Dawn Sowell won the 55 meters and anchored the world's fastest 4 x 400-meter relay effort, leading Louisiana State to the women's team title Saturday night at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.
The Tigers overpowered the women's field, scoring 61 points to take their second team title in three years. But Arkansas needed a victory by Edrick Floreal in the final event, the triple jump, to edge Florida 34-31 and win a sixth straight men's team title.Sowell, who took the 200 meters earlier in the meet, captured the sprint in 6.62 seconds and ran the final relay leg in 51.8 seconds on a Tiger relay that won in 3:33.98. Sylvia Brydson, Cheryl Wilson and Opal Cunningham joined Sowell in the triumphant foursome.
The relay result was faster than the world mark of 3:34.38 set by East Germany in 1981. But the LSU time cannot be recognized as a world record because Cunningham is from Jamaica while her teammates are Americans. International track rules require record relay times be set by runners from the same nation.
"This was the best race for me," Sowell said. "This was my first time to anchor. They didn't tell me I was going to anchor until just before the relay. That way I wouldn't have time to think about it or act crazy. This was my last race indoors, the last of my college career, so I thought, `Go, just go."'
Another world best was set by Clemson's 4 x 800-meter men's relay squad, which won in 7:17.45. But it also was not a world record because one member, Phil Greyling, is South African.
Hollis Conway of Southwestern Louisiana set an American indoor record of 7-feet-91/4 to win his second straight NCAA high jump crown. His leap broke the mark of 7-83/4 set by Jim Howard in 1986.
"I was surprised because technically it wasn't that good of a jump," Conway said of the record setter. "I was coming in slow on the takeoff. It wasn't a good takeoff. I brushed the bar. I'm surprised it stayed up."
Joe Falcon of Arkansas took the lead in the mile as the final lap began and pulled away to defend his title in 3:58.06, with Olympic champion Peter Rono of Mount St. Mary's second in 3:58.63.
"It was fast to start and that helped me," Falcon said. "I'm not fast right now but I am strong. I was trying to run a tactical race."
But Falcon's caution was no help an hour later as he finished last in the 3,000 meters, an event he had won the past two years. Brown's Greg Whitely won the 3,000 in 7:57.14.
"I don't want to make excuses but my legs felt like jelly after the mile," Falcon said. "Give them credit. They took it out fast."
Wisconsin's Suzanne Favor ended Villanova senior Vicki Huber's hopes of winning a record five NCAA career indoor titles by taking the mile run in 4:30.63. Favor, the 1987 champion, passed Huber, the 1988 winner, with 40 meters remaining and won despite pulling a muscle in her left leg with her finishing kick.
"I knew the pace was fast and I wanted to stick with her as long as I could," Favor said. "Somehow I always have the kick and I was hoping it was there. It saved me."
Huber recovered to win her third straight 3,000 meters title in 8:55.29. She placed sixth at 3,000 meters in the Seoul Olympics.
Virginia's Paul Ereng, a Kenyan who won the Olympic 800-meter title, took the same event Saturday in 1:47.70. Michigan's John Scherer, the NCAA 10,000 meters champion, won the 5,000 indoor title in 14:18.05.
Missouri's Natasha Kaiser won the 400 meters in 51.92 seconds, a collegiate record and the second-fastest indoor time ever by an American. Florida freshman Tyrone Kemp won the men's 400 in 46.03.
Fredericks 5th Frank Fredericks of BYU, who earned All-American honors in Friday's action of the NCAA National Indoor Track Championships, placed fifth in Saturday's 55-meter dash with a time of 6.26. TCU's Raymond Stewart won the event in 6.07.
"Frank did an excellent job. He takes a step before he starts to run and we'll work on that. When we get that fixed he'll win it," BYU Coach Willard Hirschi said.
On Friday Fredericks set an NCAA record in the 200-meter dash in a qualifying round with a time of :20.72 only to have it erased by Michael Johnson of Baylor who finished with a time of :20.59. Fredericks finished second in the final.
The other performer in Saturday's events for BYU was Lane White in the pole vault. He did not clear the qualifying height.
Weber State's Dave Andreasen finished eighth in the 5,000 with a time of 14:46.77. It was won by Michigan's John Scherer in 14:18.05.