Monday, January 18, 2010

Dynamic Distance Doubles

Six Villanova greats -- Ronnie Delany, Marty Liquori, Don Paige, Sonia O'Sullivan, Vicki Huber, and Carrie Tollefson -- executed historic individual distance doubles at either the NCAA, European, or World Championship meets. At the 1958 outdoor NCAA championship meet, Delany won the 880 yards (1:48.2) and the mile (4:03.5). He was accustomed to doubling up, as he had pulled similar double duty at the IC4A meets in 1957 and 1958 where he won the 1000 yards and 2 mile races each year. Marty Liquori won double NCAA championships at the 1971 indoor meet. There he won the mile in 4:04.7 and the two mile in 8:37.1. At the 1979 NCAA championships held at the University of Illinois, Don Paige won both the 800 meters (1:46.18) and the 1500 meters (3:39.20 CR) and landed on the cover of Track and Field News. Sydney Maree won the 5000 meter championship at that same meet. On par with Delany, Sonia O'Sullivan was a prolific doubler. She won double gold (5000 and 10,000) at the 1998 European championships in Budapest and double gold (8K and 4K) at the 1998 World Cross Country championships in Marrakesh. Her win on day two at the 4 kilometer distance was actually easier (by 14 seconds) than her tight 3-second win over Paula Radcliffe at the 8 kilometer distance on day one. She was named 1998 Track and Field News athlete of the year for her efforts. Sonia also executed a double silver (5000 and 10,000) at the 2002 European Championships.
Vicki Huber also won two individual NCAA titles at the same meet, at the 1988 indoor championships. She won the mile in 4:31.46 and the 3000 meters in 9:05.67. She would repeat the 3000 title at the 1989 indoor meet as well. Finally, Carrie Tollefson was the first woman to win the 3000 and 5000 meter championships at an NCAA outdoor championship. She accomplished this feat in 1999 in Boise. She ran the 3000 meters on June 4 and won in 9:26.51. She came back the next day and won the 5000 meters in 16:09.51.

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