Todd Bennett of Britain surged ahead in the final straightaway and set a world indoor best of 46.56 seconds in the 400 meters at the 16th European Indoor Athletics Championships in Piraeus, Greece.

Bennett, 22, outkicked West Germany's Klaus Just in the last meters to better the mark of 45.60 set by East German Thomas Schloenebe last January.

Holland's Nellie Cooman was a surprise winner in the women's 60-meter, clocking a 7.10 to hold off favored Marlies Goehr of East Germany (7.13).

Eastern Bloc athletes dominated women's events, led by Romanians Doina Melinte, who set a meet record in the 1,500 meters (4:02.54); Ella Kovacs, who won the 800 meters (2:00.51), and East German Marita Koch, who won the 200 meters (22.82).

In the pole vault, Sergej Bubka of the Soviet Union won by clearing 18 feet 8 1/4 inches, but failed to top Frenchman Thierry Vigneron's world indoor best of 19-2 1/4. Vigneron missed at 18-4 1/2 and finished last . . . .

Villanova won the ECAC women's college track championships for the second straight year by winning five events at New Haven, Conn.

George Mason finished with 34 points, Maryland 21, and Georgetown nine.

George Mason had three second-place finishes: Phyllis Addison in the shot put with 45-1 1/2, Debbie Rogozinski in the weight throw, 45-5 1/2; and Nina Gage in the long jump, 19-6. Gage was also third in the triple jump with 39-6 1/2. Mason was fourth in the distance medley relay, 11:51.76 . . .

Louise Mallet, a senior at Catholic, won the 1,500-meter run in 4:44.8 at the ECAC Women's Division III track meet at Tufts College. Mallet, a graduate of Rockville High School, earned a bid to the first round of NCAA competition, which begins Friday at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.