner better than later?