PHILADELPHIA — The Ocean City High School girls distance medley team didn’t run the time it wanted to Thursday night.

But a few minutes after the race, the time didn’t matter.

It was where the Red Raiders ran that was important.

The Ocean City foursome of Devon Grisbaum, Cierra Granger, Rachel Stremme and Bridget Flynn ran 12 minutes, 18.9 seconds to finish 11th in the high school girls Championship of America race at The Penn Relays Carnival. West Springfield, of Virginia, won the 15-team race in 11:53.07.

“We were really excited to get here,” Flynn said. “But I think we’re disappointed with how we ran. We were hoping to break 12 minutes.”

But the Ocean City girls were thrilled just to make it to the starting line. The Penn Relays is one of the world’s most famous track and field meets. High school athletes get a chance to compete against the nation’s best college runners and Olympians. The meet continues today and concludes Saturday.

A crowd of 21,422 fans watched the races at the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field. The setting can be intimidating.

“I was really nervous,” Stremme said.

Teams must run a specific time to qualify for Championship of America races. Only two Press-area teams — the 2013 Pleasantville boys 4x800-meter team and the 2007 Southern Regional girls distance medley team — have ever won a Championship of America race.

Ocean City last qualified for the distance medley in 2005. The Red Raiders missed by a second last year.

Ocean City never challenged the leaders Thursday. The race featured some of the nation’s top teams.

“The race was pretty fast,” Stremme said. “We ran against a lot of the competition here at (indoor) nationals. We knew what we were up against.”

Grisbaum opened with a 3:49.9 1,200 leg. Granger followed with a 60.8 400 leg. Stremme ran an impressive 2:17.3 800 leg, while Flynn ran the 1,600-anchor leg in 5:10.1.

Caroline Alcorta ran a sensational 4:46.46 1,600 leg to anchor West Springfield to the win. Haddonfield finished second behind its freshman anchor Briana Gess (5:01.29).

As for the Red Raiders, they might not remember their time, but they will remember the experience.

“It was fun,” Flynn said. “I’m glad I got to do it finally.”

EHT team wins heat

The Egg Harbor Township girls relay team ran the fastest 4x100 time of any Cape-Atlantic League or southern Ocean County team and won their heat Thursday morning.

The Eagles foursome of Amber Jenkins, Corrine Davis, Ayanna Garrett and Nabiya Garrett won in 49.48 seconds. That time ranked 45th of the 597 teams that competed.

In other races, the Millville girls ran the fastest 4x400 time of any Cape-Atlantic League or southern Ocean County team. The Thunderbolts foursome of Rachell Armstead (59.71), Kaitlyn Derwen (1:02.37), Lamera Rhett (1:02.21) and Satara Scafe (1:00.63) finished in 4:04.90. That time ranked 106th of the 509 teams that ran.

Contact Michael McGarry:

609-272-7185

A graduate of Penn State University, I worked at the Carroll County Times in Westminster, Maryland, before joining The Press in 2013.