Sydney Maree (far right)
Editor's note: For the ten days leading up to the Penn Relays, I will do a countdown of great Villanova athletes with the number of Penn Relays titles corresponding with the day.
Sydney Maree set a world record in the 1500 meter run, ran a mile in 3:47 seconds, held multiple American Records for more than 20 years, and made two Olympic teams for the United States, after his native South Africa was banned from the Olympics because of Apartheid, which is ironic in the case of Sydney Maree because as a black man, this represented the second time that he was victimized by the insidious Apartheid system. By the measure of the stopwatch, Maree is the greatest Villanova runner in history, holding virtually every school record above 1500 meters to go along with multiple NCAA records that still stand. From 1981, the year he graduated, until 2008, when Bobby Curtis won the NCAA 5000 meter championship, he was Villanova's most recent NCAA outdoor champion, a 27 year drought that gives me a reason to mention Curtis, who despite being one of the greatest Villanova runners in history across many distances was never able to win at Penn, showing just how difficult it can be.
Today, we celebrate Sydney Maree's seven Penn Relays championships.
Only one week left!