Hollis Conway, the U.S.-record holder in the high jump, looked around the high jump pit in the middle of the Mobil 1 Invitational yesterday afternoon and spotted the man he fears the most, Cuban world-record holder Javier Sotomayor.

"Anytime he's around, I'm terrified," Conway said. "I'm thinking, 'Why is he here?' "

So scared he nearly jumped out of his shoes, Conway overcame a nagging knee injury to beat the world-record holder for the second time in three days in one of the premier events of the fourth annual Mobil 1 track meet. Each jumped 7 feet 7 inches, but Conway won on fewer misses.

Just as Conway, of Southwestern Louisiana, met high expectations, so did 400-meter winner Michael Johnson, 800-meter winner Paul Ereng, women's mile champion Doina Melinte, 60-meter hurdles winner Greg Foster and 60-meter dash victor Andre Cason, among others.

Just as Sotomayor fell short of victory, so too did indoor 400-meter world-record holder Thomas Schoenlebe, top U.S. miler PattiSue Plumer and U.S. sprinter Daron Council, who beat Ben Johnson in Johnson's inaugural comeback race three weeks ago.

It was a day beautiful enough for an outdoor track meet, but a crowd announced at 5,200 gathered indoors nonetheless at George Mason University's Recreation Sports Complex to watch the meet, now a stop many world-class athletes won't miss while competing on the indoor circuit.

It was a meet without a world record (two U.S. records were set in the women's mile walk and masters mile), without some of the top names in the sport (Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Carl Lewis, Ben Johnson), without much fanfare or flourish. It was worthy of its place on television -- public broadcasting.

Coming up in the world of track and field are months of training and competition leading to the indoor and outdoor world championships, the Olympic trials and the 1992 Olympic Games. So yesterday, while some were in a hurry, most just wanted to get into the swing of things for the long seasons ahead.

Michael Johnson, the first man ranked No. 1 in the world in the 200 and 400 meters, chose the 400 here (it was an easy decision; there was no 200) and won it in 46.23 seconds, his fastest time indoors and a meet record, over Schoenlebe of Germany, who ran 46.38. It was Johnson's first 400 of the year; in the 200, he set a U.S. record last weekend.

"Being my first 400 this year, I thought I might just get in there and follow behind for a while," said Johnson, who recently graduated from Baylor University with a degree in marketing. "But today, I decided to take the chance and go out to the lead at the beginning. I ran like I had some experience. If I had not done that, I would not have had as good a time."

Speaking of good times, both veteran Foster and newcomer Cason ended productive weekends with impressive victories. They were the Millrose Games champions Friday night in their specialties and they did it again yesterday. Foster, at 32 a living and leaping legend, broke his meet record with a time of 7.45 seconds in the high hurdles. (His previous best was 7.48 here in 1988.) Tony Dees was second in 7.56 and Jack Pierce third in 7.71. These guys are consistent; that was their order of finish Friday too, only Foster ran three-hundredths of a second faster yesterday.

Cason, 22, won the 60-meter dash in 6.58 seconds, also three-hundredths of a second faster than his Millrose time. Council finished third for the second race in a row in 6.65 seconds, behind Ray Stewart (6.63).

"I'm pretty much known on the track and field circuit now," Cason said, "but I'm not known to the outside world. To the public now, I'm the guy who beat Ben Johnson {in Johnson's second race back, in Los Angeles}. With these two wins, I hope to be known as Andre Cason."

Ereng, the University of Virginia junior who won the Olympic gold medal in the 800 meters in Seoul in 1988, set a meet record with a winning time of 1:48.06 in his first appearance here. Although his time was more than three seconds slower than his world record, Ereng easily held off Simon Hoogewerf (1:48.65) and Ray Brown (1:49.02).

Afterward, he talked about the pressure he is under every time he races.

"Whatever achievements I have made carry expectations with them," he said. "People feel I'm going to be super, they expect magic, a world record. People expect all kinds of surprises from me all the time."

The same is true for Sotomayor, who missed much of last year with heel and knee injuries and is still rusty. He performed poorly Friday (7 feet 3 3/4 inches) and finished tied for third behind Conway (7 feet 5 inches).

Yesterday, taking off from George Mason's synthetic track -- not Millrose's creaking boards -- both were better. Conway jumped 7-7 on his first attempt, Sotomayor made it on his third attempt; they both missed all three times at 7-9 3/4, which would have been a U.S. record.

"I was very disappointed in New York," said Sotomayor, whose outdoor record is eight feet and indoor record is 7-11 1/2. "I felt more confident here. It was a different surface. I don't feel bad about losing."

Conway injured his left knee while training two months ago and thought it would bother him more than it did yesterday.

"I'm really confused," he said. "It was very, very painful. I didn't know what to expect, then I almost had an American record. So now I really don't know what to expect."

