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When Art Schilling, the golf coach at the University of California at Riverside, heard that one John Mash, a junior majoring in business administration, had a six handicap, he invited Mash to try out for the team. Mash is now the No. 3 man and has lowered his handicap to four.
None of this would be particularly noteworthy except that John Mash is a retired Air Force colonel and is 52 years old. Thus, he is almost certainly the oldest intercollegiate athlete competing in the U.S. And not only that. When UCR Sports Information Director Bill Scott asked an NCAA historian to verify this fact, the historian said flatly, "He may well be the oldest ever to compete. We had a couple of football players in their 40s, but no one can recall anyone winning a letter when he was 50."
When Secretariat was sent to stud, there was some concern that the superb runner might prove to be an infertile sire. With his first crop of foals now two years old and beginning to race (page 68), that fear is long gone, but a new one has risen. Citation, the last Triple Crown winner before Secretariat, was pretty much a failure as a begetter of outstanding horses, and Seth Hancock, the master of Claiborne Farm in Kentucky, where Secretariat stands at stud, has told Bill Nack of Newsday, "I know I'm a fool to say this in a newspaper, but I don't have complete confidence in Secretariat. I just didn't like his foals the first year. One was swaybacked. One was over at the knees. Another was straight in the knees. One was very light-boned. One was real small. One was too big."
Hancock is much higher on the foals of Riva Ridge, Secretariat's stablemate, who won the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont in 1972. Breeders of thoroughbred horses like sires that put their "stamp" on their foals, certain characteristics of color, size and shape that are sort of a trademark of the sire. Secretariat's hugely successful sire, Bold Ruler, had this quality, and so apparently does Riva Ridge, whose foals tend to look like him. "The Secretariats were all different," Hancock said.
"Still," he went on, "I have seen some foals from his second crop, the ones that are yearlings now, that look very promising to me. I suppose it's everybody saying Secretariat is a living cinch that makes me worry he won't make it. There's no way he can do as well as everyone expects him to do."
For seven years the names Immaculata and Cathy Rush have been synonymous, but no more. Rush has resigned as women's basketball coach at the tiny (500 students) Catholic college in suburban Philadelphia, saying it is time to move on. She made up her mind to leave last fall but, unlike Al McGuire, requested that her pending departure be kept confidential to avoid putting pressure on her team.
Only 29, Rush said she was "physically tired" and "basketball saturated." She might have added "highly accomplished." She led her Mighty Macs to national titles in 1972, '73 and '74, finished second to Delta State in '75 and '76 and was fourth in this year's AIAW tournament; hers was the only team to make it to the final round in all six championships. Immaculata was the first women's basketball team to appear on national television—against Maryland in February 1975—and a few weeks later, along with Queens College, was the first to play in Madison Square Garden. Rush also coached the U.S. women's team to a gold medal in the 1975 Pan-American Games.
She moved the women's game from the punch-and-cookies, play-for-the-fun-of-it level to center court. Her assistant coach this season, Marianne Crawford Stanley, a former Immaculata All-America, says, "She took women's basketball out of the shadows and she put Immaculata on the map."