Men's Track Places Sixth at NCAA Championships
June 7, 1998
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - It's Arkansas again - and Texas for the first time since 1986.
The Razorbacks, getting a gutsy 1,500-meter victory from Seneca Lassiter, a second consecutive long jump-triple jump double from Robert Howard and a clutch performance by 5,000-meter runner Mike Power, won their seventh straight title in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Saturday night.
Texas, which finished one point behind 11-time champion LSU last year, clinched its first title in 12 years by winning the final 1,600-meter relay in 3 minutes, 28.65 seconds, the fastest by a college team this season.
The 10 points for the victory gave Texas 60, five ahead of runner-up UCLA. The Bruins did not have a team in the relay.
Arkansas finished with 58 1/2 points to extend its domination among the men, while Stanford, seeking its first title since 1934, was second with 51.
The Razorbacks trailed Stanford 39-25 1/2 going into the final day of the four-day championships at the State University at Buffalo.
They began chopping into that lead when Lassiter successfully defended his title, holding off freshmen Gabe Jennings of Stanford and Bryan Berryhill of Colorado State down the stretch. Lassiter's teammate, Jeremy Huffman, finished fifth.
After Lassiter crossed the finish line in 3:42.34, he collapsed from the tiring duel.
The victory apparently was a surprise to Lassiter. He figured that 1995 champion Kevin Sullivan of Michigan and Bernard Lagat of Washington State, the 1998 indoor 3,000 runner-up, were the favorites.
But Sullivan and Lagat got tangled with about 850 meters gone and both went down to the track. Lagat got up and wound up eighth. Sullivan arose slowly and staggered in last in the field of 12.
"Kevin and Bernard were the two good contestants in the race," Lassiter said. "Once they fell, I saw the opportunity to go for the win.
"I almost fell, too. I just jumped over the top of them. I thought, I better go while I can."'
That gave Arkansas 39 1/2 points, 7 1/2 less than Stanford.
The Razorbacks picked up three more points when Trevor Rush finished sixth in the 200.
Then, Howard, winner of the long jump on his final attempt Thursday, wasted no time in asserting his superiority in the triple jump Saturday, soaring 55 feet, 7 inches on his first try, assuring the Razorbacks of another 10 points and giving them a 52 1/2-51 lead. Howard, voted the male athlete of the meet, concluded his sensational round of jumping, soaring 55-8 1/4 on his final attempt for his third straight triple jump title and ninth NCAA title overall indoors and outdoors.
It then came down to the 5,000, in which Stanford had four runners and Arkansas only two. But Power warded off all the Stanford challengers, including twins Brad and Brent Hauser and Nathan Nutter, the 1-2-3 finishers in Thursday's 10,000, to place third. Only Brad Hauser scored for Stanford, finishing fifth.
"I was just trying to make sure no Stanford runner passed me," Power said. "I didn't know where Sean (teammate Sean Kaley) was, so I knew it was up to me."
Texas' women faced an even bigger deficit going into Saturday's events, trailing UCLA 40-10. But the Longhorns began rolling up points rapidly.
First Angie Vaughn, the indoor hurdles champion, took the 100 hurdles in a wind-aided 12.82. Then Suziann Reid, the 1996 400 outdoor champion, regained the title, clocking 51.22, and teammate Toya Brown was fifth.
Reid also had won the indoor title and finished second in last year's outdoor championships.
"I really wanted to win this one," Reid said. "I have a No. 1 ranking in the 400 (among collegians) and I wanted to show that that's the truth.
"I am the truth."
LaKeisha Backus followed with a sixth in the 100 and seventh in the 200, and Erin Aldrich, the indoor high jump champion, took the outdoor title at 6-4, beating SMU's Kajsa Bergqvist on fewer misses.
Texas finished off a 50-point day by winning the relay with a team of Angel Patterson, Brown, Animah Haddad and Reid.
"I'm sure the fans loved that finish," Texas coach Bev Kearney said. "They love the shot at the buzzer."
LSU finished tied for 22nd with only 11 points.
Meanwhile, unheralded Leonard Myles-Mills of BYU ended the unbeaten season of Washington's highly touted freshman, Ja'Warren Hooker, by winning the men's 100.
Hooker, the Huskies' sensational sprinter and wide receiver-kick returner, had won 12 outdoor 100s, including the Pac-10 title, after having won the 55-meter dash indoors.
But he couldn't hold off the late charge of Myles-Mills, who collared him about seven meters from the finish, nor TCU's Jarmiene Holloway, who finished second.
Myles-Mills, a junior from Ghana, was timed in a wind-aided 10.20, with Holloway clocked in 10.24 and Hooker in 10.25.
Another junior, Debbie Ferguson of Georgia, became the 10th woman since 1983 to sweep the 100 and 200. First, she took the 100 in a wind-aided 10.94, beating freshman Shakedia Jones of UCLA by three meters.
One hour later, Ferguson came back and won the 200 in 22.66, with LaTasha Jenkins of Ball State second, four meters back, and Jones third. Jones' strong finishes accounted for 14 of the 15 points the Bruins scored Saturday.
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