The Penn Relays is the oldest and largest track and field competition in the United States, hosted annually since 1895 by the University of Pennsylvania at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.
Last weekend St. Malachy’s 1999 Distance Medley Relay (1200m,400m, 800m, 1600m) team were inducted into the Wall of Fame at Penn. This team (Joe McAlister, Thomas Frazer, Francis McCaffrey and Conor Sweeney) were the first in Penn Relays history to break 10 minutes for the event. Conor Sweeney was also inducted as an individual. He was a member of four consecutive winning DMR teams from 1997 to 2000, making him the only male athlete in history to win a high school event four times in row. He also anchored the 4 by 800m team to victory in 2000 giving him 5 victories at the high school level.
The honourees were presented at a brunch at Franklin Field on the Saturday morning. Each team/individual was introduced and given the opportunity to say a few words. Sweeney emphasised the positive impact and commitment of their coach (and former College principal) Dr John Morrin. McAlister highlighted the legacy of the late 90’s trips to Philadelphia. The links formed with people in the Philadelphia area have led to hundreds of pupils from both sides of the Atlantic benefiting from exchange trips ranging from Basketball to Music and Gaelic football. Thankfully some of these people were able to attend the awards brunch (including Dan Harrell, Tony Overend, Tom Meakim and John Cooke).
The 1999 team would like to thank all at Penn relays, Dan Harrell and his Philadelphia based AOH brothers for their hospitality over the weekend. They contributed to making it a truly memorable and nostalgic experience.