Evelyn Ashford proved she is the best tonight. Ashford conclusively regained her indoor 60-yard record, defeating pretender Jeanette Bolden in the process, at the 94th U.S.A. Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Joan Hansen, in the two mile, and Chandra Cheeseborough, in the 220-yard dash, ran indoor bests as the women upstaged the men in the nationally televised competition at Madison Square Garden. Americans recognize indoor times as records; they are not accepted by the International Amateur Athletics Federation.
The best male performance came in the afternoon, before a few hundred spectators, as Carl Lewis long jumped 28 feet 3/4 inch, a quarter-inch off his indoor record.
Billy Olson won the pole vault at 18-6 1/2, brushing the bar with his arm in a try at a record 18-10. Olson cleared the winning height on his fourth try, successfully protesting his third miss because the standards were not placed according to his wishes.
Ashford overtook Bolden to win in 6.54 seconds, then ran back up the Garden straightaway, waving to the crowd. Her display of emotion was in marked contrast to her reaction to victory a week ago in San Diego, when she grumped, "Indoors don't mean diddly."
That was after a farcical race, in which Ashford obviously false-started and three others, including Bolden, pulled up, only to have a recall shunned and Ashford awarded first place in 6.48. That time is unlikely ever to be accepted as a record.
Besides officially protesting the San Diego race, Bolden had beaten Ashford four times this year and lowered the indoor mark to 6.60 Jan. 30 in Dallas. "This was the most important meet to get this," Ashford said.
Hansen fought off Brenda Webb and Margaret Groos as all three went under fourth-place Francie Larrieu's indoor record of 9:38.1, Hansen clocking 9:37.03.
Cheeseborough, who annually breaks the 220 record here, did not even wait for the final this year. She was timed in 23.25 seconds in a semifinal, reducing her 1981 mark by two-hundredths of a second. She won the final in 23.46.
Marita Walton, University of Maryland junior from Ireland, retained her shot put championship and regained her national collegiate record with a heave of 55 feet 11 3/4 inches on her third of six attempts. Competing for only the second time this winter, Walton added almost 20 inches to her previous best and boosted by 9 1/2 inches the collegiate mark held by Arizona's Meg Ritchie.
""I'd like to break 60 feet by next year and in the long run I want to compete in the Olympics," Walton said.
Another Washington-area winner was Fred Sowerby, the track coach at Maryland-Eastern Shore, who captured his third 600-yard title by fighting off Stanley Redwine in 1:09.50. Sowerby, a native of Antigua who recently became an American citizen, also qualified for his first U.S. team, to compete against Great Britain in Cosford, England on March 13.
The prestigious mile was divided into two sections to avoid trial heats. The winner of the "slow" race, Jim Spivey, clocked 3:57.04 to gain first place over Tom Byers, who took the featured section, booed for its dreary early splits, in 3:57.77.
Don Paige sprinted from gun to tape to capture the 1,000-yard run in a meet-record 2:05.81 for his first U.S.A. Indoor Championships title.
One of the most amazing developments of the afternoon program took place precisely at noon, as Veronica Bell boosted the American indoor long-jump record to 21-11 3/4.
Bell, a 6-foot junior at Cal Poly-Pomona, had not done better indoors than 19-10 1/4 or 20-6 1/4 outdoors and was not ranked among the top 10 American women in the event.