Sydney Maree and Don Paige, two of Jumbo Elliott's most precocious students, will appropriately hold center stage today at Villanova Stadium in the invitational track meet named for the late Villanova coach.
Hounded by Georgetown's John Gregorek and urged on by an as-yet-unidentified rabbit, Maree and Paige are contemplating a mile in the low 3:50s. A year ago, in the inaugural Elliott meet, Maree was edged by Steve Scott in 3:54.26, the fastest outdoor mile ever run in the East.
Maree went on to beat Steve Ovett in Europe, clocking 3:48.83, and he is fast approaching the same condition this spring, as evidenced by his winning 3:54.10 effort a week ago in the Prefontaine Classic at Eugene, Ore.
Paige has been concentrating on 800 meters, but he moved up to run a 3:54.19 personal best for the mile at the Pepsi Invitational in May. Paige hopes that a pacesetter can take the field through the three-quarters in 2:54 and give him and Maree a chance at 3:50.
Gregorek was the runner-up in the NCAA 1,500 meters and in his last Philadelphia visit recorded a 3:55.1 split for 1,600 meters while ending Villanova's 16-year hold on the distance medley at the Penn Relays.
Virginia's Vince Draddy, Canada's John Craig and Auburn's Roger Jones are others who bring outstanding credentials to the mile, climactic race of a compact 15-event schedule that will run from 1:30 to 4.
James Robinson, ranked second in the world to Sebastian Coe, heads an 800-meter field of such overall talent that Richmond's Henry Kimalel, Georgetown's Brian McNelis and Maryland's Ray Oglesby have been assigned to the second section.
The 200 meters offers a common meeting ground for Carl Lewis, the world's best in the 100, and Willie Smith, a top-10 selection at 400 for five straight years. Other entries include Elliott Quow, winner of the 200 in a quadrangular meet in London Wednesday; defender Bill Collins, and Fred Taylor.
The program includes nine men's races, a women's mile and 400 meters, three high school events and a celebrity relay