Renaldo (Skeets) Nehemiah, the world's premier high hurdler, was back in Byrd Stadium yesterday wearing a familiar red and white uniform. But instead of clearing hurdles, he ran in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. And the uniform had the name of a shoe manufacturer pasted all over it rather than "Maryland."
But the biggest difference of all ocurred in the 100-meter race. Nehemiah finished second.
Nehemiah, who quit the Maryland track team after his sophomore year, was nipped at the wire by Terrapin Darren Walker (10.4) in the final at the eighth annual Maryland Track Classic. Nehemiah fell stretching for the tape and, although just shaken up, decided that was enough for the afternoon, withdrawing from the 200 final which was run just 10 minutes later.
Nehemiah maintained a low profile from the indoor track circuit this winter while taking the credits he needed to earn a degree in communications from Maryland. Most of his winter training was directed toward television's Superstars competition, which he won.
Nehemiah, a New Jersey native now living in Bladensburg and competing for the D.C. International track club, ran yesterday "to work on some speed" as he gears for his annual summer tour of Europe. He had no problems winning his heats in both the 100 and 200, missing the stadium record of 20.7 in the 200 by a tenth of a second.
In what should have been the most competitive event of the day, Maryland's Bill Theirfelder tied his meet record of 7-0 in winning the high jump. Disappointing were George Mason's Scott Dunham (second at 6-10 1/4) and Maryland's Bob Smith (fourth at 6-6), both of whom cleared seven feet as high school seniors last year. Dunham, a graduate of Central who has bettered 7-2 since then, said academic problems will induce him to transfer to Santa Rosa (Calif.) Junior College next season.
Ralph Spry of Anne Arundel Community College won both the long jump (24-1/2) and triple jump (49-5 3/4). Maryland's Al Baginski won the hammer (186-8) and the discus (182-10).
Ian Pyka, formerly of Maryland, broke his meet shot put record of 63-4 1/4 with a winning toss of 65-0.