The timing could not have been better for George Mason University, which showed off some of its nationally ranked athletes at a media luncheon yesterday in Fairfax.
Prominently seated, and wolfing down the gooey desserts of victory, were Tommy Lovelace, Reggie Henderson, Ron George and John Parker, who won the mile relay Sunday in the prestigious IC4A Indoor Track Championships at Princeton, N.J.
Henderson also set a meet record of 1:01.91 in the 500 meters as the Patriots brought home the second-place trophy, beating Rutgers on more first places and outscoring Maryland and Georgetown combined. Only Villanova, with its distance corps tailored to indoor competition, finished ahead of George Mason.
"Charlie Jenkins, the Villanova coach, called me 'John Mason,' " said John Cook, the Patriots' coach. "We'll get him straightened out in the spring. I think we can beat him then, with the longer sprints that are better suited to John Parker."
Henderson, a Coolidge High School product, will run the 400 meters this week in the NCAA Championships at Pontiac, Mich., where the Patriots' mile-relay quartet is seeded second behind Southern Methodist.
Carlos Yates and Jeanne Daunoras were presented basketballs to symbolize their passing the 1,000-point mark, Yates as a sophomore and Daunoras as a junior.
Also honored were Colin Kerr, all-America striker from Canada who led the Patriots to a 19-2 soccer season and a berth in the NCAA quarterfinals, and Willie Hughes, the Bishop Ireton product who is the key to Mason's current 16-1 record in men's volleyball.
Cited in absentia was Paul Maltagliati, the heavyweight wrestler out of Crossland High School who is training for the NCAA Championships, which start Thursday at Oklahoma City. Maltagliati, 37-3 this season, was the NCAA Eastern Region winner.