Alisa Harvey of Tennessee followed her game plan to perfection tonight and enjoyed an easy victory in the 1,500 meters at the 65th NCAA Track and Field Championships.
Harvey, who attended Jefferson High School in Fairfax County, Va., became the second Northern Virginia athlete to win a title here, after Eric Metcalf of Texas, an O'Connell High graduate, took the long jump Friday night.
Although there were no winners among athletes from Washington-area colleges, Terri Dendy of George Mason turned in a personal best of 52.12 for 400 meters tonight in finishing third behind Olympian Lillie Leatherwood of Alabama.
The men's team title went to Southern Methodist in unbelievable fashion. The Mustangs won the concluding 4x400-meter relay in 3:01.62, with Kevin Robinzine anchoring in 44.5, to edge Washington State by one point, 53-52.
The Cougars figured to wrap up their first outdoor crown earlier in the 5,000 meters, when favored Julius Korir needed to finish only fifth to put SMU beyond Washington State's reach. However, Korir had banged a knee in his steeplechase victory Friday and he placed seventh tonight in a blanket finish with less than two seconds separating third and seventh. That opened the door for SMU and the Mustangs charged through.
"We've been riding a roller coaster all week and I'm glad it ended up on an upstroke," said SMU sprint coach Ralph White after Roy Martin, a flop in previous races, took his team into the lead with a 45.7 third leg and Robinzine crossed the line ahead of UCLA's Danny Everett. Robinzine had picked up valuable points earlier with a third place in a great 400 won by Washington State's Gabriel Tiacoh.
Texas, with Juliet Cuthbert completing a sprint double, took women's honors with 65 points to 55 for runner-up Alabama.
In the two eagerly awaited confrontations on the men's side, Tiacoh in the 400 and Pittsburgh's Lee McRae at 100 meters posted impressive victories. Tiacoh pulled away from Arkansas' Roddie Haley in 44.30, fifth fastest of all time. McRae emerged from the 100 pack to win in 10.11 as Sam Graddy of Tennessee faded to fourth.
Harvey, 5-3 and 104 pounds, tried to double here and came in eighth in the 800 Friday despite a good time of 2:04.73. So when she ran the 1,500 as the favorite, she was competing for the fourth straight night, no easy test.
Harvey followed a leisurely pace behind Evelyn Adiru of Alabama and Tina Krebs of Clemson, then blew them away in the stretch.
Asked if it was an easy race, Harvey said, "Yes. It was a matter of sticking behind one or two of the best runners and hoping my kick would carry me through. I'd have to say it was a perfect race for me. Running the 800 was a bit of a gamble and I had to wonder about it at times tonight, because everybody was fresher than I was. But it worked out just fine. The time was slow, but I reached my goal of winning an NCAA championship."
Dendy showed a strong kick and real poise for a sophomore. Gervaise McCraw of Southern California quickly made up the stagger on the inside, but Dendy held form and ran down all but Leatherwood and Tennessee's Ilrey Oliver.
"I saw her [McCraw] come on and I felt kind of tense, but I was running off Lillie and she pulled me right past most of the others," Dendy said.
"Terri Dendy is to be commended," said Delaware State Coach Fred Sowerby. "To finish third in this meet with the short season the weather forces on us in the Northeast is remarkable."
Tiacoh probably would have recorded the best sea level 400 of all time if he had been outside Haley. Instead, he was in lane six and able to watch Haley, in seven, pulling away in the stretch.
McRae completed an indoor-outdoor sweep against Graddy, the Olympic silver medalist at 100 meters. McRae actually had more of a challenge from Missouri's Chidi Imoh and East Carolina's Lee McNeill, second and third in the identical time of 10.14.
Two Washington-area athletes turned in key relay legs. Robin Benjamin, a sophomore out of Central High in Seat Pleasant, Md., ran a 54.5 second leg to help Tennessee win the women's 4x400 in 3:29.35. Howard's quartet of Tisa Robinson, Cindy Ford, Connie Hitchcock and Janice Kelly finished fifth in that race in 3:33.98.
Chip Jenkins, a senior from Georgetown Prep, anchored Villanova in 44.8 as the Wildcats placed fourth behind SMU in 3:02.95.
Ken Flax of Oregon set a collegiate record of 257 feet in the hammer throw. Stephanie Herbst of Wisconsin completed a distance double by taking the 5,000 meters in 15:42.36. She won the 10,000 Wednesday.