Renaldo Nehemiah used an easy trip over the hurdles to finalize his summer travel plans today. Then he got a head start by racing to the airport and a flight to Sweden.
His sore right foot taped and his shoe modified to reduce the pain from a spike-induced stone bruise, Nehemiah appeared to wobble after clearing the first hurdle in the 110-meter final at the National AAU Championships. But he was flawless the rest of the way to retain his title in a meet-record 13.19 seconds.
"I wasn't concerned about the time," said Nehemiah, who owns the world record of 13.00. "I just wanted to win.There was a lot of pressure in this race, because it meant a spot in the World Cup (Montreal, Aug. 24-26) and the Pan Am Games (San Juan, July 1-15). I've had a great year and I didn't want to ruin it in the race.
"With all the excitment and everything, I forgot about my foot. Without the psychological incentive of Greg Foster (whose sprained ankle kept him out of this race), I had to really concentrate. Dedy Cooper seemed to be running well and a mistake on my part could have been costly."
Cooper, timed in 13.46, was the only runner within five yards of Nehemiah at the finish.
Nehemiah was almost as fast in his departure from the stadium, racing to the airport and the plane that will take him to meets in Sweden and Finland before his next U.S. appearance in Philadelphia June 30.
The women's 100-meter hurdles provided some excitment, too, as Deby LaPlante overcame a poor start to destroy the American record with a clocking of 12.86 seconds. Candy Young lowered the world junior record to 12.95 in finishing second. No American woman had ever gone under 13.10 until LaPlante ran a wind-aided 12.99 Friday.
"My start was terrible and I almost stumbled out of the blocks," said LaPlante, a student at San Diego State.
Mac Wilkins, the 1976 Olympic champion, came within 19 inches of the world record as he won a most competitive discus competition with a meet mark of 231-10.
Ken Stadel threw a personal best of 227-38 Norwegian Knut Hjeltnes hit 226, John Powell threw 220-11 and Al Oerter, the 42-year-old four-time Olympic champion, opened the event with a 217-8 toss that was good for fifth.
"I finally remembered who I was," Wilkins said. "I had some doubt about getting abck to world class. I had to make some changes in my technique if I was to improve and I have been playing around with my technique all season. It is starting to come together."
James Sanford set a meet record of 10.07 in the 100 meters, posting the best time of 1979. Harvey Glance was second after Houston McTear (hamstring pull), Clancy Edwards (sore thigh) and Steven Williams were eliminated in the semifinals.
Evelyn Ashford captured the women's 100-meters in 11.01 seconds after setting an American record of 10.97 in the semifinals. The old standard of 11.07 had stood since Wyomia Tyus ran it in capturing the Olympic gold medal of Mexico City in 1968.
Brenda Morehead was second, after posting a wind-aided semifinal time of 10.96.
Olympia Larry Myricks took the long jump at 27-2 with the aid of the wind and also posted a legal 26-11 1/2. The latter leap erased the stadium record of 26-11 1/4 that was a world mark when Ralph Boston did it in 1960. Olympia champion Arnie Robinson, slowed by hamstring problems, managed aged 25-2 1/2. Maryland's Bob Calhoun leaped 24-6.
Maren Seidler shattered her American can record in the shot put with a winning 62-79 She had four throws over 62 feet; nobody else reached 56.
Franklin Jacobs took the high jimp from Benn Fields on fewer misses after both cleared 7-4 3/4. Jacobs, despite a problem with tendinitis, had a close miss at 7-7.
Chris Mullen of Georgetown (2: 02.72) and Washington's Robin Campbell (2: 03.59) gained Sunday's 800-meter final. Jim DeReienzo of Georgetown reached the men's final in 1: 47.76.
Maurice Peoples of D.C. International qualified for the 400-meter final in 45.98, as Tony Darden posted the best qualifying time fo 45.66.
Maryland's Ian Pyka advanced to Sundayhs shot put final with 63-3, Dennis Ivory of the Terrapins qualified in the triple jump at 54-7 3/4, while Villanova's Nate Cooper advanced with 54-1 1/2.
Among the failures was America's best javelin thrower, Bob Roggy, whose 237-9 effort missed the final by three inches.