PHILADELPHIA, PA. 4/28/2017 – It was a close race throughout with as many as eight teams in position to win the Men’s Distance Medley Relay at the 2017 Penn Relays. In the end Oregon had the open track in front of them and brought home the Men’s DMR Championship covering the distance in 9:32.61. The University of Pennsylvania finished fourth in 9:33.35 and Villanova recorded a time of 9:34.59 for fifth place.
Going into the final lap Middle Tennessee State had the lead with Oregon right behind. With a scrum of 8 runners over the bell lap vying for the lead it was Sam Prackel running a time of 3:59.57 who got to the finish line first. Penn made a huge charge as anchor Chris Hatler, who ran the fastest split of 3:58.96, tried to get in position to win. Villanova anchor freshman Logan Wetzel tried to navigate through the crowd, but fell short posting a time of 4:01.86.
“It is a tactical race and I wanted to be in position,” said Wetzel. “I knew the race was slow. I just tried to cover other people and be in a position to finish well, but I just didn’t quite have it over the last hundred meters.”
Indiana took second place getting to the finish line in 9:33.10. MTSU was third with a time of 9:33.25, followed by Penn and Villanova. Columbia took sixth place posting a time of 9:34.92, Buffalo was next at 9:35.72, and Georgetown was in eight place covering the distance in 9:35.84.
The winning Oregon team was made up of Blake Haney running the 1200 in 2:58.25. the 400 meter runner was Marcus Chambers turning a time of 45.58. Mick Stanovsek covered the 800 in 1:49.22. Prackel brought it home.
Nick Tuck (2:58.41), Jeff Wiseman (47.12), Elias Graca (1:48.49) and Hatler ran for Penn.
Villanova team consisted of Ben Malone (2:58.16), Harry Purcell (46.77), Ville Lampinen (1:47.81) and Wetzel.
Oregon won the event in 2015. The last Villanova victory in the Men’s DMR was in 2011.
The Wildcats bettered their time from last year by nearly five seconds. For first year runners like Wetzel, there will be more chances to run and be inspired by the Villanova rooting section in the southwest corner of Franklin Field.
“It was awesome, you couldn’t ask for better fans and family to come out,” Wetzel said. “It really does help you in that race to dig deep. It does make a difference.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian