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TAFWA Award

Dunaway AwardAt the 2019 annual meeting of the Track and Field Writers of America, Dave was presented with the James Dunaway Memorial Award “for track & field journalism excellence.”

2020 Mid-American Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships

Dave HunterOn February 28-29, Dave served as the Color Analyst on the live ESPN3 broadcast of this championship gathering. Coverage of this 2-day conference championship can be viewed on the ESPN app.

Dave Hunter

Dave HunterDave Hunter is a track & field journalist, announcer, and broadcaster.  Dave reports on the premier track & field gatherings around the globe, frequently serves as an arena or stadium announcer for championship events, and has undertaken foreign and domestic broadcast assignments in the sport.

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Rodgers_MichaelQ1-USout15.jpgMike Rodgers, photo by PhotoRun.net

Franklin Field

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

It's an Olympic year. And it's also Penn Relays weekend - with unseasonably chilly weather and occasional showers in the City of Brotherly Love, and still over three months until the commencement of the Summer Games. For some world class athletes, the Penn Relays is not a component in their hand-crafted build-up to the August Olympiad in Rio. But for others, the allure of Penn is strong. Their scheduled late-April participation at Franklin Field is not just another meet. It is a rite of spring and - in this year - Penn's "USA vs. The World" is viewed by them to be an important building block in their global championship preparations.

At Friday's USATF press conference, six of Team USA's most accomplished track athletes explained why they are here to compete, what they hope to take away from their experience here, and why racing in the 122nd Penn Relay Carnival is important to them in this Olympic year.

Sanya Richards-Ross / 400m American Record Holder / 4-time Olympic Gold Medalist / 5-time World Championship Gold Medalist / In Her Final Year As A World Class Long Sprinter: "For me, a lot of my meets this year are based on emotion. I have announced that this is my last season. And I really do love competing at the Penn Relays. It's just that the crowd is just amazing. And for me, it really just kicks off the season the right way. So I just want to see where I am in my training. I feel like a relay is a great place to run your first 400. So we want to go out and represent well. And I am just excited to get this season going and to see what I need to do to be ready for Rio."

Mike Rodgers / Olympian / Ran A Leg On Team USA's 2015 World Relay Championship Gold Medal-Winning 4x100m Relay Team: "I came here just to see where my training was and to see how I am going to feel going into next week's meet in Jamaica. It will be a good tester to see how my fitness is going into next week."

Natasha Hastings / Olympic Gold Medalist / 6-time World Championship Gold Medalist: "I echo a lot of what Sanya said. This will be my first 400 for the outdoor season. It's a good way to see where training is, but it is also like a second home to me. I get to see a lot of friends and family. So it's a little bit emotional as well. It's exciting to come back and see where your training is."

Patrick Feeney / Anchored Team USA To Victory In Last Year's USA vs. The World 4x400m Relay: "I had such a blast here last year. So it's always fun to come back. Also as a post-collegiate runner you don't really get very many opportunities to run a relay. So anytime there is an opportunity - especially at the Penn Relays with the crowd and everything - it's just such a fun meet to be a part of. Last year, this is kind of where my season kicked off and started leading on to a pretty good outdoor season. So I am definitely going to lead off this meet into the rest of the season."

Carmelita Jeter / Olympic Gold Medalist / Anchored Team USA To World Record Victory In the 4x100m Relay In London Olympics / 3-time World Championship Gold Medalist: "I always love to represent the U.S. and put on the U.S. uniform. So that's why I'm here to compete and to see where everything is going. There is time before Rio. I do train with John Smith and he will let you know that he is not going to rush anything. So right now, he's really just trying to make sure I don't get injured again. So he's taking everything with baby steps. And so, this meet is just to see 'OK Carmelita, this is where you are. Let's see what we need to fix. Let's see what we need to tweak.' And you go from there."

Justin Gatlin / Olympic Gold Medalist / 4-Time World Championship Gold Medalist: "This is my 13th Penn in my whole track career. It is a tradition for me. I love coming to Penn - all the way through college, all the way professionally. There's always a prelude that goes into a championship year. You get to build morale with your teammates. You get excited. You get to put the uniform on. You get to run a relay - so it's not as stressful as an individual race. So you get to do it with your friends. It's almost like having an All-Star Game or a Pro Bowl. This is what Penn is for us. This is excitement, having fun. So this is something I don't want to miss each year."

With both Penn and Drake unfolding this weekend, Saturday could be seen as the unofficial outdoor start to this Olympic year - a sort of opening act to a multi-act drama that will run through mid-August. The best part of USA vs. The World on Saturday at Penn? The athletes aren't the only ones who get to have a blast, become excited, be emotional, and see where their fitness level is. We do, too.

RunBlogRun Some photographs on this site have been reproduced with permission from runblogrun.com.