For now, the Atlantic Coast Conference track and field title is being shared by Clemson and North Carolina State, each with 144 points. That is subject to change, however. The closest meet in ACC history already has seen its share of extracurricular competition.
For beginners, with two events left today, Clemson Coach Sam Colson conceded defeat to North Carolina State's Tom Jones.
At the conclusion of the 20th and last event, though, Colson sat drenched in the steeplechase water jump, surrounded by celebrating Tigers, while Jones was attempting to make up a one-point deficit by persuading officials to rule a tie in the high hurdles, where the first two men had the same time.
"I mis-scored the meet by 10 points," Colson explained later. "Then I heard over the loudspeaker that N.C. State had 10 less. I hope the final score is right. I'd hate to get this wet for nothing."
A half hour later, Colson learned the scoring was all wet. Jones finally discovered a mistake, not in the hurdles but in the high jump, where Maryland's Bob Smith incorrectly had been awarded second place over N.C. State's Kevin Elliott. Both cleared 6-foot-10 3/4 with three previous misses, as the scorer overlooked a failure by Smith at 6-6 3/4. When that result was altered to a tie, the team title also was deadlocked.
Then it was Colson's turn to pose a question. He protested the outcome of the 1,500 meters, in which Maryland's Per Kristoffersen drifted in front of Clemson's Wybo Lelieveld as he approached the finish line in first place. The referee, Bill Long, denied the protest and was upheld by the coaches, leaving Jones to comment, more than an hour after the last athlete had performed, "A championship is a championship."
An hour later, Jones filed one more protest, but this one must be decided at a future date, because the meet officials had left. It involved State's failure to score a point in the 4x100-meter relay, where a botched baton pass cost the Wolfpack the triumph.
State was in the lead approaching the last handoff, but anchorman Juan Nunez bobbled DeeDee Hoggard's pass. Clemson won the event and State apparently did not finish, creating a 12-point turnover. Jones, however, claimed Nunez had jogged across the line and just finishing would have given State an extra point, since there were only six entries. The finish sheet indicated merely that State did not finish.
Clemson's premature celebration came at the conclusion of the 4x400-meter relay, final event on the track, as Maryland's Ray Oglesby held off State's Art Jones for second place and Clemson's James Jefferson retained fourth despite the challenge of Georgia Tech's Tom Hind.
When the relay started, Clemson apparently had a three-point lead and needed only to maintain a one-place deficit behind State to win the meet.
"It's a whole lot more fun to have a conference meet where one team doesn't always win," Colson had said when he thought his Tigers had won. It wasn't much fun later.
Maryland, the champion in 25 of the last 26 years, was third today with 118 points.
The Terrapins' Al Baginski set a meet record of 189 feet 9 inches in the discus, adding almost three feet to his personal best despite a chipped bone in his left hand, suffered while playing basketball. Greg Rowe, third at 167-10, added 11 feet to his personal best.
Chris Person, fifth in the 400 meters, came back 25 minutes later and retained his 400-meter intermediate hurdles title, overhauling State's Frank Anderson to win in 51.7.
Virginia sophomore Greg Byers won the high jump at 7 feet and also placed second in the triple jump at 51-8, his best-ever effort and only two inches behind State's Arnold Bell.
Virginia's quartet of Eric Adderly, Leon Palmer, George Johnson and David Revelle took the 4x400-meter relay in 3:11.83 as the Cavaliers wound up fourth with 90 points.