For many, winning a Penn Relays Championship of America Title is a once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment. But for a pair from New York, it was all about getting a Gold Watch for the other arm.
Sabrina Southerland and Heather Martin, now both running for Georgetown, have more in common than their native state. Both athletes took home the Distance Medley Relay title at the Penn Relays once before; in separate years back in high school.
Heather Martin took home the title in 2011, running for Section 3 powerhouse Fayetteville-Manlius. Like in college, she ran the 400m leg, throwing down a huge 54-second leg, unheard of for the distance heavy relay. The move broke open the race, putting the Hornets back in the lead. Their winning time of 11:34.46 was a new Penn Relays Record at the time. That same relay went on to set the New York State Record later that season, running 11:25.13 at New Balance Nationals.
Note: This would technically be Martin's third watch, as they took second to a Jamaican team in the 4x800m the following year.
Sabrina Southerland took to the track at Franklin Field in 2013. Southerland was already an accomplished 800m runner, running 2:03 indoors. But she showed her range, bumping up to the 1600m leg, and pulling away from the field to create a 10-second winning margin, winning in 11:45.69. The mark stands as the PSAL record, a section more notably known for their sprinting. The Distance Medley Relay is almost the opposite, giving more credence to the talent of the individuals.
Note: This would technically be Martin's third watch, as they took second to a Jamaican team in the 4x400m
Flash forward to 2016. Now teammates, Southerland and Martin already had the Indoor NCAA DMR title under their belt. But the Penn Relays wheel, which had gone to Villanova for four years straight, was now in their crosshairs. Martin was once again on the 400m leg, while Southerland was a natural fit for the 800m. Along with leadoff 1200m leg Andrea Keklak, and anchor Katrina Coogan, the Hoyas took down the field with a five second margin, winning the College Women's Championship of America Distance Medley Relay. Congrats ladies!