In the women's mile, Romanian Melinte, the world indoor record holder, won in 4:32.89, but the woman in eighth place was the story of the race. Plumer, a San Francisco Bay Area attorney, was making her move with little more than a lap to go, when she was kicked and elbowed right out of contention.

"Someone was boxed in and shoved her way out and, in the process, shoved me from third or fourth place to being out of contention," said Plumer, who finished in 4:36.84. She wore a patch on her right lower leg, covering a gash that reached the muscle.

"There's always a lot of bumping and shoving in indoor races," she said, "but this was bad. A warning flag earlier in the race would have put a lot of people on notice."

60 -- 1, Andre Cason, Florida Clippers, 6.58 seconds. 2, Ray Stewart, Jamaica, 6.63. 3, Daron Council, Nike, 6.65. 4, Lee McRae, Pittsburgh Racing, 6.70. 5, Dennis Mitchell, Mazda, 6.70. 6, James Jett, West Virginia, 6.73.

400 -- 1, Michael Johnson, Nike International, 46.23. 2, Thomas Schoenlebe, Germany, 46.38. 3, Jens Carlowitz, Germany, 47.26. 4, Patrick O'Connor, George Mason, 47.50. 5, Clarence Daniel, Florida Clippers, 48.03.

800 -- 1, Paul Ereng, Kenya, 1:48.06. 2, Simon Hoogewerf, Canada, 1:48.65. 3, Ray Brown, Nike Atlantic Coast, 1:49.02. 4, Stanley Redwine, Nike TC, 1:49.21. 5, Peter Rono, Kenya, 1:50.85. 6, David Patrick, Flojo TC, 1:54.64.

Mile -- 1, Terrence Harrington, Nike TC, 4:03.89. 2, Jeff Atkinson, Nike, 4:04.08. 3, Matt Taylor, Fox Catcher, 4:04.36. 4, Jim Spivey, Asics TC, 4:05.43. 5, Steve Ave, New Balance TC, 4:05.62. 6, Brian Abshire, Nike International, 4:06.49. 7, John Hinton, Nike Atlantic Coast, 4:06.82. 8, John Quade, Nike West, 4:07.76.

3,000 -- 1, Frank O'Mara, Mazda, 7:55.03. 2, Jim McKeon, Nike Atlantic Coast, 7:57.46. 3, Matt Giusto, Nike TC, 7:57.80. 4, Jim Norris, New Balance TC, 7:58.63. 5, Pete Weilenmann, Sallie Mae TC, 8:00.43. 6, Jama Aden, Somalia, 8:01.64. 7, Jim Farmer, Nike Boston, 8:04.65. 8, Bill Krohn, New York AC, 8:12.35.

60 hurdles -- 1, Greg Foster, World Class AC, 7.45. 2, Tony Dees, Florida Clippers, 7.56. 3, Jack Pierce, Nike International, 7.71. 4, Emilio Valle, Cuba, 7.75. 5, Tony Li, Washington State, 7.78. 6, Jerry Roney, James Madison, 7.96.

800 relay -- 1, Arizona State (Ed Lovelace, Mike Sulcer, Robert Rucker, Thomas Koech), 1:28.13. 2, St. Augustine 1:28.61. 3, James Madison 1:29.15. 4, Central Arizona 1:29.24. 5, N.C. State 1:29.27. 6, East Carolina 1:29.30.

1,600 relay -- 1, George Mason (Shawn Vass, Anthony Wallace, Corey Cokes, Patrick O'Connor), 3:11.73. 2, Auburn 3:11.82. 3, St. Augustine 3:13.44. 4, Florida 3:14.26. 5, East Carolina 3:15.22. 6, Arizona State 3:19.99.

3,200 relay -- 1, George Mason (Marsha Tomlinson, Todd Rosenberg, Mike Meyer, Mario Watson), 7:32.58. 2, Villanova 7:33.00. 3, North Carolina 7:33.07. 4, West Virginia 7:43.16. 5, James Madison 7:48.36. 6, St. Augustine 7:57.42

Metro 1,600 relay -- 1, James Madison (M.Davis, K.Hawkins, P.Moye, J.Roney), 3:17.09. 2, George Mason 3:17.62. 3, Pittsburgh 3:21.10. 4, Mount St. Mary's 3:21.71. 5, Morgan State 3:24.88. 6, Maryland 3:34.88.

Masters mile -- 1, Larry Almberg, Washington, 4:16, American record. 2, Wilson Waigwa, Kenya, 4:20.10. 3, Ken Popejoy, Illinois, 4:21.17. 4, Dave Stewart, Canada, 4:23.13. 5, Byron Dyce, Florida, 4:26.44. 6, Steve Ruckert, Westminster, Md., 4:27.02. 7, Dan Frye, Massachusetts, 4:39.66. 8, Rod Dixon, New Zealand, 4:39.95.

