Suleiman Nyambui has ended his collegiate career with the most individual titles in NCAA track history.
Nyambui's last race Saturday in the NCAA Track and Field Championships at Brigham Young was his third straight triumph in NCAA 5,000-meter runs. Friday, Nyambui won the 10,000 meters for the fourth time. Nyambui's double victory helped Texas-El Paso to its fourth straight team title.
Nyambui brought his NCAA individual championships to 15, surpassing the mark of 11 set by Washington State distance runner Gerry Lindgren. Nyambui won seven indoor titles, seven outdoors and one cross country championship.
Only two other athletes have won an event four straight years, Scott Nielson of Washington in the hammer throw and Steve Prefontaine of Oregon in the three-mile.
"Suleiman is a rare, rare athlete," said UTEP Coach John Wedel. "He never complains about anything. He runs whatever we ask him to run and even though he's a foreigner, he has a strong feeling for the team."
Nyambui, 29, from Tanzania, is part of a star-studded international team of UTEP Miners. They finished with 107 points, easily defeating Tennessee with 94 and Washington State with 85. UCLA won the women's championship.
"This is the way I wanted to end my career," said Nyambui, who started waving to the crowd with more than 100 meters to go in both races. "I wanted to leave the same way I came--with a victory."
It was a disappointing meet for most of the Washington-area participants. Georgetown's John Gregorek failed in his attempt to win the 1500 meters, finishing second. Howard's 1600-meter relay team, which set a collegiate record in the trials Thursday, ran a disappointing fourth in Saturday's final.
Navy's Leo Williams, defending champion in the high jump, leaped a personal best 7-6 1/4, but it could get him no better than fourth. "I did the best I could, but the competition was steep," said Williams. "I'll be back, though."
Gregorek used a furious kick to get the place behind Indiana's Jim Spivey, winner in 3:45.42. Gregorek was clocked in 3:46 and Maryland's Per Kristofferson was a surprising fourth in 3:47.71.
One capital-area runner did have a big meet: Tennessee's Benita Fitzgerald, from Gar-Field High School in Woodbridge, Va. She won the 100-meter hurdles and came in second in the 100-meter dash to help Tennessee to second place in the women's competition.
Southern Methodist's Keith Connor recorded the second longest triple jump in history Saturday, 57 feet 7 1/2 inches.
Seven NCAA records were set in the high altitude, even though the final day was raked by gusty winds, rain and temperatures in the 40s.
The records: SMU'S Robert Weir in the hammer (240-9); Milt Ottey and Del Davis of UCLA in the high jump (7-7 1/4; Ottey won on fewer misses); Houston in the 400-meter relay (38.53); Tennessee's Mike Miller in the 200 meters (20.15 in the trials); Howard's 1,600 relay team( 3:02.66 in the trials); Connor in the triple jump, and Houston's Stanley Floyd in the 100 meters (10.03).
It was a good meet for football players, even if Georgia's Herschel Walker did fail to qualify for the 100 final. Arizona tailback Vance Johnson won the long jump at 26-11 1/4 and Tennesee wide receivers Willie Gault and Miller ran two-three in the 100. Gault also got second in the 110-meter high hurdles and Miller third in the 200.
The biggest uproar came from the coaches, who, as a group, were not in favor of the new scoring system. Instead of only the first six finishers scoring points as in the past, there were 12 scorers in each event. In all lane races there was a championship final for places 1-8 and a consolation final for places 9-12.
The intent was to give more teams a chance to score. Instead, many competitors scratched from the consolation final and in some events, for instance the 800-meter run, the consolation winner's time was better than the championship winner's.