Assistant Athletics Director Dawn Ellerbe won four hammer titles at the Penn Relays, the largest and oldest track meet in the United States.
Dawn Ellerbe, assistant athletic director for Cal State East Bay and former U.S. Track and Field Olympian, was inducted into the prestigious Penn Relays Wall of Fame at the University of Pennsylvania on April 27. Now in its 118th year, the Penn Relays Carnival is the largest track meet in the United States, highlighting high school, college, Olympic Development, Olympic and Masters athletes. Created in 1994, the Wall of Fame honors the greatest athletes in Penn Relays history. Ellerbe joins 90 other individuals and 81 relay teams as part of the 19th Wall of Fame class.
“I am so excited and truly humbled by this honor,” Ellerbe said. “The Penn Relays is one of the biggest and most prestigious track events in the world. I won’t ever forget the competitions and camaraderie that I experienced at the Penn Relays as a South Carolina Gamecock and member of the New York Athletic Club.”
Ellerbe was a staple in the Penn Relays hammer cage both as a student-athlete at the University of South Carolina and as an Olympic Development athlete for the New York Athletic Club. As a Gamecock, Ellerbe claimed the 1997 collegiate hammer throw victory and set a Penn Relays record along the way.
Throwing for the New York Athletic Club, Ellerbe won three straight Olympic Development hammer titles at the Penn Relays from 1999-2001, increasing her winning mark each year. Both of her winning distances in 2000 and 2001 set a new American record for the hammer.
A 2005 South Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, Ellerbe broke the American record in the hammer more than six times as a Gamecock, winning four NCAA individual championships. In addition, Ellerbe was crowned as Southeaster Conference champion five times and earned six All-America certificates, competing in the shot put, hammer and discus.
As a professional, the Long Island native won 12 USA Track and Field titles and competed at the 2000 Olympic Games, placing seventh in the hammer in Sydney, Australia. Ellerbe also held both the American and the world record in the hammer and the 20 lb. weight during her professional career.
Joining Ellerbe in this year’s Wall of Fame class are Jack Keller, Robert Carty and Aubrey McKithen, as well as four relay teams. Keller was the winner of three straight 120-yard hurdle titles and the record holder in the event for 22 years, while Carty was the second person in Penn Relays history to run on three straight sprint relay-winning teams for Manhattan in 1952. In 1978, McKithen anchored Trenton Central to a win in the 4x800 relay, a runner-up showing in the distance medley relay and ran a leg for the 4x400 team that won the title, while setting two meet records along the way.
Marking the 100th anniversary of its win and record in 1912, the Mercersburg Academy mile relay team of Al Robinson, E.P. Hammitt, Theodore Dale and Ted Meredith joined the individual inductees, as did the1986 University of Texas men’s sprint medley relay team of John Patterson, Jason Leach, Earle Laing and Pablo Squella. In addition, the 1986 Seton Hall men’s sprint medley relay team of Akanni Gbadamosi, Andrew Valmon, David Jones and Barron Chambliss was inducted to the Wall of Fame after barely beating out the Longhorns and sharing the meet record of 3:13.65 with Texas. Lastly, the 1998 Vere Tech girls’ 4x100 relay team of Melocia Clarke, Natalee Sterling, Veronica Campbell and Aleen Bailey joined the inductees thanks to setting a meet record and becoming the first-ever sub-45 second 4x100 high school team at the event.
The oldest and largest track and field meet in the United States, the Penn Relays are held every April at Franklin Field on the University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia. The meet brings more than 15,000 athletes from across North America and overseas together for more than 300 events during the five-day competition.
Since retiring from track and field in 2004, Ellerbe has moved into athletics administration, beginning at her alma mater, where she was the Marketing Director for Varsity Sports from 2001-09. Ellerbe was named Assistant Athletics Director for Marketing and Promotions at Cal State East Bay in the summer of 2009.