With five events to be completed in the 105th IC4A Outdoor Track and Field Championships today, struggling Maryland found itself only two points ahead of surging Fairleigh Dickinson, 65-63. Then Jack O'Reilly, the public-address announcer, warmed the hearts of Terrapin fans sunbathing in front of the Maryland state flag in the north stands at Villanova Stadium.
"The pole vault bar is at 16-8," O'Reilly intoned, "and three competitors remain -- all from Maryland."
Those 24 points, plus a 25th for sixth place, assured Maryland's second straight team title, eventually cemented with a total of 102 points, two more than last year and 21 more than runner-up Fairleigh Dickinson.
The Terrapins' hero, with a remarkable double in America's oldest track meet, was Vince Reilly, who added the pole vault title to the decathlon championship he picked up Friday. Reilly cleared 17 feet for the first time outdoors to whip teammates Jon Warner, 16-8, and Chip McCarthy, who managed 16-4 despite a sprained right ankle.
"Vinnie Reilly is a super kid -- he won 11 events," said Stan Pitts, Maryland's first-year head coach who was doubly happy because he talked his athletes out of the traditional toss into the steeplechase water jump. "He was coming back from the decathlon and Chip McCarthy had a bad injury, so we couldn't count on those points, but the kids really came through.
"The only other time Maryland won the IC4A indoors and out was 1966 and that was our goal this year, to win those two and the ACC outdoors. We dedicated this meet to James Kehoe, our retiring athletic director. Coach Kehoe came on the bus before we left home and gave us a farewell speech."
Most athletes follow a grueling decathlon with two weeks' rest. Instead, Reilly was back in uniform Saturday barely qualifying on his third attempt at 15-6 in the pole vault. Today he showed surprising strength and stamina to become the meet's only double winner.
"I was psyched up by winning the decathon," said Reilly, a junior who was born in Saudi Arabia, grew up in Metuchen, N.J., and attended the University of Florida until he discovered the palm trees were growing so gracefully because of the high humidity. "I was really tired yesterday, but today I felt much better and we all knew the team was in a little trouble, so we had to do well.
"At 16-8 my hamstring was really tight and I was afraid I'd pull. I almost dropped out of the competition but I'm glad I didn't. I just wish I'd made 17-2 1/2, so I could vault in the NCAA."
Reilly came very close on his third attempt at that height and will try again next weekend in the Potomac Valley meet at College Park, Md. His victory here qualified him for the decathlon in the NCAA competition at Baton Rouge, La., June 4-6.
"Vinnie is ready to jump 18 easily, if he'd concentrate on it two weeks in a row," said Buddy Williamson, Maryland's pole vault coach. "His technique is as good as anybody in the country, but the decathlon takes away from his vaulting."
Williamson, who pilots his private plane, wound up in University Park, Pa., by mistake Saturday. Fortunately for Maryland, his vaulters had a better sense of direction.
Maryland's only other individual champion was sophomore Al Baginski, who captured the discus at 186-10. That was only four inches short of the IC4A record set by the Terrapins' Dick Drescher in 1969.
Freshman Darren Walker, 10.49, was second to Ephraim Serrette, 10.41, of Fairleigh Dickinson in the 100 meters. Bill Thierfelder cleared 6-11 3/4 in his third try to finish third in the high jump, as Navy's Leo Williams won with 7-2 1/2 and everyone else complained about the slippery approach.
Maryland was fourth in the 4 x 100-meter relay, Ward Wilson running despite a stress fracture in his left foot, and second in the 4 x 400-meter relay. David Saunders, a sprint sub for ailing Cornelious Cousins, ran on both teams. Kevin Wilson was fourth in the triple jump.
Navy's Perry Puccetti, 245-1, and Jay Bass, 244-0, were 1-2 after the javelin trials, but finished fourth and fifth. Al Cantello, Navy's field-event coach, saw his 21-year-old Villanova Stadium record broken in the final round by Mike Juskus of Glassboro, who also set a meet mark of 263-7.
John Gregorek of Georgetown, second to Fairleigh Dickinson's Solomon Chebor in the steeplechase, qualified for the NCAA in 8:37.4. He had failed by six-tenths of a second a week ago.
Sydney Maree of Villanova, 3:40.24 in the 1,500, and Eugene Norman of Rutgers, 13.74 in the high hurdles, set meet records.