The much-storied Penn Relays three-day track and field carnival returned this year after a two-year interruption due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Indeed, Penn Relays is a big deal with twenty-six high schools and five Jamaican tertiary schools making the annual trek to University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field to carry on the longest-running high school, and collegiate track and field meet in the United States.
First held on April, 21 1895, the Penn Relays is not only the oldest, but also the largest track and field meet in the United States. Held annually at Franklin Field in Philadelphia during the last full week in April ever since, this elite athletic competition features over 100 different events and typically draws upwards of 15,000 participants from high schools, colleges, and track clubs from all over the USA, as well as abroad. As such, more athletes compete at the Penn Relays than do at any other track and field event across the globe. And it is safe to say that Saturday at the Relays is the climax, as attendance has been known to top 50,000 on that day—especially when Jamaica’s Usain Bolt participated in 2010. Not surprisingly, Jamaica has had a dominant presence at Penn Relays for many, many years prior. What’s more, it is the opinion of many Penn Relays attendees that the Jamaican high school teams are Saturday’s main attraction.
This year’s 126th running of the Relays was no different, as Jamaica’s top high school teams, such as Kingston College, Calabar, St. Jago, Jamaica College, Wolmers, Edwin Allen, and Hydel meant business from the standpoint of putting their best foot forward and making their mark on the big stage was concerned. Against this backdrop, below is a highlight reel aimed at capturing the sizzling images and unforgettable athletic performances from this year’s epic staging of Penn Relays—which also featured Sydney McLaughlin (USA’s Olympic Champion and top contender in upcoming World Championships to be held in Eugene, Oregon) and former Olympian, Sanya Richards-Ross. What’s more, a sizeable cadre of Jamaica’s most electrifying junior sprinters put on blistering performances to the amazement of the massive crowd in the Franklin Field stands. Among them just to name a few: J’Voughnn Blake (Jamaica College), Briann Lyston (Hydel), Roshawn Clarke (Camperdown College), Edwin Allen Girls, Tia Clayton, Tina Clayton (‘Clayton Twins’), Serena Cole, and Rushana Dwyer. And as the Caribbean island nation of Jamaica prepares to celebrate its 60th Independence Anniversary on August 6th, Prime Minister Andrew Holness attended Penn Relays and joined in on the festive stadium atmosphere.
Philadelphia, Pennsylania – ‘City of Brotherly Love’:
‘Ready, Set, Go!’:
Current and Former Team USA Olympians:
Jamaican Teams and Athletes in Action:
Jamaican, USA Teams, and Athletes’ Interviews:
Jamaican, USA Teams, and Athletes’ on the Victory Podium:
Jamaican Prime Minister and Government Officials Celebrate Athletes’ Performances and Awards:
After Party for Jamaican Teams and Athletes:
All photos by Nick Ford, who lives and works in South Florida.