Achon, Staeheli Win Miles
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Julius Achon, the world’s fastest miler this year, got favored George Mason off to a swift start at the NCAA indoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday night.
Achon, a sophomore from Kampala, Uganda, who clocked 3 minutes, 57.66 seconds last month on his school’s track at Fairfax Va., ran a carefully controlled race and won in 4:02.83 as George Mason began its bid to dethrone Arksanas, the 12-time defending men’s champion.
Following his usual style, Achon remained near the back of the pack early, then stepped up the pace and challenged Jonah Kiptarus of Nebraska for the lead with about 600 meters left. Kiptarus held him off briefly, before the resilient Achon charged in front with 400 meters to go.
He then went on to beat Kiptarus by about 7 meters.
``At the beginning, everyone is strong, so when you go with them, you waste a lot of energy,″ Achon said in explaining his strategy. ``So I need to reserve mine, so that at the end I am strong.″
While Achon collected 10 team points for the victory, his teammate, Ibrahim Aden, the second-fastest collegiate miler this season, failed to finish.
Aden and Michael Power of Arkansas collided with about 550 meters remaining and both fell. Power got up shakily and finished, but Aden did not, costing the Patriots valuable points.
In the women’s mile, Joline Staeheli, the ECAC champion from Georgetown, scored a surprising 9-meter victory over defending champion Trine Pilskog of Arkansas in 4:36.96, the fastest time of the season by a collegian.
Staeheli seized the lead with 400 meters left, and pulled away to become the first Big East woman miler to win the event.
In another early final, Ryan Butler of Wyoming got off the best throw of the collegiate season in the men’s 35-pound weight throw, winning at 71 feet, 1 1/2 inches.
Going into Saturday night’s 20 finals, Houston led the men’s team race with 19 points, one point ahead of UCLA, and three-time defending champion Louisiana State topped the women’s standings with 20 points, two ahead of South Carolina.
In the NCAA Division II Championships, held concurrently with the Division I meet, Abilene Christian continued its recent domination, sweeping both the men’s and women’s titles.
The men, winning for the third time in four years _ they also finished second last year _ compiled 86 5-6 points, despite getting only one victory, by Thomas Korir in the 5,000 in 14:20.84.
The women Wildcats won their fourth straight title and eighth in nine years _ they also tied for second in 1992 _ with victories from Nary Tombiri in the 55-meter dash (6.90), Delloreen Ennis in the 55 hurdles (7.84) and Casi Florida in the 5,000 (16:28.50) in accumulating 68 points.
St. Augustine’s, last year’s men’s champion, was second in both team races, with 46 1-3 points for the men and 40 for the women.
Four meet records were set Saturday and another equaled.
The record-breakers were Jonathan Jordan of Cal State-Los Angeles in the men’s triple jump (52-10 3-4), Tambi Wenj of Cal State-LA in the men’s shot put (60-11 1/2), Malgorzata Biela of Lewis in the women’s 800 (2:09:01) and St. Augustine’s women’s 1,600 relay team of Andrea Giscombe, Joyann Eli, Karen Constable and Prisca Phillips (3:43.19).
Ryan McGlynn of North Dakota State tied the pole vault record of 17-4 1/2.