The Penn Relay Carnival adds to the Wall of Fame, which began in 1994 at the time of the 100th running. The classic 2012, the 19th group of inductees, brings the number of individuals selected to 91, with 81 relay teams having been chosen.
Four individuals and four relay teams were selected by a panel of Penn Relays experts. The sole restriction in the nomination process is that only retired athletes (or those now competing as masters) may be nominated. The inducted are honored solely for their accomplishments at the Penn Relays; achievements in any other meets are not considered. Any relay team may be nominated, and nominations of relay teams and individuals will be accepted by the Penn Relays office at any time from any interested party.
Each of this year’s four individual inductees was part of a notable triple. Jack Keller won three consecutive 120-yard hurdle titles and set a carnival record, which lasted 22 years. Robert Carty ran on each of Manhattan’s three sprint relay triumphs in 1952, only the second time that feat had been accomplished. Aubrey McKithen ran a tremendous triple in 1978, anchoring Trenton Central’s distance medley relay to a second place finish, the 4x800 to a win, and running a leg on the winning 4x400 as the school set a pair of meet records. Dawn Ellerbe won three successive Olympic Development hammer titles, twice while setting American records.
This year’s relay team honors include a 1912 Mercersburg Academy mile relay team, which is being honored on the 100th anniversary of setting a carnival record in the prep school race. The team of Al Robinson, E.P. Hammit, Theodore Dale and Ted Meredith ran 3:271/5 breaking the old record by three seconds. Running on one of the wettest days in Relays history, their mark was broken the next year, but wasn’t bettered again until 1929.
The 1986 sprint medley saw two teams run to the wire, each running a record 3:13.65, which lasted eight years. Seton Hall’s Akanni Gbadamosi barely won, anchoring Andrew Valmon, David Jones and Baron Chambliss. Texas barely missed winning with a team of John Patterson, Jason Leach, Earle Laing and Pablo Squella.
In 1998, Vere Tech won the high school schools 4x100 with a meet record, which lasted six years. The team of Melocia Clarke, Natalee Sterling, Veronica Campbell and Aleen Bailey ran 44.78, the first sub-45 run by a high school team at the Relays.