Georgetown's John Gregorek wasn't afraid of a challenge today at the 59th IC4A track meet.
The Hoya sophomore set a torrid pae, and it led to a 25-meter victory in the 1,500 meter run, setting a meet record (3:42.93) over a field that included Don Paige, who has a 3:54.3 mile to his credit this year.
Gregorek's 57.9-second opening quarter-mile put him 15 meters ahead of the field. Paige exhausted himself trying to catch up, faded and wound up fifth in 3:49.10, the worst finish of his college career.
However, Villanova's Sydney Maree, who hadn't completed a workout since Jan. 14 and Carey Pinkowski took up the slack, outkicking Richmond's Hillary Tuwei for a one-two finish at 5,000 meters. It gave Coach Jumbo Elliott's Wildcats 65 points and their fourth straight team title, with Fairleigh Dickinson second with 58 points.
Maryland's pole vaulters -- Dan Lamp (16-foot-8, second), Eugene McCarthy (16-6, third) and Joe Petrillo (15-9, fourth) -- performed well as the Terps took third with 46 1/2 points, despite the absence of injured world record holder Renaldo Nehemiah.
"With two firsts from 'Skeets,' we win the meet," said Coach Frank Costello."
Georgetown senior Jim DeRienzo, fighting off the flu, triumphed at 1,000 meters in 2:23.62, lifting the Hoyas (30 points) into fourth place.
Naval Academy senior Jeff Colvin (1:02.16) won a new event, the 500 meters, helping the Midshipmen (24 points) tie for seventh with Richmond. Spider sophomore Sosthanes Bitok nipped his Kenyan neighbor, Villanova's Amos Korir, for first in another new event, the 3,000 meters (8:02.74). This is the first year the IC4As have used an all-metric format, except for relays.
Gregorek said his strategy was simple: run as hard as he could for as long as he could.
"I planned to go out hard," said Gregorek, who set an American junior record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase last spring and is not known for his prowess at half that distance. "That's the only way I had a chance against him (Paige). That last lap, I expected him to blow by me."
With 250 meters to go, Hoya Kevin Byrne realized Paige wasn't going to have his usual big kick.
"Kevin yelled, 'He's hurting!'" Gregorek said. "But I figured he'd just come on like usual. I didn't think it meant anything. I have a really painful face when I run. Then I glanced back . . . You can't tell the significance of beating Paige. If he's sick, and I think he is."
Later in the day, Paige took the baton in third place in the two-mile relay and faded to seventh. The Villanova senior said he was in the best shape of his life and couldn't explain why nothing happened when he stepped on the gas pedal.
"I spent the last three days with the flu, and I knew I wasn't going to break any records today," said DeRienzo, who also won his first IC4A title, holding off Harvard's Adam Dixon. "I was pretty worried how I would do."
DeRienzo's time was 3.4 seconds off Paige's American record. But Colvin was within a second of U.S. Olympian Herman Frazier's world record -- not bad for a youngster who did not make the finals in this meet a year ago.
"I read I was predicted to be fourth in this meet," said the Navy senior, who defeated Villanova NCAA champ Anthony Tufariello and later came back to anchor the Midshipmen to fourth in the mile relay. "But I had the best times going in, so I figured I could win it."
None of Maryland's five triple jumpers, including ACC champ Cornelius Cousins, reached the finals yesterday . . . "Third place is the worst we've done here in years," said Lamp, whose 16-8 vault was a personal record but included one miss more than victorious Mark Strawderman of Rhode Island. "We came up here figuring we could really do it" . . . In Gregorek's only other race against Paige, the Georgetown soph was sixth in the Millrose Games mile, with Irish Olympian Eamonn Coghlan nipping Paige (3:58.3) at the tape . . . Maree (14:02.88 for 5,000 meters), who is a junior from South Africa, and UConn soph Ray James (6.21 seconds in the 55-meter dash) set the other meet records.