Ward Wilson, too ill to train this week, raised both his spirits and those of Maryland's struggling track team by winning the long jump with a personal best of 25 feet 5 inches today in the Atlantic Coast Conference Track and Field Championships.
Adding a 2-3-4 finish in the shot put and a 3-4 effort in the decathlon, the Terrapins amassed 38 points after six events. But Clemson and North Carolina State so dominated qualifying trials on the track that it became apparent one of those schools would succeed to Maryland's title on Saturday.
The Tigers won the javelin, shot put, steeplechase and 10,000-meter run to take the lead with 69 points entering Saturday's 14-event windup. N.C. State, with British freshman Fidelius Obikwu taking the decathlon, shared second place with Maryland.
Wilson, a senior from Winston Churchill High in Potomac, added eight inches to his previous best jump and in the process equaled the ACC meet record set here in 1977 by Maryland's Dennis Ivory. Officially, however, it was termed wind-aided at 6.9 mph, one of the few jumps taken with the modest wind above the legal 4.473 mph.
"I had a virus this week, my legs were weak and I had trouble breathing, so I couldn't work out and I rested instead," said Wilson.
"We made some technical changes this year," said Bill Goodman, Maryland's horizontal jumps coach. "He's always had a good run and good spring, but he's had a problem getting into the jump. He can be one of the best in the country, if he'll put the work in. I think we convinced him time was getting short."
Per Kristoffersen won his 1,500-meter semifinal in 3:55.11 and Ray Oglesby won his 800-meter semifinal in 1:49.87, to give Maryland some solace on the track. Chris Person, forced out of the high hurdles by a slight injury to his right leg, ran the 400 meters instead and qualified in 48.38. If the leg holds up, he will run the 400, the intermediate hurdles and the mile relay Saturday within 75 minutes.
While this is an eight-team meet, only four schools are competitive in most events, and in the five that required trials today Clemson and N.C. State advanced 10 runners each to Saturday's finals, compared to Virginia's eight and Maryland's three.
Hans Koeleman, a Clemson junior from Holland, reduced his meet record in the steeplechase by more than five seconds, clocking 8:35.5.
In one of the more remarkable efforts of the day, Virginia's John Hinton placed fourth in the grueling steeplechase, then returned 80 minutes later to win his 800-meter semifinal in 1:50.36.
Jack Harkness, Clemson's Canadian transfer from Southern Methodist, won the shot put at 57-7. He was followed by Maryland's Al Baginski (54-7 1/2), Greg Rowe (54-4 3/4) and Scott Vrabel (53-9 1/4).