World record-holder Steve Lundquist, battling the altitude as well as an Olympic-caliber field, outdueled John Moffett tonight to win the 100-meter breaststroke at the National Sports Festival.
Lundquist's come-from-behind victory highlighted the first heavy day of competition at the Festival, which was spiced by a brief hailstorm that disrupted outdoor events at the Air Force Academy.
In addition to Lundquist's triumph, a dozen boxers came within one victory of capturing a berth on the U.S. Pan American Games team and Wendy Wyland enhanced her image as the country's best female platform diver.
Lundquist, 22, who has been one of the world's dominant swimmers for the past three years, was the heavy favorite to win the 100-breaststroke since he holds the world record in the event at 1:02.53. But halfway through the race he was almost a full length behind Moffett, who swims for Stanford.
Lundquist, fighting the altitude of 7,560 feet, overcame the deficit and posted a time of 1:05.34. Moffett finished in 1:05.92 and UCLA's Bill Barrett was third in 1:06.03. All three were members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team that boycotted the Moscow Games.
In boxing action, Jesse Benavides--one of amateur boxing's most consistent performers--moved into the final of the bantamweight class with a narrow decision over Lupe Gutierrez.
Benavides said it was hard to get started in the bout because he and Gutierrez are such good friends.
"There was some hesitancy early in the bout for us to go after each other," said Benavides, 19, a television cameraman from Corpus Christi, Tex., who has moved up from the flyweight class this year.
Benavides' opponent in Tuesday's championship match is expected to be world champion Floyd Favors of Capitol Heights, Md., who will face veteran Robert Shannon of Tacoma, Wash., in a Sunday semifinal bout.
Among the other semifinal bouts, the Festival's youngest boxer, 17-year-old Todd Hickman of Akron, Ohio, decisioned Joe King of Washington, D.C., 4-1, in the flyweight division. The 12 winners on Tuesday night will all earn spots on the Pan American Games team.
Benavides' win was expected, but in an upset, lightly regarded Michael Nunn of Davenport, Iowa, surprised national Golden Gloves champ Frank Tate of Detroit in the light-middleweight division.
The crowd at the Air Force Academy booed Nunn's 4-1 decision. He was knocked down in the first round and appeared weary in the third.
"It was really a slip," said Nunn of the knockdown.
Al Evans of Chicago stopped defending super-heavyweight champion Craig Payne of Livonia, Mich., at 44 seconds of the first round. A right dropped Payne for the three-count, and the referee stopped the bout.
At 106 pounds, Paul Gonzalez of Los Angeles upset defending champion Bryan Jones on points, and in the 139-pound class Vincent Webb of St. Louis decisioned defending title-holder Jerry Page of Columbus, Ohio.
Wyland won a Pan American berth with her victory on the platform today, adding to her silver medal performance in the 3-meter competition earlier in the week.
She overwhelmed the opposition with 459.66 points to 410.46 for runner-up Megan Neyer. The top two finishers are from Mission Viejo, Calif.
"The platform has always been my strength," said Wyland. "But I am concentrating hard these days on the 3-meter. I'm glad I can dive in both at the Pan Am Games."
At the Broadmoor Ice Arena, David Fedor of Tonawanda, N.Y., took the lead in men's figure skating after the short program. In women's figures, Kelly Webster, the hometown favorite from Colorado Springs, held the lead.
And in women's softball, left-hander Michelle Thomas of Phoenix threw a no-hitter to pace the South to a 2-0 over the North. Thomas gave up five walks, but only two advanced as far as second base. She struck out three.