Franklin & Marshall mile-relay team 1970

In this file photo from 1970, F&M track & field coach Bill Iannicelli holds the first-place plaque from the Penn Relays as his mile-relay team of, from left to right, Henry Bennett, Roger Wible, Phil McClain and Buzz Burrows looks on.

Fifty years ago the Franklin & Marshall College men's track & field team was a member of the Middle Atlantic Conference. With that in mind, F&M apparently wasn't expected to do much in the mile-relay event of MAC teams at the 1970 Penn Relays.

F&M coach Bill Iannicelli even said he expected a placement somewhere in the third through fifth place range. But the Diplomats ran through the rain in 3 minutes, 23.2 seconds to win the event. At the time, it was the first win for F&M at the Penn Relays since 1965.

Coming into the event, the Dips hadn't run the mile-relay in under 3:30, even in good weather.

"I was surprised by that time," Iannicelli was quoted saying in the Lancaster New Era on April 28, 1970. "I thought we could run a 3:27, maybe even a 3:25, but 3:23.2 was more than I hoped for."

The team was made up of runners Buzz Burrows, Phil McClain, Roger Wible and Henry Bennett. The sophomore Bennett ran his anchor quarter-mile leg in 48.9 seconds at Philadelphia's Franklin Field.

Iannicelli, by the way, was a former F&M's first track & field student-athlete to earn All-American honors in 1946, earning the distinction in the javelin - he later qualified for the 1948 Olympic trials.  In his 35 years F&M's head track coach, his record was 271-94, with three Middle Atlantic Conference titles, five All-American athletes and a streak of 88 consecutive dual meet victories. He was also the Diplomats' cross country coach for 21 years, compiling a 217-54 record, two Middle Atlantic Conference titles and featuring five All-American athletes. The F&M Athletic Hall of Famer died in late 2011 at age 87.