Georgetown's 3,200-meter men's relay team turned in the fastest time of the qualifying round today to claim a spot in the final at the NCAA indoor track and field championships.
Two indoor world bests were set on the meet's opening day. Pittsburgh sophomore Lee McRae established a world indoor best in the men's 55-meter dash final in 5.99 seconds, breaking the mark of 6.02 set by Carl Lewis in 1983. Tennessee's Sam Graddy was second in 6.05.
Arkansas sophomore Roddie Haley had a world indoor best in the men's 500 meters in 1:00.69, breaking the 1:00.85 mark of Florida's Clarence Daniel set earlier this year.
Kansas State's Kenny Harrison and Georgetown's Ray Humphrey fought a furious duel in the men's long jump before Harrison reached 26 feet 9 inches on his final attempt to win the competition.
Humphrey went 26-7 on his last attempt to claim first place and break his personal record for the second time tonight. But it wouldn't be enough for the Chelsea, N.Y., junior, who finished third at the NCAA indoor meet a year ago. Moments later, Harrison made his winning jump.
Georgetown's 3,200-meter relay time of 7:22.67 was a school record, eclipsing the mark of 7:29.36 set last season. The team of Michael Huber, Dennis Lee, Phillip Franshaw and Miles Irish held off a strong challenge from Penn State to win the heat. The Nittany Lions had the second-fastest time at 7:22.76.
"The first heat, in my opinion, was the poorer of the two, but they ran really fast," said Georgetown assistant coach Walter Krolman. "It the Georgetown time surprised me, but certainly all the teams in there were capable of it."
Virginia's 3,200-meter women's relay team also qualified for the final, claiming the third-fastest time of the preliminary round at 8:42.47. That was good enough to win the heat, but Nebraska and Florida both had better times in the first heat. Georgetown and defending champion Villanova also earned a spot in the final.
The performance pleased Virginia Coach Doug Williamson. "I thought we did exactly what we wanted to do," he said. "We wanted to come out first or second to establish ourselves for Saturday."
George Mason's Ibrahim Okash failed to qualify in the men's 1,000-meter run.
Navy's Ron Harris, an all-America in cross country, broke a school mark in the men's 3,000-meter run with a time of 8:00.00, but he missed the final qualifying spot by three seconds with his ninth-place finish.