Neither gusty winds, nor injuries, nor the Virginia State Police could keep Maryland's track team from its appointed rounds today.
The powerful Terrapins rolled up 208 points - North Carolina was a distant second with 105 - to capture their 22d straight Atlantic Coast Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championship.
In a crushing finale for host Virginia, Maryland's Gerald Johnson made up a 20-yard deficit with a 45.9 anchor quarter to win the mile relay for Maryland.
"That's the damnedest mile-relay leg I've ever seen - fantastic," shouted Maryland athletic director Jim Kehoe. Kehoe yanked off his coat and raced onto the track to congratulate Johnson, a senior from Arundel High who was chosen the meet's outstanding athlete.
Johnson, who earlier won the 400 meters in 47.25 seconds, doubted his own ability to make up all the ground on Virginia's Jim Bruce when he took the baton from sprinter-hurdler Fletcher James. James was a fill-in for Mike Peniston, whose leg cramped in the 400, but even Maryland's second string was coming through today.
"At first, I didn't think I'd get him," Johnson said. "I didn't feel like running. I was still tired from the 400. But coming off the turn I thought I had a pretty good chance."
The heroes who gathered and waved Maryland state flags at the meet's conclusion were many. Brian Melly became the Terrapins' all-time high-jump king with a leap of 7 feet 2 inches. Andre Lancaster won the 200 meters with a wind-aided 20.96, anchored a record-setting 440-yard relay team (40.90) and placed second in the 100.
Greg Robertson set a record of 13.80 in the high hurdles, placed second in the intermediates and led off the 440 team. Dennis Ivory leaped 50 feet 8 3/4 inches, a personal best, to win the triple jump, completing a double after his meet-record long jump Friday.
"I don't think any Maryland team has ever had so many quality performances in one meet," said Terrapin coach Frank Costello, and nobody was prepared to dispute him.
Melly crased the school record of 7-1 1/2 held by Joe David as well as the 7-foot meet standard of Clemson's Ed Fern. Sherwood High grad Shane Stroup of Clemson was the first to clear 7 feet, but Melly matched him to maintain his lead on fewer misses. Melly managed 7-1 on his third try, then quickly topped 7-2 on his first attempt. Melly nicked the bar, however, and was out of the pit only a moment when wind completed the job of dismantling it. Officials ruled the jump good.
"I was sure concerned about that," Melly said. "I really wanted that 7-2. It's funny.Jim Kirby and I were eating lunch on Thursday and we both just happened to be talking about how we wanted the school records this week."
Kirby set a Maryland mark of 262-6 in winning the javelin Friday.
Robertson barely missed a triple, chopping his steps in the intermediates, hitting several hurdles and finally yielding to Virginia freshman Karl Williams when he thumped the last barrier with the two side by side.
"I should have won the intermediates," Robertson said. "I just haven't had enough work on them."
Robertson's glasses slipped off on the leadoff leg of the 440 and he reached No. 2 man Manny Rosenberg with glasses in left hand and baton in right hand.
One of Maryland's finest performances came from senior Rusty Rankin, who grabbed second place in the 1,500 meters behind North Carolina distance doubler Ralph King.
The remarkable thing about Rankin is that as a high school senior he could not even earn a spot in the Maryland High School AA first section, winning the second section in 4:28.Maryland teammate Dave Sandridge, 11th today after a series of injuries, set a state record that year with 4:08.0.
Besides Peniston's cramp, Maryland experienced one other mishap this weekend. Distance runners Mike Wilhelm and Dave Cornwell, after placing 3-4 in the 10,000 Friday, left the team bus on Interstate Rte. 64 to jog to a nearby motel. They were arrested as illegal pedestrians, issued summonses and ordered to appear in court.
The meet wasn't all Maryland. It just seemed that way. Mike Columbus of Clemson set a meet record of 188.7 in the discus, King added a meet mark of 14:15.87 in the 5,000 to his 1,500 triumph and Williams' victory helped Virginia place fourth with 74 points.