It was ladies' night at the 73rd Millrose Games, with Mary Decker providing the biggest thrill as she set a world indoor record of 4:00.8 for 1,500 meters.
Stephanie Hightower chipped in a world indoor mark of 7.47 seconds for the 60-yard high hurdles and Joni Huntley looked better than ever with an American indoor record high jump of 6 feet 4 1/4 inches.
Decker flirted with the four-minute mark while the record crowd of 18,310 sttod and cheered her around the new, lightning-fast fiberglass track. Decker's time shattered Romanian Natalia Maracescu's old mark of 4:03.0, cut nine seconds off Francis Larrieu's American record and bettered Jan Merill's American outdoor standards by 1.8 seconds.
"I went out too fast and I panicked when I heard the split (60.3)," Decker said. "I wasn't sure of the pace because of the small track, but the crowd seemed to push me along.
"The main thing was just to keep going. I couldn't count on myself because I was tired. I just got back from New Zealand Tuesday night and then I had to come in here yesterday."
Decker had set a world outdoor mile record in New Zealand and she competed here only to run against Merrill and Larrieu. But she wound up running against the clock, because Merrill switched to the 800 and Larrieu stayed home.
Maryland sophomore Chris Person added an extra hurdle tonight, but still overcame his coach, Fred Sowerby, and a legend, Lee Evans, to win [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] Kane contended that Moscow has [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE] the Mel Sheppard 600-yard run.
Person's time of 1:09.4 erased Evans' 8-year-old meet record by half a second and he posted it despite misjudging the finish line.
"I lost track of the finish line and raised my hand at the wrong time," Person said. "I was so pysched up, with the big crowd (18,310) and all, that I didn't realize what was going on until the finish. I didn't have any strategy. I just wanted to place high."
Trinidad Olympian Mike Soloman first took the lead, then lost it to Evans, a reinstated pro who won the 400-meter gold medal at Mexico City in 1968. As Evans faded, the unbeaten Sowerby raced into the lead and seemed destined to win again.
Person, running indoors merely to sharpen himself for the outdoor intermediate hurdles, accelerated around the last turn, however, and led to the finish, despite his early salute. Person, Solomon (1:09.7) and Sowerby (1:09.8) all bested the meet record of the graying Evans, who finished in 1:11.6.
"I was happy to run against Evans, because of his past record, and I was glad to beat Fred, because he's been needling me about winning all the time," Person said. "But he's going to be needling me even more for raising my hand at the wrong time."
The much publicized Wanamaker Mile proved a dud, with Eamonn Coghlan holding off Don Paige in 3:58.2. John Gregorek of Georgetown was expected to set the early pace, but instead he trailed Craig Masback through a 63.5 opening quarter, more than three seconds slower than Decker's first 400.
When Gregorek moved in front, he failed to speed things up to threaten any records and the crowd, so gallant toward the women, responded with jeers.
Billy Martin, a provisional entry moved into the starting field by a series of withdrawals, won the 1,000-yard run in 2:06.8, with Jim DeRienzo of Georgetown second and Greg Canty of Virginia third.
As his nemesis, Renaldo Nehemiah, watched a few feet away from the start with a walking case on his left foot, Greg Foster captured the men's 60-yard high hurdles in 7.05, good time but no threat to Nehemiah's meet record of 6.90.
Foster trailed until the last two hurdles, when he spurted to overhaul Lance Babb, a reinstated professional who finished second in 7.16.Dedy Cooper was third, James Walker fourth. Rod Milburn, the 1972 Olympic champion, was eliminated when he placed third in his semifinal in 7.31.
Madeline Manning, the 1968 Olympic 800-meter champion, made another come back at age 32 and overhauled Robin Campbell on the last turn to win her specialty in 2:05.6. That was a Garden record, but only three-tenths of a second faster than Decker's split in the 1,500.
Earl Bell won the pole vault at 18 feet, Franklin Jacobs took the high jump at 7-5 and Bert Cameron captured the 500-yard run in 56.0, wiping out Larry James' 12-year-old meet record.
Houston McTear's start was so sensational that he led the 60-yard dash final by five yards after the first 10. McTear won for the third straight year in 6.17, with Texas A&M football star Curtis Dickey second in 6.25.
Brenda Morehead won the women's 60 in 6.78, the same time she posted in last year's victory. Tennessee State teammate Chandra Cheeseborough was second with Maria Parsons of Morgan State third.