PHILADELPHIA, Pa.--A new class of inductees to the Penn Relays Wall of Fame was announced on Monday afternoon and Villanova will continue its unrivaled history at the world’s most historic track meet with both an individual athlete and a relay team among the Wall of Fame honorees. Distance runner Brian McElroy will be inducted onto the Wall of Fame for his accomplishments as both a scholastic runner and during his collegiate career. The women’s 1984 distance medley relay team of Mary Ellen McGowan, Veronica McIntosh, Patty Bradley and Lauren Searby will also be inducted.
The 123rd Penn Relays Carnival takes place from April 27-29 and the Wall of Fame inductees will be recognized during a ceremony on the back turn of the Franklin Field track during the final day of competition on Saturday, April 29. A full schedule of events for the week of the Relays will be announced in the coming days.
In celebration of both the Penn Relays and the NFL Draft simultaneously taking place in Philadelphia, Wildcats fans are invited to attend an informal meet-up in the upstairs loft at Field House sports bar on Friday, April 28 from 6-9 p.m. Field House is located at 1150 Filbert Street in Philadelphia. Appetizers and light fare will be provided, and a cash bar and drink specials will be available.
Villanova broke the world record in the women’s distance medley relay in 1984 with a winning time of 10:53.97. The record lasted four years until another Wildcats team broke it in 1988. The time recorded by McGowan, McIntosh, Bradley and Searby in the early years of the DMR remains the sixth-fastest time in the 37-year history of the event. Two of the three faster times on the all-time list came from Villanova teams.
The victory by the 1984 squad was the second Championship of America relay win for the Wildcats women’s program, and the first in the distance medley relay. Villanova has kept on winning ever since, and the program’s total now stands at 14 titles all-time in the DMR and a total of 37 Championship of America wheels. The program won 21 of those titles in a 12-year span from 1984-95, and more recently has incredibly produced seven wins in its last eight starts dating back to the final day of the 2013 Relays.
McGowan, McIntosh, Bradley and Searby were among the top performers for the Wildcats at a time when the program was in the early stages of an unprecedented run of dominance. From 1984-91, Villanova racked up a combined total of 11 Championship of America titles in the distance medley relay and the 4x800 meter relay. McGowan and McIntosh each added a second Penn Relays title in 1985 when they ran on the Wildcats winning 4x800 relay squad.
On the men’s side, McElroy starred at the Penn Relays as both a scholastic and a collegiate runner. He was a two-time winner of the high school mile while competing for Massapequa (N.Y.) High School, and he went on to run for New York A.C. during a college transfer year. During his Villanova career, McElroy ran on five relays that won Championship of America titles. He was a part of three winning relays in 1973 when the Wildcats swept the distance relay races, and added two more titles as a senior in 1974.
McElroy led off the distance medley relay and ran the second leg of the 4xMile relay in both 1973 and 1974, in addition to running the second leg of the two mile relay in 1973. He was a part of two meet records during his senior year, as Villanova won the DMR with a time of 9:36.6 and the 4xMile with a time of 16:10.6 in 1974. The time in the 4xMile stood for 10 years before being broken on conversion from a 4x1500 race.
Villanova set meet records in 1974 in both the distance medley relay (9:36.6) and the 4xMile relay (16:10.6). McElroy led off the DMR race and ran the second leg of the 4xMile, with the winning time in the latter relay standing as the record for 10 years before being broken on conversion from a 4x1500 race. The 1974 4xMile squad that consisted of McElroy, Tom Gregan, Eamonn Coghlan and John Hartnett was inducted to the Penn Relays Wall of Fame in 2005. Their winning time still stands as a school record by a margin of more than five seconds. In addition to his success at the Relays, McElroy was an indoor All-American in the 880 yards and the indoor IC4A champion in the 1000 yards in 1972.
The top honor for a relay team or an individual athlete at the Penn Relays is to earn induction onto the Penn Relays Wall of Fame, which is located on the back turn of the Franklin Field track. Inductees are added to the Wall of Fame each year during the Penn Relays in a tradition that began in 1994 with the 100th running of the Relays. Individual inductions can be based on an athlete’s accomplishments at the Penn Relays during their professional and/or scholastic careers.
Villanova has had eight men’s relay teams and three women’s relays inducted to the Wall of Fame, including this year’s addition of the 1984 women’s DMR squad. There have also been 22 individuals who competed for the Wildcats who have earned induction to the Wall of Fame, including 19 men and three women.
Below are career capsules for McElroy and the individuals on the women’s 1984 distance medley relay squad with accomplishments from each of their collegiate careers.
