When a rain delay of about 90 minutes began with an emergency weather warning - bolts of lightning that left crowds gasping - at 12:45 p.m. Thursday, the games on the track at the 117th Penn Relays were put on hold.

Just around that time, though, with music the likes of OutKast's "Hey Ya!" blaring on the P.A. system, another competition broke out - this one in the stands, when a break-dancing battle in the front row of the south bleachers commenced, capturing the attention of rain-drenched fans waiting out the delay.

The inciting culprit: Ramone Wilkinson, a sophomore from Northeast High School.

"I heard the music, I was feelin' it," said Wilkinson, 16. "I had my hype man with me and all that. I just went out there and did my thing."

So what prompted Wilkinson, who runs for the Vikings but won't be participating this weekend, to get up and dance?

"This is Philly, man. Everybody shows love," said Wilkinson, amid five of his Northeast classmates. "That's why I love Philly so much."

Inside the den

Cara Costa came to the Penn Relays for a race, but she's leaving with a new hairdo.

"At first I wanted to get cornrows," the Cranford (N.J.) junior said from inside "The Destroyer's Den" Thursday afternoon, "but my friends were discouraging me because it takes so long. So I decided to get it braided instead."

"The Destroyer's Den," a giant Nike sponsored tent nestled between Franklin Field and Hutchinson Gymnasium, was the happening place to be during Thursday's extended rain delay.

The tent features loud pop music, dancing, shopping (read: custom Nike running shoes and track apparel) as well as a free, fully functioning barber shop/hair salon.

Costa, who competed in the 4x100-meter relay, was content to stand in the long, snaking line for as long as it took while the five workers styled everything from shape-ups to cornrows.

While waiting for her turn with her friend, freshman Laura VanHorn, Costa reflected on what is probably a typical Penn Relays experience: "I think it's amazing being here," she said. "I've never been here, it's my first time. I think it's so cool because I'll never do this again my whole life. This is like being at worlds."