PHILADELPHIA – The Columbia men’s 4x800m squad of Connor Claflin, Brendon Fish, Liam Tansey and Harry McFann shined on Saturday at the 118th Penn Relays at Franklin Field, setting a new Ivy League Record.

The Lions quartet clocked in at 7:20.80 to take third place in the College Men’s 4x800m Championship of America. The old Ivy League record was 7:20.82 set in 1992 by Dartmouth.

Claflin ran the first 800m in 1:51.34 and had the Lions in the front half of the pack when passed the baton Fish, whose 1:49.87 second leg was the third fastest of his group. Tansey followed that with an even better third leg of 1:49.75. Closing things out, McFann ran a terrific anchor time of 1:49.86.

The Columbia also had another outstanding showing from the relay of Adam Behnke, Daniel Everett, Mark Feigen and Kyle Merber in the College Men’s 4xMile Championship of America. The Lions took second place with a time of 16:17.86. Behnke ran a 4:10.3 mile to start the Lions off and positioning the team in the top five. Everett followed with a 4:04.5 leg to keep the Lions near the front. Feigen’s 4:03.0 was the third fastest leg in his group. Merber ran a 4:00.1 mile as the anchor, finishing just behind Princeton’s Donn Cabral (3:59.9).

The Columbia women’s squad of Erin Gillingham (2:10.3), Madeline Rathbun (2:10.0), Trina Bills (2:16.2) and Jennifer DeSouchet (2:14.9) placed seventh in the College Women’s 4x800 Championship of America with a time of 8:51.42.

Saturday's strong performances in the Championship of America races in combination with the Lions' men's DMR fifth-place showing on Friday proved that Columbia's distance program is one of the nation's elite.

"We had such a great weekend," Columbia Director of Cross Country and Track & Field Willy Wood said. "We were the only team in the nation to place in the top five of the three men's distance relays. Additionally, we were able to pick up significant wins over such national powers as Oregon, Oklahoma and Indiana. This weekend solidified our standing as one of the top middle distance programs in the nation. The only disappointment was not getting a win."

The Columbia men and women will now set their sights on the 2012 Ivy League Heptagonal Outdoor Championships held next weekend at Franklin Field.