The Penn Relays, expanding like a track program injected with Title 9 incentive, move into major competition Thursday night with five distance races, including the prestigious college championship 5,000 meter run.
The 5,000 used to be a Saturday morning fixture, but the multiplication of women's events has scuttled the once iron-clad schedule. There is reason to believe Penn will be forced to expand to three full days of competition in a year or two.
Jim Peterson of Georgetown is one of the best of the 5,000 men, and he will return to run the anchor 1,600 meters for the Hoyas in Friday's feature, the distance medley relay. That event has been a Villanova possession for 11 straight years and probably will remain so, because NCAA indoor champion Texas-El Paso was forced to scratch.
Georgetown's chances dimmed a bit when half-miler Ron Stafford injured a leg in a workout Tuesday. Bil Ledder, scheduled for the 1,200 meter third leg, instead will lead off at 800 and Paul Kinyon will assume the 1,200 responsibility. Tom Stampiglia will handle the 400 meter second leg.
The Hoyas withdrew from Saturday's 6,000-meter relay when it was learned that because of Relay Rules Peterson cannot compete in both that relay and the 5,000.
Texas-El Paso's Wilson Waigwa is a leading contender in the Ben Franklin Mile, Saturday's feature. Among the entries are defending champion Paul Cummings and Steve Scott.
Dwight Stones returns to Franklin Field for another assult on the world high jump record. He boosted it twice here last year, first to 7-foot-7 and then to 7-7 3/8.
Steve Williams, the sorriest sight of the 1976 Olympic trials, is scheduled to continue his comeback in the invitation 100 meters, with indoor sensation Steve Riddick and Olympic 200-meter champion Don Quarrie in that formidable field.
Washington area interest outside of Georgetwon and Maryland sprint relay teams will center on varied 1,600-meter events. Howard challeges Arizona State, which tied the world's record of 3:02.8 for the mile in the college championship. The D.C. Striders figure to be the best of the club entries. And McKinley and H.D. Woodson continue their rivalry among the high schools.
Georgetown Prep is favored in the highs distance medley Friday.