Thursday, April 21, 2011

Penn Relays Press Conference: Marcus & Gina

Penn Relays Press Conference Starts Build to 117th Carnival
04/20/2011 - The Penn Relays Office

PHILADELPHIA - The first of two Penn Relays press conferences featured Penn women's head coach Gwen Harris, and coaches from national track and field powerhouses including Villanova, BYU and Tennessee on Wednesday. The second press conference is scheduled for Monday featuring Penn men's head coach Charlie Powell, and coaches from LSU, Virginia, Texas, BYU and Texas A&M.

Florida Head Coach Mike Holloway

Opening Statement:

"The only relay I've never won at Penn Relays is the 4x100. Obviously, we'd love to put our best foot forward and win that. But there are some great schools there with (Texas) A&M and LSU and FSU and TCU and Baylor and the list goes on and on. We're going to run that. We're going to run the 4x200, the sprint medley, the shuttle relay, and high jump."

On not running in the 4x400 this year:

"We've been running the 4x400 at Penn forever, and due to logistical things such as travel this year, and also Tony McQuegg is a little dinged up. We'd love to run that relay. I think honestly that's almost like you come to Penn to be a part of the 4x400. We're just not ready and healthy to do that this year. And I have to be smart. We're in the title hunt for the NCAA title here in about eight weeks and I have to think about that also."

Villanova Men's Head Coach Marcus O'Sullivan

Opening Statement:

"Just a few comments in terms of the relays we're going to run. The 4xMile, the distance medley and 4x800. Traditionally we enter those every year, but more often than not we run two of them. Obviously, you have to enter them early enough and we're not quite sure where we are a lot of times because for many of us, it's the first competitive part of the whole season. We're just coming in under the wire."

On some of his top local athletes running at the meet:

"A lot of kids, haven't raced yet. But we've had some good showings earlier for some of the athletes that we've had on the team. Primarily I'm dwelling on these for the local aspect of things. Sam Ellison from Upper Dublin (Pa.), is a great kid that just joined us this year and ran 46.0 in the 4x400 last week in Miami. Carlton Bowers a little farther away but from the Pingry School, in the mid-Jersey area. He should be running this particular weekend at Penn. Obviously Matt Gibney, who will open up on Friday, and Brian Tetreault, another relatively local young man, but a senior, from Cinnaminson in South Jersey."

Villanova Women's Head Coach Gina Procaccio

Opening Statement:

"Here we are again, five years since we've won. So it's always an anxious week for us, but this year I think we've had the best team we've had since we won five years ago. Definitely for the DMR. That's kind of the big relay that we're focusing on. We are also entering the 4x1500 and have a really good 4x400-they just ran a 3:41. The sprint group is really coming along, and we have a short hurdler, and a couple kids that can do some of the distance events. Our big focus, we won the indoor NCAAs in the DMR, so we think that's our best shot at winning next Thursday."

On Freshman Emily Lipari

"She's pretty seasoned but I thought she did a tremendous job at (indoor) NCAA's because there's nothing like the NCAA meet, and somebody as good as her is used to being in control and kind of out in front and knowing she's that much better, and all of a sudden she's thrown into a situation where she really got knocked around. She got pushed, she got tripped on the rail, and I thought she did a tremendous job. In high school, she ran a 28.9 in the last 200 to win the 3,000. She ran down the girl in front. So I'm just going to tell her to have that 200 in her mind this year. She's at a new level, so the pace is probably going to be tougher where she can't pull out a 28."

Tennessee Head Coach J.J. Clark

Where Tennessee lines up strongest:

"I know the competition is very strong in the DMR but we have a good DMR and some good runners who are able to run around 2:07 or better indoors."

How soon do you set lineups:

"It depends on what I see in practice. Sometimes people can say the wrong thing at the wrong time to get them on the relay or off the relay."

On how he will select the lineups:

"I don't know what other coaches do, but I don't necessarily go on merit. Just because you ran well indoors doesn't mean you'll get the spot, I want the person who is hot like right now."

On Chanelle Price:

"Last year she came into Penn Relays a little banged up and this year she is not. She ran last week and considering the weather I thought she did well."

BYU Women's Head Coach Patrick Shane

His thoughts on BYU's team one week out from the Relays:

"I think we're going to be competitive in the 4x800 and the DMR. We're kind of day-by-day in the 4x1600 right now with health issues. I think we're probably one person short on the 4x1600 and we thought we'd be a little better in the 4x800. We're redshirting a 2:04 girl, [Natalie] Stewart, from last year, that would really make me excited in that event."

How do you line up that 4x800

"Obviously, we have Katie Palmer and Lacey Cramer-Bleazard. They are two of the top four in the country right now on paper. Bleazard was a two-time national indoor champion and was second to Phoebe Wright from Tennessee last year, sandwiched between her two national championships. She's a tremendous athlete and then we have a couple other young ladies that have run 2:07; a couple of them last year, one's repeated it this year. They are both ready to run 2:06 this year and I think both of them are ready to run PR's at this point. I think we'll be competitive, but boy is it a tough field."

On BYU Coming to the Penn Relays

"The Penn Relays experience is like nothing else and my girls never leave me alone. Every year I receive an amazing amount of pressure from them, 'Are we going to Penn this year,' and my response is, 'If I think we can be completive,' and this year we can and next year we can. I just feel like if we have a chance to represent our school well and a chance to maybe win an event. So we should be there."

What BYU's Local Runner, Porshe Giddings Brings to the Team

"Porshe [Giddings] is overjoyed to be going to Penn. Of course her whole family is going to be there and it is a big, big deal. Of all the girls on the team she been there and no one here has been there before and she knows what it is like and has created a lot of enthusiasm amongst the other girls."

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