Michael Carter of Southern Methodist made it six for six in NCAA shot put competition tonight, but the true hero of the Mustangs' first outdoor team championship was hurdler Roger Kingdom of Pittsburgh.
Kingdom, only second in the IC4A Championships two weeks ago, upset Tennessee's Reggie Towns and Willie Gault in the 110-meter high hurdles. That cost the Volunteers five points and left them with 102, to SMU's 104.
There was delicious irony here, for Kingdom, a high school football star in Georgia, had signed a Southeastern Conference letter of intent at Tennessee. He defected when he was told that spring football would take precedence over track.
When he visited Knoxville, Kingdom's companion was Gault, who cited a groin injury as part of the reason for his failures tonight in the hurdles and 100 meters, where he finished sixth.
"I first hurt it in the Tom Black meet (two weeks ago) running the relay, then I hurt it last night on the relay (4x100) when I leaned at the finish," Gault said. "I'm not making excuses, but I was struggling."
Although Tennessee collected 25 points in the 100, it had expected more, only to be deflated by the one-two finish of Alabama's Emmit King and Calvin Smith.
While the Volunteers were struggling, SMU got maximum output from Carter, triple jumper Keith Connor, javelin thrower Roald Bradstock and a courageous 4x400-meter relay team.
The 4x400 concluded the program and SMU needed to finish fifth or better to win, sixth to tie. After the first lap by injured Leslie Brooks, the Mustangs were eighth and last, 15 meters behind the seventh-place team. They gradually moved into contention and eventually finished fourth on some outstanding work by Russell Carter, Eric Josjo and Rod Jones, who anchored in an incredible 44.3.
"I can't say enough about the guts of this team," said SMU Coach Ted McLaughlin. "On Leslie Brooks' leadoff leg, his leg grabbed at the 200 mark and he almost had to stop, but that's the kind of kid he is. He's a 45-second quarter miler and he had a 48.2 tonight, but that 48.2 helped us win a championship."
Texas Christian won the relay in 3:02.09 with Howard sixth in 3:05.38. TCU also wiped out Howard's meet record of 3:02.66, set in last year's trials.
Carter, a 6-2, 275-pound middle guard whose track career was interrupted last year by football-related knee surgery, threw the shot 68 feet 7 inches to win his heralded duel with Dean Crouser of Oregon.
This was the third outdoor title for Carter, to go with three indoors. Crouser, the 1982 champion in Carter's absence, wound up third tonight at 67-5 1/2, behind John Brenner of UCLA (67-9 3/4).
"I wanted to keep my string alive and I'm real happy about this one," Carter said. "A lot of people didn't expect me to come back like I did. When I was rehabilitating, I was thinking about this meet. Last year was just terrible."
"I beat myself, really; I thought I could just go out and win it," said Crouser, who had set a meet record of 216-2 in the discus Friday night and was trying for his second straight shot-discus double.
Connor, a senior from England, retained his triple jump title at 56-7 1/2 and Bradstock, an English sophomore, earned 10 points with a third-place javelin throw of 264-7. The javelin champion, Einar Vilhjalmsson of Texas, embellished his winning performance by scattering the officials with a heave of 293-1 on his final attempt. Vilhjalmsson, a sophomore from Iceland, had set a meet record of 295-2 in Thursday's trials.
Bert Cameron of Texas-El Paso won the 400 meters for the third time in four years, running a swift 44.62 that missed his own meet record by .04. Cameron prevailed in 1980 and 1981, then lost a close finish to Kasheef Hassan of Oregon State a year ago.
Oliver Bridges of Howard, fully recovered from his heat-induced collapse of Thursday, finished fifth with an excellent time of 45.58. Bridges received fluids intravenously after the race and later came back to anchor the Bison relay team in 45.8.
Virginia sophomore John Hinton made a valiant attempt to steal the 1500 final, moving into the lead on the backstretch of the final lap and barely failing to hold off Arkansas' Frank O'Mara and Eastern Michigan's Earl Jones.
Hinton had the slowest qualifying time of the 14 finalists and would not have been in the race at all except that teammate Vince Draddy was disqualified on a questionable interference call in Thursday's trials. Hinton was timed in 3:41.08.
O'Mara, a senior from Ireland, won in 3:40.51. Kevin King of Georgetown, the early pacesetter, was ninth in 3:43.49. Joaquin Cruz of Oregon, who won the 800 Friday, withdrew from the 1500 because of an upset stomach.
The women's team race proved almost as exciting as the men's. Jackie Joyner, who got UCLA off to a fast start by winning the heptathlon Tuesday, came back tonight to place third in the long jump with a personal best of 21-7 1/4 and provide the 10 points that lifted the Bruins to victory. UCLA finished with 116 1/2 to Florida State's 108. Nebraska, with Merlene Ottey providing 43 points, placed third with 106 2/3.
The outstanding women's performance was turned in by Benita Fitzgerald of Tennessee, who set a collegiate record of 12.84 in the 100-meter hurdles.
"I wanted that record," said Fitzgerald, tapping her spikes on the concrete when she learned her time. "That puts me second all-time U.S. (Stephanie Hightower has run 12.79) and now I'm going to go for No. 1."
Ottey added the 200-meter title to her 100 victory of Friday. She needed a late lean to edge Florence Griffith of UCLA in 22.39.
Earlier, Griffith won the 400 in a meet-record 50.94, with Ottey third behind Easter Gabriel of Prairie View. Nebraska, with Ottey anchoring, had no chance to win the 4x100 relay, finishing second as Florida State raced to a collegiate record of 42.94.
"I'm very glad it's all over," Ottey said. "I was just praying for the 200 to be over with. I did great in all three races today, which makes me feel good."
Betty Springs of North Carolina State accelerated past Kathy Hayes of Oregon with 200 meters remaining and won the 5,000 in a meet-record 15:51.97. That gave Springs a double, since she won the 10,000 with a late kick on Wednesday. Martha White of Virginia finished seventh in 16:21.62
Disa Gisladottir of Alabama joined Vilhjarmsson as an Icelandic champion when she retained her high-jump title with a meet-record 6-1 1/2. Ann Bair of Virginia was fifth at 5-11 1/4, while Tamela Penny and Thea Ackerman, each of Mount St. Mary's, cleared only 5-10 and did not score.
Other women's records that fell tonight (16 of last year's 18 winning performances were bettered) included Joetta Clark of Tennessee, 2:02.28 in the 800; Carol Lewis of Houston, 21-11 3/4 in the long jump, and Leslie Deniz of Arizona State, 209-10 in the discus.
Jeanette Kelly of Virginia was eighth in the 800 in 2:07.56 and Brenda Bailey of Howard placed eighth in the long jump at 19-10 1/4.