Georgetown's John Gregorek and Howard's 1,600-meter relay team both failed in their attempts to win national championships today in a cold, windy and rainy Brigham Young Stadium in the NCAA Track and Field Championships.
Gregorek laid behind the leaders until the final 300 meters, but his finishing kick gained him only second place in the 1,500 meters, five yards behind winner Jim Spivey of Indiana. Spivey was timed in 3:45.42 and Gregorek 3:46.40.
Howard, which set an NCAA meet record of 3:02.66 in the trials Thursday, ran fourth in today's final in 3:05.65. Mississippi State won in 3:03.49.
The Bison were in good position after leadoff man Edward Simms ran a 45.4 leg. No. 2 Richard Louis gave the baton to Dave Charlton about three yards behind Mississippi State and Baylor. Charlton faded badly in the final 100 meters, however, and was passed by Villanova's John Marshall.
By the time anchorman Oliver Bridges grabbed the baton, the Bison were 20 yards back.
"I would have liked to have won the big one, but at least we have the record," said Howard Coach Bill Moultrie. "I thought we could have won. Simms got out extremely well, but that third leg did us in. He (Charlton) just didn't deliver."
Richmond's Sosthenes Bitok set the early pace in the 1,500, but going into the final lap and a half, the favorites, Spivey, Jim Hill of Oregon, Mark Fricker of Oregon State and Gregorek, made their moves.
Spivey led by five yards going into the final 300 meters with Gregorek 10 yards back in fourth place.
Around the final turn, Gregorek overtook Fricker and Hill and Maryland's Per Kristoferson passed Hill for fourth place. His time was 3:47.71.
"It was a very strategical race," Gregorek said. "I was trying not to go hard into the wind, but I waited too long. I didn't want to take the lead early because whoever was out there was really battling the wind. When we came off the last turn, the people who were there were the ones I expected to see."
In the team competition, Texas-El Paso won its fourth straight championship with 107 points, with Kenyan Suleiman Nyambui winning both the 5,000 and 10,000 meter runs. Tennessee was second with 94 points and Washington State third with 85.
UCLA won the womens' title.
Nyambui won the 5,000 for the third time and he won his fourth straight 10,000 Friday. Those seven individual titles puts him only behind Jesse Owens, who won eight NCAA championships.
Counting indoor track and cross country, Nyambui has won 15 NCAA races.
It wasn't a completely disappointing day for local runners, however, as Benita Fitzgerald, from Gar-Field High School in Woodbridge. Va., running for Tennessee, won the womens' 100 meter hurdles in 13.13. Her teammate, Benita Rattray, from Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Md., led the 400 meters until the final 50 meters when she was overtaken by Angela Wright of Florida State and Charmaine Crookes of UTEP.
The most impressive performance of the day came early in the afternoon before the wind, rain and cold set in. Keith Connor, a junior at Southern Methodist from Slough, England, recorded the second longest triple jump in history with a leap of 57-7 1/2, more than two feet farther than second-place finisher Eddie Loyd of Middle Tennessee State.
Connor's jump established NCAA meet, collegiate, United Kingdom and Commonwealth records.
World record holder Jolo Oliveria of Brazil jumped 58-8 1/4 in the 1975 Pan American Games.