Abdi Abdi became George Mason University's second NCAA outdoor track titlist this year when he won the 1,500 meters today at the NCAA championships at the University of Texas.
Abdi, who joined decathlete Rob Muzzio as an NCAA winner, took control of the race with 200 yards left and beat Timothy Hacker of Wisconsin and Arkansas' Paul Donovan by 10 yards. Abdi's time was 3:41.62, followed by Hacker in 3:42.66 and Donovan in 3:42.85.
"We were ready for a fast-paced race and it was kind of slow, instead," said Mason Coach John Cook. "I was surprised (the other runners) let it get down to a kick to the finish; that's where Abdi is strongest."
Abdi is a sophomore from Somalia in East Africa.
The team championship was won by Arkansas, helped by Olympic silver medalist Michael Conley, who recorded the third-best triple jump ever.
Arkansas thus became the first school other than Texas-El Paso to win the triple crown of collegiate track -- capturing the cross country, indoor and outdoor meets in the same academic year. The Razorbacks closed out the meet with 61 points to Washington State's 47.
"Before the meet, I thought 60 points would win it," Arkansas Coach John McDonnell said. "And that's what we got."
Oregon won the women's title with 52 points.
Conley overcame the heat and gusty winds that swirled inside Memorial Stadium to leap a wind-aided 58 feet 1 3/4 inches.
That performance has been topped only by the world-record effort of 58-8 1/2 by Joao Oliveira of Brazil in the rarefied atmosphere of Mexico at the Pan American Games 10 years ago and a leap of 58-5 1/4 by England's Keith Connor in 1983 at Brisbane, Australia.
Conley's jump came early in the afternoon, with only about 200 people in the huge stadium.
Arkansas' Roddie Haley scored an impressive victory in the 400 meters while teammates Bill Ja-sinski finished third in the high jump, Marty Kobza fifth in the shot put and Paul Donovan second in the 1,500.
Haley ran the second-fastest time in the world this year in the 400, holding off Nigerian Sunday Uti of Iowa State with a clocking of 44.70.
The strong south winds assisted the runners in the sprints and one of those helped the most was Rhonda Blanford of Nebraska, who ran the fastest time ever by an American in the women's 100 hurdles -- 12.70.
Terry Scott of Tennessee won the men's 100 in 10.02, but that race, too, was aided by wind.
Other winners in the women's events were Iris Gronfeldt of Alabama in the javelin (187-8), Katrena Johnson of Arizona in the high jump (6-4 1/2), Esmeralda Garcia of Florida State in the triple jump (43-7 1/2), Regina Cavanaugh of Rice in the shot put (56-7 1/2) and Sherri Howard of L.A. State in the 400 (59.95).