Mark Belger had a cold, so Villanova's 13th straight victory in the Penn Relays distance medley did not come as easy as usual yesterday. But it came, by 15 years over East Tennessee, and the rest of the 180 colleges were resigned to talking about future successes.
Maryland had much to contemplate, as freshman Renaldo (Skeets) Nehemiah set the stage for personal acquisition of at least three watches today.
Nehemiah destroyed his opposition with a 13.41 clocking in the 110-meter high hurdles semifinals, a figure that would have erased the meet record by five-tenths of a second except for an aiding wind. He anchored the Terrapins to a 40.08 time in the 400-meter relay trials, best by 21/100 of a second. He also ran a 20.5 leadoff 200 as Maryland reached the 800-meter relay final with 1:23.2, seconf only to Tennessee's 1:22.3.
For an unwelcome encore, Nehemiah fell at the start of his anchor leg in the shuttle hurdles relay. Nevertheless, he rose and brought the Terrapins home in the fastest qualifying time, 57.8.
"I didn't think I'd make it," Nehemiah said, angry with his pratfall. "I got up, took five steps and jumped into the first hurdle."
"Skeets has so much power coming out, we have try to harness it," said Maryland Coach Frank Costello. "We wanted to have somebody stand on his blocks, but they wouldn't let us. So we won't use blocks in the final."
Costello lectured No. 2 man Don Berich for "floating," checked the cut on the knee of No. 3 David Dixon, who banged a hurdle hard, and said, "Can you imagine, getting the best time with everything that went wrong?"
Greg (Fly) Robertson, who passed up the intermediate hurdles to boost the Terrapin's relay chances, did very little wrong. He led off the shuttle hurdles in 13.4, qualifies easily for the 110 highs and ran two fine sprint-relay legs.
Bob Calhoun set a meet record of 10.48 seconds in the 100-meter semifinals, led off the 400 relay and finished second in the long jump at 25-63/4, losing to NCAA indoor champion Al Ogunfeyimi of Ohio University by three-quarters of an inch.
Calhoun lent promise of a below-40 effort in the 400 today, saying, "I came up too soon on my start today. Tomorrow, I expect to do better."
Calhoun assumed 100-meter favoritism when Tennessee's Reggie Jones was ousted by a false start, but Calhoun said, "I'm kind of mad Reggie jumped. I wanted to run against him."
Howard qualified for the 1,600-meter final with only one-tenth of a second to spare at 3:08.7. The Bison, however, have reason to expect better things today.
Leadoff man Reggie Sojourner, running for the first time after a week-long duel with tonsillitis, slowed up as he passed the baton to Zack Jones, leaving Jones in a box. Eventually, RIchard Massey's 46.0 anchor gave Howard a berth in the final.
Massey skipped the sprint medley to save himself for the 1,600 final. A superb 200 leg by Sojourner and Michael Archie's 1:51.1 anchor 800 enabled the Bison to gain the sprint-medley final, too. Jones ran the lead off 400 and Ernie Waiters shared 200 duties.
Georgetown, fourth behind Villanova in the premier distance-medley heat wound up tied for fifth overall in 9:44.6. Jin Peterson's 2:56.7 third quarter equalled the best of the day and bettered Belger by seven-tenths of a second. That lent some weight to the Hoya's 6,000-meter relay challenge today, although Kevin Bryne must improve on his 4:09.4 anchor 1,600. Ron Stafford led off in a fine 1:52.5. and Keith Royster covered the 400 leg 48.0.
Perhaps the biggest smile for Hoya Coach Joe Lang resulted from the high school distance medley. John Gregorek of Smithown; N.Y., a Georgetown recruit, ran a 4:06.6 anchor 1,600 to bring his team from 30 yards back to a 25-yard victory.
Seenior Mike Sheely of Baltimore's Kenwood High won the high school two-mile, holding off disgusted junior Mike Mansy of T.C. Williams, 9:07.4.
"I've never been so angry in my life," Mansy said. "I'm in great shape and he always dies the last lap, but this is the fourth time I've race him and it's always the same. I let him get too far out."
Richard Caton of Woodbury, N.J. won the high school mile in 4:13.9, with Tom Cuff of Seneca Valley fourth in 4:16.9.
The Washington area was able to salute one winner on a day devoted largely to qualifying. James Joyce of Gaithersburg captured the high school shot put at 60 feet 6 inches.
The Eastern quartet of Michael Martin, Philip Hooker. Gregory Michael and James Green had the second-best 400-meter relay time of 41.9 in qualifying for today's final. Running the second leg for top-rated Westfield, N.J. (41.8) was soon-to-be Navy plebe Frank Kelley.
The H.D. Woodson quartet of Felicia Moore, Cecile Carter, Leslie Humphries and Charlita Whitehead ran 48.4 to gain the high school girls' 400 final. Eleanor Roosevelt, which won the 3,200-meter championship Thursday, won its 400 heat in 50.5.
H.D. Woodson, 42.7; McKinley, 42.7, Fairmont Heights, 43.2 and Central 43.2, qualified for boys 400 consulation races.
Maryland, 47.81, and University of D.C., 48.56, gained the women's college 400 final, behind favored Morgan State's 46.28. The D.C. Striders led the Olympic Development women's 400 finalists with 46.03.