Villanova won five major championships at the 84th Penn Relays, a record matched only by its great teams of 1968-69-70.

Maryland won only one yesterday, the 400 meters, but it was the Terrapins' first relay success in eight years. Bracketed with Renaldo (Skeets) Nehemiah's meet record in the high hurdles and Ian Pyka's successful shot put title defense, the performance enabled Maryland Coach Frank Costello to say, "It was our best day at the Penn Relays in many years."

Costello added, "If we had won the shuttle hurdles, it would have been a great day."

It wasn't great, because Maryland, which had apparently won the hurdles event in 55.8 seconds, two-tenths off the worldrecord, was disqualified. Officials ruled that Nehemiah had left early on the final leg.

Actually, it could have been a fantastic day for the Terrapins.Despite some sloppy baton passing, Maryland's 800-meter team wound up just a yard behind victorious Tennessee.

So, while winding up what watches they did take home, the Terrapins could not avoid thinking of what might have been.

Nehemiah didn't waste any time: "I know I didn't leave early. I thought I left late. I wanted to make sure and rely on my ability to catch the guy."

Chief inspector John Haines and his four assistants ruled otherwise, fingering both Nehemiah and Tennessee's Steve Darcus, the man he overhauled, for early departures. There is no baton in the shuttle hurdles and disqualifications are frequent, runners anticipating the moves of teammates who stuble before crossing the line. Michigan, far back in 57.2, was the official winner.

"I protested and they turned it down," Costello said.

The Terrapins did not permit that misfortune, in their first race of the day, to disorient them. The team of Bob Calhoun, Grepg Robertson. Andre Lancaster and Nehemiah came back to take the 400-meter relay by three-tenths of a second in 39.89.

Roberston, who made an outstanding pass to Lancaster, said, "We just tried to gorget it (the hurdles). We wanted to be ready mentally for the rest of our races. As soon as we got through running (whole posing happily for a victory photo), one of the Tennessee guys came over and said there was a problem, so we were prepared for it."

Calhoun aggrivated a slight musicle pull in his left thigh leading off the 400 and withdrew from the 100 meters, where he set a meet record of 10.48 Friday. John Christian of Virginia State won in 10.51.

Robertson beat Nehemiah out of the blocks in the 110-meter highs, but Nehemiah caught him at the third hurdle and won in 13.52, with Robertson second in 13.71.

Nehemiah running 20.7, gave the Terrapins a big lead in the 800, but Robertson's pass to Manny Roseberg lost ground and Lancaster, despite a fine anchor, couldn't catch Tennessee's Jason Grimes after a slow reception from Rosenberg.

Most of the races were just as close as the 800 relay, some closer, to give the crowd of 36,421 an exciting afternoon. Dave Hill of Canada ran a 53.8 final quarter and fell across the finish line to nip Wilson Waigwa of Kenya in the Ben Franklin Mile, as both were timed in 3:58.6.

Villanova, which won the distance medley Friday, completed a successful four-event performance yesterday with a hairline victory over Tennessee in the 1,600 meters. Tim Dale wiped out a five-yard deficit with a 45.2 anchor for the Wildcats as both teams were timed in 3:04.5. Howard placed fourth in 3:08.2 despite a 46.1 anchor by Richard Massey, who said, "All I could see were shoes." Derrol Gatson of third-place Alabama had the fastest split, 44.5. Don Paige, 1:47.3, and Mark Belger, 1:46.9, erased anearly 30-yard lead by New Mexico and brought Villanova the 3,200-meter crown in 7:17.8.

John Burns' 3:44.0 third leg helped Villanova win the 6,000-meter relay in 15:07.1. Georgetown was fifth in 15:12.0.

The Wildcats were not challenged in the sprint medley, as they set an American record of 3:14.7. Howard, with Michael Archie anchoring in 1:48.7, placed second in 3:18.5, followed by Virginia and Catholic.

Robert Taylor's 44.9 final 400 enabled the Philadelphia Pioneers to win the Olympic Development 1,600 in 3:05.3, two yards ahead of D.C. International, anchored by Maurice Peoples in 45.4.

The D.C. International women won the 400-meter relay in a meet-record 45.91. The team was composed of Deby LaPlante, Liz Hats, Carolyn McRoy and Freida Nichols.

McRoy, 12.19, won the Olympic Development 100 meters by two-hundredths over LaPlante, the world indoor record-holder in the 60-yard hurdles.

Despite strong 200 legs by Nichols and McRoy, D.C. International placed third behind the Brooklyn Atoms in the sprint medley.

Maryland's women's team was fourth in the college 400-meter final, won by Adelphi.