The University of Maryland, behind the running of Chris Person, captured the IC4A indoor track championship yesterday at Princeton University, ending Villanova's four-year reign as champion.
Person won the 500 meters in 1:02.3, finished a surprising second in the 55-meter hurdles behind Villanova's Rodney Wilson and helped Maryland to a third-place finish in the mile relay.
Maryland scored 97 points in the three-day, 108-school meet followed by Fairleigh Dickinson with 73 points and Villanova with 63.
Maryland's Gene McCarthy won the pole vault with a tie-breaking 16-foot-8 vault, one of three Maryland victories in the field events. On Saturday, Maryland won the long jump and 35-pound weight throw.
Maryland won the outdoor IC4A championships last May but this victory was especially sweet for Maryland Coach Stan Pitts, who celebrated his 42nd birthday today.
"Our whole season was geared to this one meet," said Pitts, in his first year as coach. "I could not have asked for a better birthday present."
Despite Villanova's third-place finish in its quest to capture an 18th meet title, the school broke three IC4A meet records today and tied an all-time Eastern Collegiate record. Villanova's world-class runner, Sydney Maree, who was nursing a sore right Achilles' tendon, ran the 3,000 meters in 7:54.91, breaking the IC4A record set by Richmond's Sosphenes Bitok last year and tying the all-time Eastern Collegiate record.
Villanova's John Hunter set a meet record with 2:23.49 in the 1,000 meters, beating out Richmond's Julian Spooner.
"I wanted to win all three events, but that was shooting a little high," Person said. "The Maryland guys were really psyched for this meet. The key was the depth in the team, especially in the field events."
Maryland put in another strong showing in the high jump, with Terp William Thierfelder losing out to Navy's Leo Williams in the three-jump tie breaker. Both had jumps of 7-2 3/4 inches.
In other events, Georgetown's two-mile team of Jon Sullivan, Phil Reilly, Richard Caton and Brian McNelis won in 7:52.24, Maryland's Martin Green placed third in the 5,000 meters in 14:12.09 and Princeton's August Wolf sent the local crowd home happy with first place in the shot put: 59-6 1/4.