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Walt Murphy's News
Last Updated: June 2, 2003

Memories from Penn
Marty Liquori

Won nine Relays watches at Villanova from 1969-1971[3x2-mile, 4-mile, dmr]

In 1967, the first year that Penn enjoyed a synthetic track, Jim Jackson (Boys, NY) and Marty Liquori (Essex Catholic, NJ) were two of the hottest preps around. Jackson had anchored Boys to the Penn distance medley title in 1966, and had a 35-yard lead on Liquori when he got the baton in 1967. Liquori went after his rival, going through the first 1/4-mile (it was still a 440-yard track at the time) in about 61 seconds, while his coach, Fred Dwyer, yelled out "64!". "I guess Freddie didn't want me thinking I had gone out too fast", said Liquori, whose previous mile best was 4:13.

The ruse continued through the next two laps. When Marty heard 3:13(or thereabouts) for the 3/4-split, he thought, "Oh, man. I better start kicking." Kick he did, running 4:04.4 to win going away and leading Essex to a National Record of 10:05.6. Jackson, who had gone out too fast, faded to 5th, but came back the next day to lead Boys High to the 2-mile relay title. Liquori's split would stand as the fastest at Penn for 30 Years until Ireland's Garreth Turnbull ran 4:02.9 for a 1600 anchor in 1997.

Marty recalls his Villanova days at Penn: "I remember taking styrofoam cups and taping then together so I could step on them with my spikes and be able to jog in the pen which was asphalt. It was always a battle with (head clerk) Henry Mancini to see how late I could check in. The great story about Jumbo Elliott(the legendary Villanova coach) which I realized recently was not a one time occurrence is....he would tell a runner he knew was a nervous type to wear their running clothes in case someone got injured. Then about 30 minutes before the race he would tell them they were running (which Jumbo had planned on all along)."