Georgetown's men's 4x800 relay team, Howard long jumper Brenda Bailey and George Mason's sprint medley team are among Washington-area representatives given excellent chances to win their events as the 92nd annual Penn Relays get fully under way today at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.
The prestigious relay carnival has an entry list of more than 12,000. Action will start today with the college women's 400-meter hurdles at 12:30 p.m.
Among the top men's teams contending for college honors are Arkansas, SMU, Tennessee, Villanova, Penn State, Texas and Auburn. Top women's team competing include LSU, Morgan State, Virginia, Villanova, Tennessee, Florida, Texas and Michigan.
Georgetown's 4x800 relay team of Dennis Dee, Phil Franshaw, Mike Huber and Miles Irish finished second to Arkansas in the NCAA indoor championships. The Hoyas completed the race in 7:20.76, Arkansas in 7:20.72, with both times bettering the American indoor record.
The Hoyas will not be at full strength in Philadelphia because Irish is injured and has been replaced by freshman Bob Leonardo.
Bailey won her event last year with a jump of 20-11. Her teammate, Teresa Allen, was fifth last year at 19-8.
Howard freshman John Branch will run the 400-meter hurdles and on the 4x800 relay team. Curtis Chappell, a wide receiver who skipped spring football practice to concentrate on track, will run on three Howard relay teams, as will Neil Madison and Donald Battle.
George Mason won the Penn Relays sprint medley in 1984. The foursome of Harold Morton, Brian West, Brian Banks and Ibrahim Okash already has run 3:14.86 this year.
In high school competition, the 4x800 relay teams of Spingarn, Lake Braddock and Suitland; H.D. Woodson's 4x400 team, Gonzaga's 4x100 team and, among the girls, Central's 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 teams, and Lake Braddock's 4x400 and 4x800 teams have had excellent times this season and are expected to do well.
In competition yesterday, Robert Ekpete of Mount St. Mary's won the decathlon, accumulating 7,227 points in the two-day event. He was first in the 110 hurdles (14.44), discus (138-4) and pole vault (13-6).