Sunday, December 5, 2010

Happy Birthday, Chris Mason

One of the rare Englishmen to run for Villanova, Chris Mason turns 62 years old today.

Chris was the 6th Villanovan to break the 4:00 mile barrier, running 3:59.9 in 1970. Mason was a stalwart of fine Villanova teams in the late 1960s and early 1970s, earning numerous All American certificates and Penn Relays watches. At the NCAA championship meets, Mason was 7th in the 1969 mile finals, 8th in 1970, and 5th in 1971 (each of these races was won by teammate Marty Liquori, thereby overshadowing a great three-year streak by Mason). Mason also competed in the 1971 AAU national meet, where he finished 4th, in a race also won by Liquori. In cross country, Mason was part of two NCAA title teams (1968 and 1970), and a third that finished second (1969). In the 1968 and 1969 races, he finished 36th overall, and in 1970 he came 23rd.

At the Penn Relays, Mason won 8 Championship of America titles. In 1969 Mason won three watches: (1) he teamed with Andy O'Reilly, Marty Liquori, and Frank Murphy to capture the two-mile relay in a meet record. (2) He ran the lead-off 1200 leg in the DMR, followed by Lamotte Hyman (400), Frank Murphy (800), and Marty Liquori (1600). Finally in 1969, (3) Mason wan the third leg of a Tom Donnelly-to-Dick Buerkle-to-Chris Mason-to-Marty Liquori four-mile relay. The next year in 1970 Chris again won three Penn Relays championships, in the same four events: in this meet Mason handed off three times to Marty Liquori, who again anchored all three wins. Finally, in 1971, Mason ran the third legs of the two mile relay and the DMR, collecting two more watches.

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