A year ago, Howard needed a victory in the concluding mile relay just to claim one title in its Howard Relays. Today, the Bison figure to fill a trophy case with their spoils from the third annual track and field event at Howard University Stadium.

All-America Richard Massey, one of the nation's best quarter-milers, is scheduled to run five events for the powerful Bisons. In addition to the 440, he will handle legs on four relay teams - 440, 880 mile and sprint medley.

Twenty years ago people like Massey were called cindermen by desperate headline writers, but that term's disappearance was merely one benefit of the development of composition tracks. It can be revived today, however, since both the Howard Relays and the Maryland-Navy duel meet at Annapolis will contested on cinders.

Still, a team that won by 115-38 in 1976 does not need to worry much, despite the unfamiliar surface. And Maryland appears even stronger this year with the addition of such stars as sprinter Andre Lancaster and shot putter Ian Pyka.

Pyka is the chief obstacle to a triple by teammate Tom Anderson, who looks much the best in the hammer and discus. Another three-event Terrapin is John Davenport, whose 25-91/2 long jump set the record for Navy's Thompson Field in 1975. Davenport also will contest the 100 and the 440 relay today.

One of the most competitive events is the javelin, matching Maryland's 257-footer, Jim Kirby, against capable Mids Frank Delape and Dave Barile. In the hurdles, the Terrapins' Greg Robertson is favored over Navy specialists Tony Campbell, highs, and Bob Groh, intermediates. The mile pair Maryland's Tony Garner with Mid Mark Fisher, and both relays should be close.

The most competitive event at Howard figures to be the 440 relay with the Bison quartet of Gosnell White, Reggie Sojourner, Massey and Ernie Waiters battling strong teams from Norfolk State and defending champion Morgan State.