Skeets Nehemiah, limited to running the hurdles by a sprained ankle, and Bob Calhoun, bidding for a sprint and long jump double, are the big guns in Maryland's dark-rorse bid to unseat Villanova in the 57th IC4A indoor track and field championships opening this morning at Princeton, N.J.
Less publicized personalities in vital roles are Mark Fields and Dennis Ivory. They are the Terrapins with opportunities to make head-to-head dents in Villanova's point total.
Fields has clocked 1:09.7 for the 600, best among the entries, but he faces a difficult Villanova tandem in Anthony Tufariello and Glenn Bogue. Although Fields was a disappointing fourth in last week's Atlantic Coast Conference meet, Maryland Coach Frank Costello is hoping for a better finish this time.
"Fields can win the ICs on that 220 Tartan," Costello said. "The ACC was on an 11-lap track and he's just not the same runner there. But it will be awfully tough. We'll have to see what Mark can do against this kind of competition."
Ivory, defending champion, in the long jump, has leaped in Calhoun's shadow all year, but he could make a tremenuous contribution by upsetting Villanova's Nate Cooper, the defending champion in the triple jump.
Maryland's Ian Pyka is favored to keep his shot put title, Greg Robertson should shadow Nehemiah in the hurdles, Brian Melly will challenge everybody except Franklin Jacobs in the high jump, the Terp mile relay team rates a distant second to Villanova, Mike Remus can score in the pole vault and Bo Kent is a potential scorer in the long jump. Dave Cornwell is the NO. 4 seed in the two mile, but a recent bout with the flu has reduced his chances.
Nehemiah, world indoor record holder in the 60-yard high hurdles, was scheduled for double duty in the sprint until he sprained an ankle Tuesday. With the NCAA meet coming up next weekend, Costello will restrict Nehemiah's IC4A activity.
Kevin Byrne of Georgetown, another super freshman from the Washington area, is the No. 2 seed in three mile, behind Tom Mortimer of Northeastern. Villanova's Sydney Maree will not contest the race because of a foot injury, although he may attempt a relay leg.
Navy's chief hope is Jeff Colvin, the Heptagonal 600 champion who will try the IC4A 440 against a potent field that includes Kevin Price of Adelphi, and Villanova's Tim Dale and Derrek Harbour.
Villanova has won the team title 14 times since 1957.