In just his first season at Arkansas, Melvin Lister already is following in the tradition of great Razorbacks jumpers.
Just as Michael Conley, Robert Howard and Erick Walder did in the past, Lister waited until his final attempt before securing the long jump title at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships tonight.
"I'm happy to keep it going," Lister said of the Arkansas legacy.
Lister's final jump was not his best, but it proved to be the clincher. Going into the final round, Lister and Frankie Young of Indiana State had the best jumps of the competition, each at 26 feet 10 inches.
Young held the lead, however, on the basis of a better second jump--26-3 1/2 to 26-3.
With the pressure on, Lister, jumping ahead of Young, leaped 26-9. Young couldn't match it and Lister was the champion. Since 1984, the Razorbacks have won eight NCAA long jump titles, including three by Walder and two each by Conley and Howard.
Lister's victory gave Arkansas 10 points in the quest for its eighth consecutive team title.
George Mason senior Maurice Wignall failed to advance to the finals, fouling on his first two jumps. He finished 12th.
In other events, Suziann Reid (Eleanor Roosevelt) advanced to the finals of the women's 400 meters by winning her semifinal heat in 52.10 seconds. Only one other runner had a faster time.
Reid's Texas 4x400 relay team posted the fastest time in the semifinals to advance. George Mason also qualified for Saturday's finals by finishing seventh in the semis in 3 minutes 36.63 seconds.
Clemson's Ato Modibo (High Point) finished second in his 400 heat to advance to the finals. In the women's 10,000, Georgetown's Kate Landau finished 15th in 35:28.27. George Mason junior Michelle Burgher, a member of the relay team, failed to qualify for the 400 finals, placing 15th in 54.35 seconds.
Tennessee's Tom Pappas won the decathlon with 8,184 points, SMU's Kajsa Bergqvist won the women's high jump at 6-2 3/4, UCLA's Seilalu Sua won the women's shot put at 57-9 and Leigh Daniel of Texas Tech won the women's 10,000 meters in 34:01.63.
Sua also is favored to win the discus for the third straight time.