Chris Person could become the "other" University of Maryland hurdler at the 1980 Olympics.
Person, a precocious freshman who specializes in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles outdoors, raced to the 600-yard IC4A Indoor Track & Field title today and anchored the Terps to a strong second place in the mile reday at Princeton's Jadwin Gym.
But it wasn't enough to keep Coach Jim Elliott's Villanova powerhouse from galloping to a third straight team championship. The Wildcats amassed 99 points. Maryland, with defending 60-yard hurdles champ Renaldo Nehemiah (quarterfinal disqualification) and defending 60-yard dash champ Bob Calhoun (slight hamstring strain) on the sideline, won 78 on the 10-8-6-4-2-1 scoring system. The Terps were runnersup a third consecutive time.
Morgan State (15 points) finished 10th, Richmond (14) was 11th, William and Mary and George Mason (8) tied for 21st, Georgetown (7) ended in a disappointing two-way tie for 24th and Navy (5) was 30th.
Person, a North Jersey native who won the U.S. junior 400 hurdles crown last summer, upset Villanova favorite Anthony Tufariello in the 600, clocking 1:09.48. In his sixth race in two days, Person came back to run the fastest quarter-mile split of the afternoon (47.5), making up 10 of the necessary 12 yards on Villanova anchorman Tim Dale.
"I really wanted Dale," Person said. "I expected to win the 600. I thought it was going to be tougher."
"Person has awesome potential," declared Frank Costello, the Maryland coach. "Wait 'til you see him in the intermediates. There aren't many hurdlers who can run 1:09.4, He'll be one of the toughest in the world this year, not next!"
But Person, who gets overshadowed by Nehemiah on his own team, yesterday was overshadowed by Villanova's two aces -- one who is expected to be in Moscow in 1980 and one who won't be.
Don Paige, who set an American 1,000-meter indoor record earlier this winter, won the 880 by & dozen yards in 1:50.21, then came back to make up 25 yards and anchor Villanova to a 7:31.34 victory in the two-mile relay.
Sydney Maree, a black South African who ran a 3:57.1 indoor mile for Villanova this winter, also was a double winner. The 22-year-old sophomore from the Pretoria outskirts set a meet record of 13:23.65 in the three-mile run; 45 minutes later, he popped a 4:03.9 anchor leg to take the Wildcats from third to first in the distance medley relay.
Not only is South Africa barred from the Olympics because of its apartheid policy, but no European country would let Maree run there last summer.
"Sometimes in my dorm, I'll think about 1980, and how I might be sitting on the bench while all my classmates will be sweating in Moscow," said Maree.
Nehemiah lost his meet record (7.23) in the 60-yard hurdles to West Virginia footballer Garnet Edwards, who clocked 7.17. Calhoun lost his 60 meet record of 6.27 to Fairleigh Dickinson freshman Ephraim Sarretts' 6.26.
Maryland also got victories from senior Dennis Ivory, who triple jumped 52-4, and junior Mike Corbin, who high jumped 7-1. Both had leaped farther in last weekend's ACC championships, 54-2 for Ivory and 7-2 for Corbin. Former high jump world record-holder Franklin Jacobs of Fairleigh-Dickinson, who owns a 7-6 season best, was sidelined with tendinitis.
"Our whole team did much better than I expected," Costello said. "I expected 65 to 68 points without Nehemiah. We scored 78. Even with him, we couldn't have won it, but our young kids competed just super."