Dr. Heathcliffe Huxstable to Compete in Penn Relays
The 92nd annual Penn Relay Carnival has attracted its usual field of outstanding track and field athletes in the country.
Distance runners Sydney Maree and Marcus O’Sullivan will share Franklin Field with outstanding relay teams from Arkansas and Southern Methodist, along with thousands of high school athletes, Thursday through Saturday.
All of them may be upstaged, however, by a physican-athlete named Heathcliff Huxstable, who will be appearing at the Relays for the first time.
Huxtable, as portrayed by comedian Bill Cosby in the hit television series “The Cosby Show” and his entire TV family will be at the Relays April 26 to film a race that will be featured in an upcoming episode.
Cosby, a native of Philadelphia, has appeared at the Relays many times in the past, occassionally competing in a masters race, but this will be the first time he will be bringing his own cameras with him.
Five days before Cosby’s performance, however, the Relays will begin with two days of competition in the heptathlon and decathlon, before the bulk of the events get underway.
Maree and O’Sullivan are scheduled to participate in the distance runs Thursday night.
Maree, who is still rounding into shape after pulling his right hamstring muscle in January, has entered the Olympic Development 10,000-meter run and O’Sullivan, the leading performer in the mile during the indoor track season, will compete in the Olympic Development 5,000 meters.
Arkansas’ Roddie Haley and SMU’s Roy Martin will play prominent roles on their relay teams.
Haley, named the meet’s outstanding performer last year for running the 400-meter leg of the distance relay in 44.2 seconds, will again run the 400-meter leg for the Razorbacks.
Arkansas, the defending champion, will receive its chief competition from George Mason, Georgetown and Villanova.
“I think it will be a very competitve team,” Arkansas coach John McDonnell said.
SMU, with Martin, Rod Jones, Kevin Robinzine and Harold Spells, will be seeking to become the first college team to run the 4 x 400 (or mile) relay in less than three minutes.
The foursome recently ran a 3:01.07 in the Texas Relays, although the team was disqualified because a runner went on to the track to watch the race.
“We’d like to run under three minutes in the mile relay,” SMU assistant coach Ralph White said. “Our splits show we could.”
He said Martin has recorded a 400-meter time of 43.8 seconds, while Spells has run 44.8, Robinzine 44.2 and Jones 44.1.
Meet director James Tuppeny said such a performance would not surprise him.
“I think every record can be broken this year in the college level, in both the men’s and women’s races,” he said.