High jump -- 1, Hollis Conway, Nike International, 7 feet, 7 inches. 2, Javier Sotomayor, Cuba, 7-7. 3, Tony Barton, George Mason, 7-5. 4, Charles Austin, unattached, 7-5. 5, Mario Dreke, Cuba, 7-5. 6, Brian Brown, unattached, 7-3. 7, Mike Pascuzzo, New York AC, 7-3. 8, Jerome Carter, unattached, 7-3.

Pole vault -- 1, Igor Potapovich, Soviet Union, 18-8, 2, Istvan Bagyula, George Mason, 18-4, 3, Kory Tarpenning, Pacific Coast Club, 18-0, 4, Joe Dial, New York AC, 18-0, 5, Dean Starkey, New York AC, 18-0, 6, Hermann Fehringer, Austria, 17-6, 7, Scott Huffman, Pacific Coast Club, 17-6. WOMEN

60 -- 1, Pauline Davis, Bahamas, 7.26. 2, Michelle Finn, Mazda, 7.27. 3, Gwen Torrence, unattached, 7.28. 4, Teresa Neighbors, Nike Houston, 7.29. 5, Sheila Echols, Nike International, 7.35. 6, Michelle Freeman, Florida, 7.37.

200 -- 1, Dannette Young, Reebok, 23.75. 2, Pauline Davis, Bahamas, 23.98. 3, Vivian Spence-Gardner, unattached, 24.03. 4, Michelle Finn, Atom TC, 24.22. 5, Terri Dendy, Reebok, 25.01.

400 -- 1, Diane Dixon, Nike International, 52.30. 2, Jearl Miles, Reebok, 54.01. 3, Rochelle Stevens, Nike International, 54.53. 4, Natasha Kaiser, So. Calif. Cheetahs, 54.65. 5, Ruzina Yelena, Soviet Union, 54.74. 6, Kendra Mackey, North Carolina, 55.15.

800 -- 1, Christine Wachtel, Germany, 2:01.29. 2, Ellen Kiesling, Germany, 2:02.29. 3, Tsyoma Lyubov, Soviet Union, 2:02.56. 4, Joetta Clark, Nike International, 2:03.15. 5, Jasmine Jones, Tennessee, 2:04.70. 6, Meredith Rainey, Atoms TC, 2:05.18. 7, Gina Procaccio, Sallie Mae TC, 2:07.40. 8, Lilia Nurutdinova, Soviet Union,.

Mile -- 1, Doina Melinte, Romania, 4:32.89. 2, Margareta Keskeg, Romania, 4:33.41. 3, Yvonne Mai, Germany, 4:33.77. 4, Svetland Kitova, Soviet Union, 4:33.84. 5, Suzy Favor, Reebok, 4:34.43. 6, Jo White, England, 4:36.05. 7, Diana Richburg, Gazelle International, 4:36.74. 8, PattiSue Plumer, Nike International, 4:36.84.

60 hurdles -- 1, LaVonna Martin, Reebok, 8.08. 2, Kim McKenzie, Mazda TC, 8.13. 3, Aliuska Lopez, Cuba, 8.14. 4, Gloria Siebert, Germany, 8.21. 5, Linda Tolbert, Nike International, 8.23. 6, Sharon Couch, North Carolina, 8.35.

Mile walk -- 1, Debbie Lawrence, Parkside AC, 6:30.72, American record. 2, Victoria Herazo, California Walkers, 6:55.14. 3, Maryanne Torrellas, unattached, 7:09.98.

800 relay -- 1, Florida (Michelle Freeman, Kim Mitchell, Anita Howard, Tasha Downing), 1:37.99. 2, Arizona State 1:38.78. 3, North Carolina 1:39.89. 4, Pittsburgh 1:40.19. 5, George Mason 1:43.16. 6, West Virginia 1:43.38

1,600 relay -- 1, Florida (N.Beasley, K.Mitchell, A.Howard, T.Downing), 3:38.43. 2, Arizona State 3:38.80. 3, North Carolina 3:43.13. 4, Auburn 3:47.70. 5, Pittsburgh 3:55.79.

3,200 relay -- 1, Villanova (Emer Molloy, Irene Ruopoli, Christine Gentile, Abby Hunte), 8:53.34. 2, North Carolina 8:53.68. 3, Maryland 9:03.97. 4, George Mason 9:06.75. 5, Virginia 9:07.78. 6, Penn State 9:07.85. 7, James Madison 9:16.66.

Metro 1,600 relay -- 1, West Virginia (J.Schweizer, K.Beans, A.Dunn, C.Ellerbe), 3:46.98. 2, Howard 3:50.12. 3, George Mason 3:50.24. 4, Virginia 3:52.13. 5, James Madison 3:59.36.

High jump -- 1, Yolanda Henry, Mazda TC, 6-4. 2, Angie Bradburn, unattached, 6-4. 3, Jan Wohlshlag, Nike International, 6-4. 4, Tisha Waller, North Carolina, 6-4. 5, Vickie Borsheim, Westwood TC, 6-0. 6, Julieann Broughton, Arizona, 6-0.