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Arkansas, Texas Win NCAA Track Meet

March 15, 1998

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Arkansas’ reign marches on and LSU’s is over, ended by Texas.

The Arkansas men won their 14th title in 15 years and second in a row at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships Saturday night, while Texas took its fourth women’s crown since 1986, stopping LSU’s run of five in a row.

Texas’ blazing speedsters, led by Suziann Reid, carried the Longhorns to the victory with 60 points. Reid, the college leader in the women’s 400 coming into the meet, didn’t disappoint, winning in 52.57 seconds, the fastest this season by a collegian.

``I knew that I had to run well for my team,″ Reid said, after overtaking Vanderbilt’s Ryan Tolbert with about 15 meters remaining. ``I dug in for another gear at the end.″

Tolbert, the NCAA outdoor 400 hurdles champion, finished second at 52.79 and Texas’ Toya Brown was third at 53.23, giving the Longhorns 16 points, virtually ending LSU’s hopes for a sixth consecutive title and ninth in 12 years.

The Longhorns also got another triumph in the high jump as co-college record-holder Erin Aldrich, competing in her first national championship meet for Texas after transferring from Arizona, won at 6 feet, 4 1/4 inches.

To complete the victory, Reid and Brown each ran a leg on the Texas team that finished second in the 1,600 relay.

LSU finished second in the team standings with 30 points and Pittsburgh and Stanford tied for third with 26 each.

Arkansas used a victory by triple jumper Robert Howard to compile 56 points and continue its remarkable stretch of victories both indoors and outdoors, where the Razorbacks have won 11 consecutive titles.

Howard, competing with a painful right Achilles’ tendon, took his second straight triple jump title at 54-1 1/4 on his final attempt. That performance supported his nickname of ``Mr. Clutch,″ given to him by coach John McDonnell.

Stanford finished second with 36 1/2 points and Clemson and Washington State tied for third with 26 apiece.

Meanwhile, Michigan’s Kevin Sullivan put on a late burst of speed and a long lean at the tape to win the mile race.

Sullivan, a senior from Canada and the 1995 indoor champion, regained the title by outleaning Bryan Berryhill of Colorado State and Seneca Lassiter of Arkansas, the 1997 NCAA outdoor champion and national titleholder.

The early pace was slow, but the finish was dramatic, with only .01 second separating the top two and .06 seconds separating the first three.

Sullivan, who ran 54.2 for the final 400 meters and 26.3 for the final 200, was timed in 4:03.54. Berryhill, the leader entering the final straightaway, finished second in 4:03.55 and Lassiter was third in 4:03.60.

The men’s mile was considered one of the premier events of the two-day championships at the RCA Dome, and it lived up to its billing.

Berryhill, the second-place finisher in the Western Athletic Conference, and Clyde Colenzo, the WAC champion from SMU, took turns on the early lead as the field went through the first quarter-mile in a pedestrian 61.7, the half in 2:04.51 and three-quarters in 3:08.9.

Then, the pace picked up and the serious racing began.

``The last five meters I was just leaning as hard as I could for the tape,″ Sullivan said. ``I had a lot left in my legs and was ready for the sprint to the finish.

``There was no doubt that I could win.″

Tennessee’s Hazel Clark took the women’s 800 in 2:02.53, the fastest by a collegian this season, and became the first SEC runner to win the event since her older sister, Joetta, did it for Tennessee in 1983.

Joetta and several members of the Clark family were in attendance Saturday night.

``I could hear all of my family,″ Hazel said. ``There were about 15 members here ... and friends ... another 15 ... screaming before the race and that made me want to win,″

Melissa Price of Fresno State broke her college record in the pole vault by three-quarters of an inch, soaring 13-10.

Pittsburgh’s Trecia Smith completed a double in the women’s horizontal jumps, adding the triple jump title to the long jump championship she won Friday night with a leap of 46-1 1/4, the best by a collegian this year.

Colorado’s Adam Goucher smashed the meet record of 7:50.90 by Washington State’s Josephat Kapkory in 1994, winning his second straight title in 7:46.03, the fastest by an American this season.

In the night’s closest race, LSU’s Kwajalein Butler won the women’s 55 over Georgia’s Debbie Ferguson and Texas’ Lakeisha Backus, with each timed in 6.78. They had to be separated by thousandths of a second, with Butler timed in 6.773, Ferguson in 6.775 and Backus in 6.779.

Baylor swept the men’s and women’s 1,600 relays _ the first time in meet history that the same school won both races

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