Darcy Arreola's seventh-place finish in the women's 1,500 meters at The Athletics Congress championships in Houston last Saturday appeared to have qualified the Cal State Northridge junior for the U. S. team that will compete in the World University Games in Duisburg, West Germany, in August.
But Arreola and Northridge Coach Don Strametz remain unsure whether TAC officials will award her the berth on the team. The qualifying criterion for the World University Games team seemed simple enough--the top two U. S. collegiate finishers in each event are selected. But debate centers on just who was the second U. S. collegian in Saturday's race.
Suzy Favor of Wisconsin was the top collegian, placing second in 4 minutes, 12.29 seconds behind Regina Jacobs (4:11.80) of Team New Balance.
But Alisa Harvey of Athletics West (sixth in 4:14.59) reacted after the race as if she was the second U. S. collegian, and not Arreola, who placed seventh in 4:18.35.
"Darcy and I both thought that she (Darcy) was the second qualifier," Strametz said. "But Harvey seemed to think that she was still eligible for the team."
There is no doubt that Harvey, the 1986 NCAA 1,500 champion, beat Arreola, but the question is whether she is considered a collegiate runner.
Common sense says no, but TAC rules may say yes.
Although Harvey completed her senior season at Tennessee in 1987, she is reportedly still enrolled in classes at the Knoxville campus and, therefore, could be considered a collegian.
"Apparently, there are some loopholes in the rules," Strametz said. "And the TAC isn't sure whether or not she is a collegian."
Laverne Sweat, the women's track coach at Norfolk State and manager of the World University Games women's team, is expected to make a ruling in the next week or so, according to Strametz.
"It will be disappointing if she (Arreola) isn't selected to the team. But if she's not, there's not much we can do about it," Strametz said.
Add Arreola: Although she may not know where she will be running in late August, Arreola is sure of her itinerary before then.
She will run the 3,000 at the U. S. Olympic Festival in Norman, Okla., (July 28-30) and will compete in the mile in the Jack in the Box Invitational at UCLA on Aug. 6.
Add Northridge: After the NCAA Division II championships in Hampton, Va., last month, Strametz said that juniors Arreola, Walt Stewart (men's high jump champion) and Lolita Pile (runner-up in the women's triple jump) might redshirt next season so that Northridge could make a respectable debut at the Division I level in 1991.
However, a decision regarding their 1990 seasons won't be made until January.
"All three of them will train as if they're going to compete for the school next year," Strametz said. "And when January rolls around, we'll see how things are going and make a decision."
Southern comfort: Tennessee freshman Tom Parker cannot say enough good things about the Knoxville campus and the surrounding area.
The former Notre Dame High standout loves backpacking in the Great Smoky Mountains and water-skiing on the local lakes. He likes the easy-going Southern pace and the friendly manner of the locals.
But Parker has a great distaste for the competitive atmosphere in the Southeastern Conference.
"The way they view track down here is completely different from the way they view it in California," said Parker, who pole vaulted 17 feet in high school. "The pole vault is a social event in California. You're out there in your beach chair, hanging out with the guys and competing.
"But here, other athletes won't even talk to you at the meets. They won't even talk to you once you get to town. They're just so intense and focused on what they're doing."
Parker, who hung a sign on his wall saying "18 feet or die" before the season started, never adjusted to that intensity during an unproductive season.
Although he cleared 17-6 in practice, his best in competition was 16-6, which he vaulted in three meets.
"Physically, I was in great shape, but I was never able to put it all together in a meet. I just wasn't comfortable with that cutthroat attitude," he said.
The situation got so bad in April and May that a homesick Parker considered moving back to California and training with his high school coach, Tim Werner, now an assistant at Cal State Northridge.
"A couple of months ago, I was real close to going back home," Parker said. "But I just decided to stick it out here. I didn't want to make a hasty decision after one year.
"I know I can vault 19 feet in the next two or three years. I know I have that in me."