Once again the IC4A team title came down today to the climactic 1,600-meter relay. Once again, Villanova had the winning formula.
The Wildcats, tied with Maryland after 20 events, captured the "slow" section of the 1,600 in 3 minutes 8.4 seconds, a tick better than Navy's 3:08.6 in the "fast" segment. With that victory came the meet title on an amazing total of 124 points.
Maryland, running the 1,600 without Renaldo Nehemiah, placed fourth behind Navy and fifth overall in 3:10.9, to finish with 116 points. To show how this 103-year-old event has deteriorated toward dual-meet status, Manhattan was third with 36 points.
"The mile relay is just a jinx,"
Nehemiah said. "You run all day to come down to one race but the points just can't fall our way. I did the best I could do. They put me in the positions where we needed pioints and then relied on the other guys."
Nehemiah won both the 100- and 200- meter sprints and anchored the victorious 400-meter relay team. He could not join the 1,600 quartet, since the relay was scheduled 10 minutes after the 200 final.
The high hurdles, in which Nehemiah holds the world record, were only 20 minutes before, no better a situation, and a Nehemiah victory there would have reduced the production of teammate Greg Robertson, who placed second.
A year ago, Maryland entered the relay with a one-point lead and Nehemiah anchoring. The Wildcats, as usual placed in the "slow" section because of a relaxed qualifying time, sped to a three-second victory and a 99-98 decision in the team scoring.
A major difference in today's script was provided by pole vaulter Danny Lamp, who had never gone higher than 16-1. The Maryland sophomore established personal bests on his final attemps at both 16-3 and 16-6 to win the event and keep the Terrapins alive to the bitter end. A year ago, Lamp placed seventh at 15-5 3/4.
"I lost it (the meet) last year getting seventh instead of sixth," Lamp said. "When my teammate (Chip McCarthy) went out at 16 today, the pressure like this all year. Our team doesn't look highly at vaulters, because it's such a flaky event, but I did my part this time."
Freshman Chris Person won the 400-meter intermediate hurdles, but fell in the highs when a competitor running ahead of him banged a hurdle free and it blocked his path. Although shaken up, he anchored the 1,600 relay, but contact was lost before he received the baton.
Bob Calhoun won the long jump to give Maryland seven titles, Ian Pyka having taken the shot put Saturday.
Freshman John Gregorek of Georgetown set a national junior steeplechase record of 8:33.8 in placing second behind Amos Korir of Villanova, who set a meet mark of 8:30.3. In the process, both men ran away from Northeastern's Brue Bickford, trying in vain for a fourth straight title.
"I couldn't believe it when I bombed Bickford and I could see he wasn't coming back," gregorek said. "I was pretty tired in the middle laps, but on the last lap I felt good. So I figured I'd wait for the water jump and kick. Korir ran a 10,000 last night and should have been tired, but he kicked about three steps before me and took off."
Navy was dealt a double blow in the 1,600 relay. Not only did the Mids lose, they failed to qualify for the NCAA meet by two-tenths of a second on the basis of their hand time. No automatic time was possible because the leg of anchorman Jeff Colvin obscured the time on the film. An automatic 3:08.6 would have met te NCAA qualifying standard.
Colvin anchored in 45.9, fastest 400 of the day. He was preceded by Bruce Prutzman, 48.1 Jim Sheairs, 47.5, and Pat Bailey, 47.1.
Besides Kenyan Korir, who set meet records in winning both the steeplechase and 10,000, Villanova had a second double record setter in South African Sydney Maree, who ran 13:27.07 in the 5,000 trial, and another double winner in Don Paige, who completed the first 800-1,500 double in 20 years.
"I don't to run often , so I make the most of every race," said Maree, whose country is barred from open competition. "I ran the fast 1,500 yesterday because I knew I had to save myself for the 5,000 today."