1971-74; Cross Country/Distance; Massapequa, N.Y./Massapequa High School
Competed in both cross country and the distance events on the track during his Villanova career … Helped set a still-standing school record in the 4xMile relay on April 29, 1974 at the Penn Relays … Ran the second leg of the relay, which won the Championship of America title with a winning time of 16:10.6 … The time was a Penn Relays meet record and stood for 10 years … No other time in Wildcats history has come within five seconds of the mark … The 4xMile team was inducted onto the Penn Relays Wall of Fame in 2005 … Five-time Penn Relays champion overall … Ran the leadoff leg of the distance medley relay and the second leg of the 4xMile in both 1973 and 1974, in addition to running the second leg of the two mile relay in 1973 … Part of Villanova’s sweep of the distance relay events in 1973 … Indoor All-American in the 880 yards and the indoor IC4A champion in the 1000 yards in 1972.
1980-84; Sprints/Jumps; Johnstown, Pa./Bishop McCort High School
Ran the 800 meter leg of the distance medley relay at the 1984 Penn Relays … Holds three school records, including the indoor 50 meter hurdles (7.54, 2/20/83), the outdoor 400 meter hurdles (56.26, 4/22/84) and the 4x110 meter relay (49.54, 5/10/81) … Seven-time All-American, including four times outdoors and twice indoors … Two-time All-American outdoors in both the 400 meter hurdles and the 800 meters … 12-time BIG EAST champion (10 outdoor, two indoor) … Named the Most Outstanding Performer at the 1983 outdoor conference championships and was selected for having the Most Outstanding Performance at both the 1983 and 1984 outdoor conference meets … ECAC champion in 1984 both indoors in the 800 meters and outdoors in the 100 meter hurdles.
MARY ELLEN MCGOWAN
1981-85; Cross Country/Distance; River Vale, N.J./Pascack Valley High School
Two-time Penn Relays champion … Ran the leadoff leg of the distance medley relay in 1984 and the first leg of the 4x800 meter relay in 1985 … Three-time All-American, including once each in cross country (1983), indoors (1984, 4x800 meter relay) and outdoors (1984, 1500 meters) … 12-time BIG EAST champion … Was the BIG EAST individual cross country champion in 1984 … Named the Most Outstanding Performer at both the 1983 and the 1985 indoor conference meets … Won the 1500 meters and the 3000 meters in addition to leading off the BIG EAST champion distance medley relay in 1983 … Also won the 1000 meters, the 3000 meters and again led off for a winning DMR team in 1985 … Four-time ECAC champion … Won the 1000 meters (1985), the 5000 meters (1984) and the distance medley relay (1984) indoors, as well as the 3000 meters (1984) outdoors.
1981-85; Sprints; Westbury, N.Y./Maria Regina High School
Two-time Penn Relays champion … Ran the 400 meter leg of the distance medley relay in 1984 and was the anchor of the 4x800 meter relay in 1985 … Ran on the Wildcats mile relay team which set a still-standing outdoor school record with a time of 3:46.03 on May 30, 1984 during the preliminary heats at the NCAA Championships … Two-time indoor NCAA champion, winning the 800 meters in 1984 and anchoring the 4x800 meter relay in 1985 … Seven-time All-American, including five times during the indoor season … 15-time BIG EAST champion (eight outdoor, seven indoor) … Named the Most Outstanding Performer at the 1984 indoor conference meet … Selected for having the Most Outstanding Performance at the BIG EAST Championships indoors in 1983 and outdoors in 1985 … Also a two-time ECAC champion, leading off the DMR in 1985 indoors and winning the 800 meters outdoors in 1984.
1983-87; Cross Country/Distance; Oyster Bay, N.Y./Oyster Bay High School
Won her only Penn Relays title in 1984 as the anchor of the distance medley relay squad … Was a two-time All-American during her collegiate career, with those honors coming in 1984 both indoors (1500 meters) and outdoors (3000 meters) … Seven-time BIG EAST champion (four indoor, three outdoor) … Anchored the Wildcats to conference titles in the distance medley relay indoors in both 1985 and 1987, in addition to winning the 1500 meters and the 5000 meters in 1984 … Won the 5000 meters at the outdoor BIG EAST meet in both 1985 and 1987, and ran the leadoff leg of the 4x800 meter relay in 1986 … Earned All-BIG EAST honors in cross country four straight years from 1983-86 … Five-time ECAC champion, including four times indoors … Won the indoor IC4A title in the 3000 meters in 1984 and was a part of three winning relays (4x800 relay – 1987; distance medley relay – 1985, 1987) … Won the 1500 meters at the 1985 outdoor IC4A meet.