Welcome to the finest Philadelphia sports blog ran from within Temple University. This blog's focus is local sports, including Temple sports as well as news and opinions regarding the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers, and Sixers.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Freeland's Finish Highlights Penn Relays

In one of the last races of his collegiate career as a sprinter for the track team, senior sprinter Emmanual Freeland seized the moment and emerged victorious.

Freeland is the last leg of the Owls’ track and field 4×100 meter relay, which finished first in the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America Championship race on Saturday at the Penn Relays.

“The feeling was amazing. I had tears of joy after the race,” Freeland said. “I was overwhelmed. As a senior, there’s no other way I would rather end my last collegiate Penn Relays than as a champion.”

It was the only first-place finish for the Owls in the event’s three days, and it was completed in dramatic fashion. Freeland received the baton with the Owls in fourth place and brought his team back to a photo-finish victory. All other five anchors finished within a half a second of Freeland and the Owls’ winning time of 41.29 seconds. Freeland joined freshman Alex McGee, sophomore Dylan Pensyl and senior Miles Dryden in the champion relay.

“I got the baton from [McGee], and I saw that we were in fourth place,” Freeland said. “The atmosphere was amazing, the crowd was going crazy, my family was there, and I just left it all out on the track.”

“I told my team if they just kept me in the race, I would bring home the gold,” Freeland added. “They held their word, so I had to hold mine. I came from fourth place and got my team the victory.”

It was the first ICA4 men’s 4×100 relay championship in Temple history, and it wasn’t even supposed to happen. The 4×100 only qualified as an alternate for the championship race in the qualifying race on Friday. But Brown University did not show up Saturday, setting up Freeland and company’s heroics.

“We told ourselves to live for the moment and just trust each other,” Freeland said. “We are the first Temple 4×100 relay to win the ICA4 Championship. We made history. Nobody can take that from us.”

Freeland, Dryden, McGee and Pensyl also competed in the 4×200 relay qualifier on Friday, in which they placed 18th and earned a spot in the ICA4 Championship on Saturday. The relay gave another outstanding effort in that race, finishing just behind the University of Maryland/Eastern Shore for the team’s second Top 3 performance of the day.

“Our day one was not good at all,” Freeland said. “We had a long talk when we got back to school. We told ourselves that we were going to leave it all on the track day two, and that’s exactly what we did.”

The men’s track and field team had six individuals and four relay teams take the trip to Franklin Field to compete in the Penn Relays. On Friday, the individual standout was senior and Temple hammer throw record-holder Bob Keogh, who placed third in the same event.

Dryden and Pensyl, gold medal winners in the 4×100 on Saturday, also performed well individually in the long jump on Friday. Dryden placed fourth with a personal best mark of 23-11.00 and Pensyl placed 18th with a distance of 21-11.50.

Also performing as an individual on Friday was junior high jumper Tim Malloy, who placed 18th in the high jump. In relays, the 4×400 team of McGee, junior Alan Harding, freshman Chris Bradley and senior Derrhyl Duncan placed 50th, and the distance medley of freshman Will Kellar and seniors Aaron Taylor and Lou Parisi and junior Travis Mahoney placed eighth. On Saturday, freshman Gabe Pickett placed seventh in the triple jump and senior Chris Durante placed 15th in the javelin.

“It was a real solid performance for us,” distance coach Matt Jelley said about the team overall. “Whenever you get in an event like that when you’re out on the track, and you’re hearing all the people in the stands, it’s a pretty cool atmosphere. I thought the guys stepped up and were probably helped by the fact that they were in that atmosphere.”

The women’s track and field team took two individuals and four relay teams to Franklin Field. The 4×400 relay of freshman Ambrosia Iwugo, junior Tanisha Wells and seniors Shadaya Bennett and Paris Williams placed 27th in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship qualifying race. The lineup was altered for the championship race on Saturday, in which Iwugo, sophomore Victoria Gocht and seniors Tashima Stephens and Assata Cowart placed fourth, which was the women’s highlight of the weekend.

Cowart also performed as an individual on Thursday, in which she placed 32nd in the 400 hurdles. Also competing as an individual for the Owls on Thursday was junior Alanna Owens, who placed 20th in the shot put. Freshman Gennie Depass, sophomores Crystal Hercules and Dia Dorsey, and junior Andrea Butler placed 49th in the 4×100 to round out the Owls’ competition on Thursday.

On Friday, Depass, Hercules, Dorsey and sophomore Tessa West placed 35th in the 4×200 relay. On Saturday, Gocht and Bennett joined sophomore Tonney Smith and Stephens to place fifth in the 4×800.

Overall, the Owls performed very well. But the spotlight was stolen by the 4×100 relay and a standout senior who was determined to end his career at Temple on a high note.

“When we got on that podium and [coach Eric Mobley] ran out there, and we were taking pictures, giving autographs and getting congratulated from everyone, I could just think of those workouts where [Mobley] tried to kill us, running in the rain, running in the snow and lifting weights at 6 a.m.,” Freeland said. “This is where it all pays off. We will never forget this moment. And until 2012 Penn Relays, Temple 4×100 are the ICA4 champions.”

Spotlight: Phillies Fans

The Philadelphia Phillies lost last night, 2-1 to the New York Mets in extra innings. What on the surface appears as just another divisional matchup in May lends greater meaning if you listened closely to the sounds of Citizens Bank Park that began quietly in the top of the ninth inning:

“U-S-A! U-S-A!”

The Phillies’ fans were reacting to the new that spread quickly throughout the ballpark that Osama Bin Laden, the world’s most wanted terrorist and the man most responsible for the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, had been killed.

In a breaking news address to the Nation last night, President Barack Obama informed the country that a U.S. armed force infiltrated a mansion in Pakistan and, after a brief firefight, killed Bin Laden and captured his body which was returned to the United States.

"[Bin Laden’s] demise should be welcomed by all those who believe in peace and human dignity," Obama said.

The news of Bin Laden’s death traveled by word of mouth throughout the ballpark, and by the end of the ninth inning, it was clearly audible to the national audience watching the game from home on ESPN.

“I don’t like to give Philadelphia fans too much credit, but they got this one right,” Mets third baseman David Wright said after the game.

The atmosphere on the field was undoubtedly affected by the fans’ cheers. It is very possible that most of the players didn’t know what had happened until the Phillies’ fans gave them a hint. The fact that New York and Philadelphia were on the field, two cities that were obviously greatly affected by 9/11 contributes an even greater meaning to the game.

"I asked what was going on with all the yelling 'U-S-A, U-S-A,'" Mets reliever Pedro Beato said. "I just asked [pitching coach John Debus], and he said supposedly they caught bin Laden."

"It's probably a night I'll never forget," Mets starter Chris Young. "There are some things bigger than the game and our jobs. I was inside. You could hear the crowd chanting, 'U-S-A.' And I got chills hearing that. It was a pretty neat atmosphere and place to be to get that kind of news.”

Philadelphia is universally recognized as the most hated sports city in the country. Specifically, Philadelphia fans are often criticized for booing too often and expressing criticism without a heart.  With their touching moment of patriotism last night, Philadelphia sports fans have taken a step in the right direction of winning over the hearts of the rest of America