The historic Penn Relays Carnival is more than just an ordinary big-time meet.
It's an experience that should be on most high school coaches and athletes' to-do list. Words can seldom describe the electrifying atmosphere that is generated inside the famed Franklin Field for this three-day meet.
Lee Moses, along with several other Rhode Islanders, had the opportunity to participate in the 120th annual meet this weekend. The Bishop Hendricken junior was on the runway of the long jump on Saturday, right around the highlight of the meet, the USA vs. World relays.
At its peak, more than 40,000 fans pack the stadium for this special attraction and the other races on the track oval.
“It's unbelievable," Moses said. “Once you are on the long jump runway and look up and see like thousands of people here, your heart just sticks to your stomach. It's just like unbelievable."
With the often-deafening noise level and the thousands of fans situated behind the pit, Moses admitted he was a little nervous before competing in his specialty. But the Hawk standout, a multiple all-stater, was able to funnel that nervous energy into a solid performance, leaping a distance of 22 feet, 1 inch.
“I was very nervous and everything like that, but it was a good day," he said. “I didn't make it to the finals but it was a good experience."
Dayshawn Taylor of Longwood, N.Y., won the individual title with a distance of 23-6.25. Moses was 15th in a field that had eight jumpers over 23 feet.
“The first jump I did it was like 21-5," he said. “I talked to my coach and he went over the mistakes that I made. The next jump I did 21-9 and on the third jump I ended up jumping 22-1."
Hendricken also competed in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays. In their heat of the 4x400, the Hawks were sixth overall with a time of 3:34.97. The foursome consisted of Ian MacLeod (53.17), Power Kanga (53.38), Joe Swift (54.71) and Kwily Paye (53.73). Hendricken was 49th overall among more than 250 schools in the 4x100. The team of Nick Stravato, John Cute, Ronnie Gaynor and Moses combined for a 43.79 clocking.
La Salle also had one of its relays compete on Saturday. The Rams' 4x400 squad was 11th in their heat with a time of 3:40.73. Hakeen Kushimo (56.25), Benveni Loua (56.08), Greg Medeiros (54.92) and Jess Woodbury (53.49) were on the quartet.
On Friday night, the Hawks' Colin Tierney competed in a heavily-talented 3,000-meter race, crossing the line in a near personal best of 8:37.46.Tierney went through his first mile around 4:35.
Drew Hunter of Loudoun Valley, Va., cruised to a sophomore national record of 8:16.31 to win the race. The field featured 13 runners that were timed in 8:30 or faster!
Twenty minutes prior to the 3K, La Salle Academy was on the track in the distance medley relay, a Championship of America event that attracts some of the best schools in the country. Westchester Henderson of Pennsylvania established a nation No. 1 with its winning time of 10:03.77.
The Rams were ninth overall with a combined time of 10:26.96. Comprising the quartet with their times was Dan Paiva (3:11.50, 1,200m), James Placco (53.38, 400m), Chris Notorianni (2:01.29, 800m) and Jack Salisbury 4:20.80, mile).