STORRS, Conn. -
The UConn men’s track and field team travels to historic Franklin Field in Philadelphia this weekend as it takes part in the annual Penn Relays Carnival.
The Thursday through Sunday event annually attracts 30,000 to 40,000 per session with the three-day attendance often approaching 150,000.
“For a track team to compete before that many people is amazing,” said UConn head coach Greg Roy. “The call it a carnival and that is exactly what it is. There are all kinds of age groups and stages. It’s great for our sport.”
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The Huskies will look to contend in all the relays, especially the four by one-mile, which features freshman Eric Van Der Els (Nowalk, Conn.), sophomore Chris Heydrick (Elliott City, Md.), senior Alvaro Chavez (West Windsor, N.J.) and one more spot that is still up in the air.
“We finished sixth in that event last year and we are not as experienced as we were last year,” said Roy. “However, I think we could still challenge for the top five.”
UConn’s 4x100-meter relay team features Philadelphia native and senior John Landis, senior Chinedu Amonu (Ewing, N.J.), freshman Stedman Cook (Fort Washington, Md.) and junior Trenten Beram (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.). That relay won the title earlier this spring at the Hurricane Alumni Invitational, just missing a school record.
The 4x400-meter relay team was the winner of the IC4A title at last year’s Penn Relays and has three performers back in Beram, Amonu and junior Stephon Henry (New Britain, Conn.). Sophomore Kyle Trocki (Shrewsbury, Mass.) is the newcomer to the group this year.
The Huskies will have entries in most of the field events as well, including sophomore Malik Snead (Trenton, N.J.) in the triple jump. Snead is currently ranked seventh in the country in that event.
Senior Kevin Foster (East Lyme, Conn.) will be a contender in the javelin as he is ranked 12th in the country as should junior Seth Zuidema (Midland Park, N.J.), who is ranked 23rd in the East.
“You are always looking for a Wheel at the Penn Relays,” said Roy of the award given to the Championship of America winner in each event and the overall team winner. “It’s also a great tune-up for our upcoming American Athletic Conference championship meet (on May 12-14 in Houston).”