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Drexel Club Track competes at Penn Relays | The Triangle

Drexel Club Track competes at Penn Relays

Photo courtesy of Drexel Club Track

Every student at Drexel gets used to things being described as “America’s first” or “oldest.” Whether it be the Liberty Bell or Independence Hall, history is just a short trip on the Market Frankford Line away. One piece of history that is significantly closer to campus, however, is the Penn Relays. The Penn Relays is the oldest and largest track competition in the country, having raced each year from 1895 to 2024 except 2020 and 2021. 

Each year, over 100,000 spectators make their way to University City to witness the historic contest. While most Drexel students likely do not follow competitive track meets closely, the weekend of Penn Relays is known for the swarms of spectators that pack the streets of University City, bringing a palpable excitement to campus. Over the span of four days, more than 17,000 athletes of varying age and skill level will compete in over 20 events. This year the Penn Relays included runners as young as fourth grade and as experienced as over 85 years old! Runners from all over the world competed with some stakes as high as Olympic qualification, and other races solely for bragging rights. 

Despite not having a varsity Track and Field team, Drexel was still represented at this year’s Penn Relays. Drexel Club Track fielded three relay teams to compete this past weekend, entering two Men’s and one Women’s 4x100m relay team. The Women’s relay team placed fourth in their division with a finishing time of 53.58 seconds, while the men’s relay teams finished eighth and ninth, with respective times of 46.41 and 51.30. The relay teams competed in the Open Division/Club level of the Penn Relays. The competitors for Drexel’s women’s relay team were Alexis Tibbs, Olivia Maddox, Gianna Stump and Dior White. For the men’s A relay team, the Dragons were represented by Andrew Warren, Jordan Laws, Blessing Kwateng and Kyle Hunt. The B relay team was composed of William Trojanowski, Thomas Schappell, Nathan Earney and Chyle Grossman. 

Fielding multiple teams in this prestigious competition is a testament to the resurgence of the Club Track team in the years post-COVID. For those unfamiliar with the structure of club sports, they are an intermediate level of competition between the competitiveness of varsity and intramural competition. Most club sports are entirely student runs, but some, such as Club Track, have coaches that can help students continue growing their skills. Club Track also provides an avenue for students to have access to a more structured training regimen.

Club Track, like many other student organizations at Drexel, was out of commission during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in the fall of 2021, the team was relaunched and has grown in size and strength in the years following. In the years since, the team has returned to in person synchronous practices, participating in competitions and other joint activities.

This winter term, the club competed in meets and various road races across the Philadelphia area nearly every weekend, allowing members to remain competitive in the sport that they love for little to no cost outside of a $15 quarterly membership fee. The club plans to continue competing in other notable road races such as the Broad Street Run, amongst others, as well as frequently competing in meets throughout the spring and fall terms.