IT'S A HOMECOMING
Running at the Penn Relays is in Deon Lendore's blood.
He first competed at Franklin Field in high school for Queen's Royal College of Trinidad & Tobago.
"One year we were favored to win (the high school 4x100-meter relay), but I got hurt," Lendore said. "We still got into the final. Then we finished fourth when I was a senior."
Now he's back as junior with Texas A&M, leading the Aggies' always-strong sprint relay teams. Last year he anchored A&M to first place in the Championship of America 4x400 relay in 3:02.52.
And in the future he expects to be back representing Trinidad in the USA vs. the World races.
"The Penn Relays is a great environment," Lendore said. "The crowd loves you no matter where you are from or who you are. If the Jamaicans know you're from the Caribbean, they're gonna cheer for you."
So far, 2014 has been quite a year for Lendore on the track. He won the 400 meters at the NCAA indoor championships (45.21). And last week he ran a world-leading 44.90 seconds in winning the 400 at the Sun Angel Classic at Arizona State.
"I came out here and it was all about executing a good race," said Lendore in Arizona. "I just wanted to do the best I could and ended up with a PR."
For Penn, he's listed to run on the Aggies' 4x100 (school record 38.30 at Texas Relays) and 4x400 relays. And he and his teammates have a lot to run for in the latter race after a dropped baton disqualified them at the NCAA indoor champs; arch-rival LSU won in 3:04.10. A&M won the 4x400 at the Sun Devil in 3:02.67 with Lendore putting in a 44.7 anchor leg. (The Penn Relays record is 3:01.10.)
"It's one of those races where you'll see who's best on the day," he said of the race at Penn.
And after Texas A&M, Lendore knows he'll be back at Franklin Field representing Trinidad & Tobago, for whom he won a bronze medal in the 4x400 at the London Olympics.
'"I wish I could compete in that event now," he said.
But for now there's still some Championships of America to be won at Texas A&M.
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