The sixth annual Maryland Track Classic yesterday was much like the five that preceded it. Thundershowers kept many fans home and most performances at sub-peak level for this late spring date, and the absence of Terrapin hurdling wonder Renaldo Nehemiah could not have helped the spirit of the meet, held at Byrd Stadium.
A few individuals did, however, enliven the affair. Maryland senior Ian Pyka established a meet record in the shot put and Chuck Hedrick of Florida Track Club did the same in the 1,500-meter run.
Pyka, who will be 23 next week, heaved the 16-pound iron 63 feet 4 1/4 inches to better the mark of 62-7 set by North Carolina State's Bob Medlin in the 1977 Classic. The 6-foot-1, 235 pound kinesiological science major set the record in the midst of a heavy downpour that plagued the first hour of competition.
"If I can throw under these conditions. I can throw in anything," said Pyka, whose personal best throw is a 63-7 effort earlier this season. "School's over and my throwing's starting to come around. I'm really working hard on my technique. A lot of guys rely mostly on their strength and size. I have some size, but I also have to rely on something else."
All of Pyka's throws were over 61 feet and two were over 63. The Terrapin senior plans to travel to California, possibly the Santa Barbara area, this summer to continue training for the 1980 Olympic trials.
No one came close to Pyka's effort. Joe Zeletniah of the New York Athletic Club was second with a 59-5 effort and Gary Williky of the Shore Athletic Club was third with a 57-5 1/2 measurement.
Hedrick zipped over Maryland's new polyurethane track surface in 3:44.0 for 1,500 meters to eclipse the 2 year old record set by Marine Denis Fikes by 4/10 of a second. Richard Schwartz of the Duke Track Club was second in 3:44.3 and Jeff Kramer of the Marines was third in 3:44.7.
Morgan State's Neville Hodge came close to the meet record in the 400-meter dash, clicking the distance in 47 seconds to miss by three-tenths. He also placed second at 200 meters behind D.C. International's John Christian, who won in 20.8.
Howard's Michael Archie breezed past Virginia's Chuck Brown to win his heat and the overall title in the 800-meter run (1:49.6), but the most exciting 800 heat contested was that feauring Georgia Tech's Greg Wade and Georgetown's Aubrey McKithen. Both were timed in 1:50.2 but Wade drew the nod at the wire and second place overall.
maryland's "Versturf" surface, which includes a sand base, was not trouble-free in the two hours of rain that were sandwiched around three hours of semiclear skies. The 400-meter hurdles became a risky business for Drexel's Lou Mastro, who dropped out midway through the race.
"I was about to step into the seventh hurdle and I hit a puddle and slipped out into the next lane. I could have used another spike right about here," said Mastro, pointing to the heel of his shoe. "On a day like today it's more mental than physical."
Nehemiah was present at the meet but did not participate after running in the Norman Manley Games in Kingston, Jamaica, on Friday and the Martin Luther King Games Saturday in Philadelphia. Another traveling Terrapin, hurdler Chris Person, was a late entry in the 800-meter run-using the name and number of teammate Jim Thornton-and finished 16th overall. He scratched out of both hurdle events after running Friday and Saturday. CAPTION: Picture, Ward Wilson of Maryland grimaces following a long jump of 22-4. He upped that to 23-2 1/4 for third place in the event. By Douglas Chevalier-The Washington Post