Franklin Would Be Proud Of Namesake

PHILADELPHIA -- Ben Franklin would be glad he discovered electricity if he could see the 111-year-old stadium named for him on the University of Pennsylvania campus.

Constructed in 1895 to host the Penn Relays, Franklin Field is the oldest stadium in the country to still host football games and it got a facelift with a new, bright and easy-to-read scoreboard.

Considering Franklin Field was the first stadium in the country to have a scoreboard, it's only right it should have one of the best track displays around.

With big print results and event numbers, keeping up with the 111th Penn Relays is now a snap for the crowd that numbered more than 25,000 on Thursday and will swell to more than twice that number by Saturday.

The scoreboard is flanked nicely by two huge banners featuring former collegians who enjoyed tremendous success at Penn.

One is of former LSU hurdler extraordinaire LoLo Jones and the other is the easily recognizable Arkansas great Alistair Cragg.

Cragg won seven NCAA titles at Arkansas and represented Ireland in the finals of the 5,000 meters at the Athens Olympics last summer.

The field also got a makeover with the fake plastic grass similar to the practice field at Arkansas and in Little Rock in War Memorial Stadium.

Franklin Field is one of the most historic venues in the nation and has hosted happenings like a 331-yard rushing game for Illinois against Penn by Red Grange in 1925 or the only playoff loss of Vince Lombardi's career in 1960.

Franklin Field was the nation's first two-tiered stadium (1922) and was the host venue for the first radio broadcast (1922) and first telecast (1939) and used to draw more than 80,000 for Penn football games.

For first-timers like Arkansas freshman Paige Farrell of Springdale, it is an impressive sight.

"When I walked up to the field, my eyes just blew up," she said.


The Lady'Backs have won two Penn Relay titles in their history after coming up short in the distance medley relay Thursday and will have to wait until next year with their 4x mile team a longshot to contend today.

The Razorbacks, naturally, have enjoyed a ton of success at Penn under legendary coach John McDonnell.

Arkansas has won the DMR 15 times, the 4x mile 18 times, the 4x800 twice, the sprint medley twice and the 4x100, 4x200, 4x400 and shuttle hurdle once each.


One of Arkansas' talented signees will compete today in the high school boys' distance medley relay at 4:45 p.m.

Chris Barnicle of Newton North High in Boston will run for his highly successful distance program that hasn't lost a cross country meet since he was a freshman.

Barnicle won the Foot Locker Northeast title, was fifth at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships last fall and currently has the top time the nation in the 3,200 meters and the two-mile run.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories