Cover photo by Kirby Lee (Image of Sport). Above Photo by Bill Shearn
It has been quite the weekend for the Alumni of the Empire State. Several athletes saw victories that sent them straight to the top of the podium, winning themselves a Penn Relays wheel. But none may be as sweet as the story of Tommy Awad. The Chaminade grad runs for the home team, University of Pennsylvania. Awad has seen many an accomplishment in his tenure, which includes a sub-4 minute mile, the pinnacle of middle distance running. But all that meant nothing on the line Saturday, at UPenn's home meet extravaganza, the Penn Relays Carnival.
The 4xMile can be crazy event (for reference, one would only have to look one year ago to see the definition crazy put well to use.) Penn managed to get the stick around well to the anchor leg, where Tommy Awad took the stick. Iona, content not to let the race turn into a repeat of 2015, took the race out in 60secs through 400m. Awad in second continued to draft off the leader, as the pace maintained. Through 1200m, the race began to separate, as Iona pulled away, with Georgetown and Indiana responding. Awad stayed up in fourth, until the 200m mark where Georgetown and Indiana began their final push. And Awad let it happen.
Then it happened. With 150m to go, Awad caught a second wind. His turnover increased, his pace accelerated to the next degree, and the chase was on. With cheers from the home crowd, Awad powered down the final turn, arms flailing in exhaustion, surpassing Iona and Georgetown, and onto the leader on the outside. With a slight look back, Awad pushed through line, taking home the Championship of America on their home turf. It was UPenn's first relay win since 1974, where they took the Shuttle Hurdle Relay. It was their first win on the oval since 1959, and their first 4xMile win since 1950. Not a bad way to go out his senior year for the New York Alum.