It didn't take long for Villanova's Vicki Huber, last year's national collegiate indoor and outdoor 3,000-meter champion, to meet her goals for the 1988 track season, which she hopes will culminate in a spot on the Olympic team in September.
She won the women's mile at the Father Diamond Memorial track meet at George Mason University yesterday in 4:39.25, qualifying for the NCAA championships in her first effort of the season. Junior teammate Kathy Franey was second in 4:46.15, just missing the 4:45 needed to qualify.
And George Mason senior Nena Gage got her season off the ground by winning the long and triple jumps and qualifying for the NCAAs for the fourth year in a row.
It was the first meet of the season for most of the collegiate competitors, and several opened the season in high style. The women, especially, exceeded expectations.
Gage, a 22-year-old senior, took the long jump in 20 1/4 to make the NCAAs and won the triple jump in 39-6 1/4. She said she hopes this will be her year in national competition. She is just three-quarters of an inch off qualifying for the Olympic trials in the long jump, yet her best finish in NCAA competition has been 13th.
"In NCAAs I break up for some reason," she said. "I've been there four years -- one of these years I'll break through. And this is my year, hopefully. It's the earliest I've ever jumped this well."
Villanova junior Celeste Halliday also qualified for the NCAAs, in the 800 meters (2:08.49) .
Pitt's Eric Cannon qualified for the NCAAs in the 55-meter high hurdles in 7.26. Maryland junior John Finney, the defending ACC and IC4A indoor and outdoor pole vault champion, missed the NCAA cut by 3 3/4 inches, winning in 17-0.
There also were a few post-collegians competing. Former Villanova and Georgetown Prep star Chip Jenkins, a Villanova law student who won the 600 last year at this meet in a time that led the nation, won the 500 meters easily in 1:02.39, leading a Villanova sweep with graduate John Marshall second in 1:03.42 and senior Mark Rainey third in 1:04.19.