Thursday, April 11, 2013

Villanova's 1969 2-Mile Relay & Michelle Bennett Elevated
onto Penn Relays Wall of Fame

Penn Relays Announces Wall of Fame Class of 2013
Written by: The Penn Relays Office
Release: 04/11/2013

PHILADELPHIA - The Penn Relay Carnival adds to the Wall of Fame, a Penn Relays tradition begun in 1994 at the time of the 100th running. The class of 2013, the 20th group of inductees, brings the number of individuals selected to 95, with 85 relay teams having been chosen. Four individuals and four relay teams were selected by a panel of Penn Relays experts. The sole restriction in the nomination process is that only retired athletes (or those now competing as masters) may be nominated, and inductees are honored solely for their accomplishments at the Penn Relays; achievements in any other meets are not considered. Any relay team may be nominated, and nominations of relay teams and individuals will be accepted by the Penn Relays office at any time and from any interested party.

Three of this year’s four individual inductees set notable records at the Relays. Brian Sternberg set a World Record of 16-5 in 1963, the most recent of the Carnival’s field event world records. DeHart Hubbard won the triple jump 1923, setting a national collegiate best in the triple jump which was not bettered for nine years. Alberto Salazar ran a Relays record in the high school 2-mile run in 1976 with a mark has been bettered only once at the Relays, and that by a national record in the 3000m. Michelle Bennett is one of the winningest collegiate athletes at the Carnival, having run on seven championship teams while at Villanova.

This year’s relay team honorees include the 1963 Fordham University 4-mile relay team, which is being honored on the 50th anniversary of setting a Carnival record. The team of Matt Cucciara, Norb Sander, Joe McGovern and Tom Kenney ran 16:42.7, the first time 17 minutes was broken at Penn and 29.0 seconds faster than the previous record.

The 1969 Villanova 2-mile relay team of Andy O’Reilly, Chris Mason, Marty Liquori and Frank Murphy set a 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.

The 2003 South Carolina shuttle hurdles team of Corey Taylor, Fred Townsend, Charles Ryan and Kenneth Ferguson ran 53.94 for the 4x120-yard distance, setting a collegiate record while still stands. The group was the perfect complement of four runners achieving more as a unit than as individuals, as they lacked the superstar prevalent on most great relays.

The 2004 Vere Tech girls’ 4x100-meter relay ran 44.32, a mark which is now in it’s ninth year of holding the Carnival record. The team of Indira Spence, Maris Wisdom, Sharneter Stewart and Simone Facey broke a meet record that had lasted six years, one set by an earlier Vere Tech team.

Michelle Bennett
Cardinal Spellman (Bronx) High School ’87; Villanova ‘91
One of the few women to have won seven relay Championship of America watches, Bennett was an important cog on several Villanova relay teams. She ran on four consecutive distance medley winners, and three straight 4x800 teams, anchoring the wins in 1989 and 1991. The 1988 DMR team is the first women’s team to claim three individual Wall of Fame inductees, as it included Vicki Huber and Kathy Franey.

DeHart Hubbard
Michigan ‘25
As a sophomore in 1923, Hubbard won a long jump-triple jump double. His long jump win of 23-10 ¼ was the fourth best in Carnival history at the time, but his triple jump of 48-10 ¾ was a Carnival record that would remain on the books through another 16 years of the event on the Relays schedule. Hubbard returned to Penn in 1925 and won the 100y, tying the meet record of 9 4/5.

Alberto Salazar
Wayland (Mass.) High School ‘76
A runner-up in the high school 2-mile run in 1975, Salazar came back as a senior and blazed an 8:53.7, nearly seven seconds faster than the former record and the first Carnival time under nine minutes. His mark has been bettered only once on conversion since the Relays switched to metric distances, and it was a national high school record in 1986 which managed that feat.

Brian Sternberg
Washington ‘63
One of the greats during the transition to fiberglass poles, Sternberg came to Penn in 1963 and set a pair of meet records. His clearance of 16-1 won the competition, but his 16-5 established a world record and his Carnival record lasted until 1971 A trampoline accident that summer ended a brilliant career highlighted by three world records, the first of which came at Penn.

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