By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — High school girls’ races dominated the early events today as the Penn Relays got into full swing at Franklin Field, on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, in West Philadelphia.

Conditions were perfect when the first starting pistol fired — sunny and dry but not too warm — and the runners joined 119 years of tradition.

“It’s just an amazing experience to be here,” said one.

“It was exhilarating — I had so much adrenalin running through me, it was amazing,” said another young woman.  “It was a great experience.”

“It was definitely very cool. I ran so quickly I don’t really remember it, but it was awesome,” said yet another.

The 4×100 team from Whippany, NJ drove two hours — to run 13 seconds each — but coach Brad Callahan says it’s well worth it.

“This is a great relay to come to, ’cause mentally, if they can handle Penn Relays, they can handle anything else we go to,” he said.  “It’s the biggest relay carnival in the United States and people come from all over the world.  All the colleges come.  And how cool it would be for one of these girls to go home and say for the rest of her life, ‘I ran at Penn Relays.’ ”

The Penn Relays continue through Saturday.

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