by William J. Miller
special to ArmoryTrack.com
photo by Mary DiBiase Blaich/wingedfootfotos.com
Tennessee won the women’s distance medley in the first important event at the 115th edition of the Penn Relays Thursday at Philadelphia’s Franklin Field with three of its four members well familiar with the Armory Track. Phoebe Wright, Chanelle Price, and Sarah Bowman were members of the Volunteers distance medley that set a world indoor record last February of 10 minutes 56.40 seconds for the event.
But a month later at the NCAA championship the same foursome lowered that record considerably with a 10:50.98 clocking . Thursday at Franklin Field Wright , opened with the 1200 meter leg (3:21.8), Kimarra McDonald ran the 400 (54.7 ), Price posted a sparkling 800 stint (2:04.5) and Sarah Bowman, given a large lead on the anchor 1600, protected it nicely with a 4:40.8 clocking as Tennessee posted a winning time of 11:02.11, with Georgetown a close second at 11:02.85. It was Tennessee’s third victory in the women’s distance medley at the Penn Relays with Bowman a member of two of the winners.
McDonald and Bowman are seniors, Wright a junior and Price a freshman. Price, a Pennsylvania high school star who ran once at the Armory and set the Armory record for 800 meters, had only run once before at the Penn Relays so she was beaming after the win Thursday.
“I was really nervous,” she said at the press conference after the victory. “I felt the pressure but I was ecstatic after the race because I contributed to the win.” J.J. Clark, the Tennessee coach, brother of two famous track athletes, Joetta and Hazel, was very pleased with Price’s effort.
“Her half mile leg was crucial for us to have and to hand Sarah a good lead which made her chore that much easier. As a freshman she delivered which is not always the case with first-year runners. She’ll sleep well tonight.”
Bowman, who competed at the Armory as a high schooler from Virginia and won the 1000 meters at a meet there, was happy to have “the monkey off my back” since Tennessee finished second in the distance medley last year at the Penn Relays.
“I really wanted to win this one in my senior year. Last year’s loss was the driving force for me this year to win my second Penn Relays medley in my four-year career at Tennessee. It was most satisfying.”
Bowman, McDonald and Wright room together off campus while Price lives in a dormitory. “That’s ok with me ” the freshman noted. “After all, next year I’ll be an upper classman and I look forward to maybe moving upward and onward. That’s a natural cycle.”