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Sunday, May 19
The Indiana Daily Student


Penn Relays to test Hoosiers

Oldest, largest competition to bring out best in team

Few sporting events rival the prominence of the Penn Relays, the first and largest collegiate track and field relay meet in the world.\nNinth-ranked IU will send its top 20 athletes to join about 22,000 more who will attend the 107-year-old meet.\nBecause of its size, the meet is nicknamed the "Penn Relay Carnival," but the Hoosiers are focused on taking care of business. \nSophomore Rachelle Boone competed at the Penn Relays in high school, but now her focus is on something different. \n"In high school, we were just running to have fun," Boone said. "But now, we look to be in the championship finals. The competition there is the same competition that will be at nationals."\nBoone isn't the only Hoosier who attended this event in high school. Junior thrower Heather Colyer said she also hopes to leave her mark at the meet after a notable improvement from her high school days.\n"I got a (personal record) there last year in the discus," Colyer said. "I'm really looking forward to it since I threw so well last year, and hopefully I'll do it again this year. Shot put wasn't the greatest last year, but we're still working on that."\nNot every Hoosier can attend the Penn Relays, but those who don't can face good competition at Purdue's Boilermaker Open.\nCoach Randy Heisler said he's pleased with his athletes' performances and hopes they can provide fireworks this weekend.\n"The team is in much better shape now than we were at this point during the indoor season," Heisler said. "We're leading in numerous events in the conference, and we're healthy. Now, we're starting to look for people to perform as we get closer to peaking time and Big Tens. I hope that our strong performances are contagious and that it shows this weekend."\nAlthough the Penn Relays exist in a league of its own with an annual average of 45,000 spectators and athletes from 60 countries, not every coach or athlete looks forward to the event. \nBut Heisler said he knows that despite the hassle of enormous crowds and hectic scheduling of 425 races in 35 hours, the Penn Relays are worth the trip. The strong competition allows his athletes to see where they are ranked nationally and acts as a talent showcase that helps IU recruit.\n"From the competitive standpoint, we'll see a lot of really good people from all over the country in all the event areas," Heisler said. "We have nine people qualified for the NCAAs, and some are on the bubble. So a meet like this will be a great opportunity, because you're going against good competition in a good setting. If you're going to compete well, this is the place where you're going to do it"

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