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Michael Atchoo. Photo by Jacob Most/Kentucky Athletics.
Card in Spotlight at Relays
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 04/25/2014
PHILADELPHIA – Two Stanford teams contended for titles at the 120th Penn Relays, but fell just short Friday at Franklin Field.

The Cardinal was second to Villanova in the women’s 4x1500 and third in the men’s distance medley relay.

The women’s race was a repeat of Friday’s DMR, with Villanova anchor Emily Lipare outkicking Stanford’s Aisling Cuffe down the stretch. Cuffe, the reigning Pac-12 cross country champion and a 5,000-meter specialist, ran her fastest races at the 1,500/1,600 distances each day to keep the Cardinal in the hunt.

Cuffe has personal bests of 4:40.79 (converted from a mile) in the 1,600. On Thursday, her anchor split was 4:35.86. Her best 1,500 is 4:19.60. But on Friday, her split was 4:16.6.

Villanova clocked 17:16.52 to 17:16.74 for a Stanford team that consisted of, in order: Claudia Saunders (4:22.6), Amy Weissenbach (4:17.4), Jessica Tonn (4:20.1), and Cuffe, who had the fourth fastest split of all the runners in the competition.

The race quickly became a two-team affair. Villanova’s Stephanie Schappert opened with a slim lead on Weissenbach and the 0.3 difference was maintained through the second leg as the other teams fell off the pace. At the third exchange, the teams were dead even, and the drama continued to the finish.

In the men’s DMR Championship of America, as it was so titled, Oregon won in 9:25.40, with Villanova second in 9:28.93 and Stanford third in 9:29.66.

The Stanford team consisted of Tyler Stutzman (2:54.30 for 1,200), Steven Solomon (44.96 for 400), Luke Lefebure (1:47.20 for 800), and Michael Atchoo (4:03.21 for 1,600). As fast as Solomon’s split was, it was the second-fastest in the field, to Oregon’s Mike Berry, who ran 44.72. No one else was under 46.29. The Solomon and Berry will meet at the Pac-12 Championships in Pullman, Wash., next month.

Kentucky took the initial lead, with Oregon close behind and Stutzman tucked in third at the first exchange. After the 400, Solomon had overtaken Kentucky into second, but with Berry holding a 0.59 lead at the second exchange.

Lefebure’s 1:47.20 split was the second-fastest in the field and rallied Stanford even closer to Oregon at the final exchange, with the Ducks holding a 0.02 edge. However, Edward Cheserek’s 3:57.98 anchor led Oregon to victory.

Stanford concludes its portion of the meet on Saturday with the men’s 4xMile and 4x800 relays.



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