By EVAN SERY
Maryland Media Relations
Homecoming weekends at the University of Maryland are supposed to be about reuniting with friends, welcoming back alumni and reminiscing on sweet memories. For former members of the Terrapins track and field program, Saturday marked a true homecoming.
At Ludwig Field, current track and field members were able to connect with their team’s rich past, as members of the 1973 2-mile relay ACC championship team were honored. Runners from that team included Al Carey, Ken Umbarger, Ed Bailor and John Meehan.
Meehan ran the anchor leg on that winning relay team – a win that helped carry the Terrapins to the ACC indoor team title.
“I think I had about a 30-yard lead,” he said. “I do remember, from pictures that I have, that at the finish line there was nobody in sight up to the turn. So these guys that started it off did a great job of just handing me a lead that I didn’t want to lose.”
But the championship wasn’t the only significant thing that happened that day. As the saying goes, “records are meant to be broken.” The 1973 team posted a time of 7:41.4, which broke the school and meet record at the time, and 30 years later it still rings significant.
“I think about in terms of the importance for the program and for the athletes that are here now, what they can look back on as a legacy and what they can try to do in the future, especially now, going to the Big Ten,” Meehan said.
It was a well-deserved ceremony for the same alumni who helped fund the track and field program after the men’s cross country and indoor teams were cut by the University.
“I’ve been involved recently to help raise money to save the track team, and we were very passionate about doing that because we feel very grateful for the experience we had here,” said Carey. “I wanted to see other young people to be able to continue to have that experience.”
For his part, head coach Andrew Valmon works hard to carry on the link between the proud traditions of the Maryland program and his current student-athletes. Legacy and a sense of history are important components to his current program.
“It’s phenomenal because when you think about the program… this is the program, these guys and ladies,” said Valmon, who was also the head coach for the Team USA men at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and the relay coach for the 2013 World Championships.
“So for them to come back to get honored by Maryland Track and Field is a big thing for us. These guys have been tremendous, and we will follow their legacy.”