By Jim Lambert for the Star-Ledger
April 23, 2013
The 1969 Villanova 2-mile relay team, featuring Marty Liquori, who starred at Essex Catholic and was the Cross-Country-Country Athlete of the Century for the Star-Ledge, and Andy O'Reilly, the co-head coach of the St. Joseph's of Metuchen cross-country team, will be inducted into the Penn Relays Wall of Fame this weekend.
The Penn Relays run from this Thursday through Saturday at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.
In 1969, Villanova's 2-mile relay team of O’Reilly, Chris Mason, Marty Liquori and Frank Murphy set a Penn Relays record of 7:20.1, a mark which was not bettered on conversion until 1977, the second year after the Carnival’s switch to metric distances.
This is the first men’s relay to be inducted which includes three individual Wall of Fame inductees: Mason, Liquori and Murphy.
In 1967, Liquori became the third American high schooler to break four minutes for the mile, running 3:59.8. At Villanova he was NCAA mile champion from 1969-71. He also won the AAU mile in 1969 and 1971. Later in his career, he moved to the 5,000 and won the AAU title in that event in 1975 and 1977-78.
Liquori won the Pan American Games 1,500 in 1971 and was second in the 1977 World Cup 5K. In May 1971, he faced American mile legend Jim Ryun in what was termed the "Dream Mile" in Philadelphia and defeated Ryun with a long sustained kick, winning in 3:54.6. Although he competed in the 1968 Olympics, injuries hampered his attempts to compete in 1972 and 1976.
Personal Bests: 880y – 1:49.2 (1975); 1500 – 3:36.0 (1971); Mile – 3:52.2 (1975); 2 miles – 8:17.12 (1975); 5000 – 13:15.06 (1977); 10000 – 29:08.9 (1978).
O'Reilly graduated from Bishop Reilly HS ( now St Francis Prep) in Fresh Meadows Queens in 1966. He set national indoor flat-floor records in the 600 yard run (1:12.9) and 880 yard run (1:54.8) on the wooden floor of the Armory running without spikes.
A teammate of Olympians Dave Patrick, Frank Murphy, Liquori, Larry James, Dick Burkle and Erv Hall at Villanova, O'Reilly ran on 2 NCAA championship teams, won 4 Championship of America relays and was on Villanova's world record setting indoor 2 mile relay.
O'Reilly's personal bests were 47.5 for 440 yards (relay), 1:48.7 for 880 yards and 4:09.1 for the mile. His most memorable occasion was anchoring the winning Sprint Medley team at the 1970 Penn Relays.