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BYU HAS A HISTORY OF FAST TIMES DURING TRACK CHAMPIONSHIPS

Speed.

That's what the previous NCAA Track and Field Championships held at Brigham Young University are noted for.The highlight was a world-record setting performance by the University of Southern California's 440-yard relay team in 1967.

And that was on the old track in the football stadium - appropriate since two of the record-setting foursome, O.J. Simpson and Earl McCulloch, were football standouts in college and later in the pros.

The team of Simpson, McCulloch, Fred Kuller and Lennox Miller ran only against the clock on that mid-June evening. The other teams were never a factor. USC's time of 38.6 bettered the existing record set by Southern University by a full second. No other team finished under 40 seconds, Tennessee finishing second in 40.3.

And as Deseret News sports writer George Ferguson reported in 1967, the time could have been even faster. Simpson, who ran the third leg, and Miller, the anchor, did not have a very good exchange.

"I ran into Lennox. It was not a good handoff. Had it been, I think we would have had a 38.4," Simpson said.

All on the USC relay team placed in individual events, too. Miller, from Jamaica, finished second to Nebraska's Charlie Greene in the 100-yard dash in 9.2. Kuller was fourth in the 100 at 9.4 and Simpson sixth in 9.6 (he ran 9.5 in his semifinal heat). McCulloch equaled the NCAA record in the 120-yard high hurdles, beating Tennessee's Richmond Flowers in a time of 13.4.

Another flyer in the 1967 meet was Tommie Smith of San Jose State, who set an NCAA record in the 220 in 20.2 and then went on to win the 200 meters in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

Houston's Stanley Floyd and the jumpers were the story in 1982, in a meet held at the new BYU track facility. Floyd set an NCAA record in the 100 meters in a time of 10.03 (which was also the BYU stadium record until Frank Fredericks broke it with a 10.02 clocking last Saturday) and anchored Houston's 400 meter relay team to another record, 38.53.

The jumpers, who like the sprinters benefit from altitude, broke two marks - SMU's Keith Connor setting an NCAA and American record with a 57-7 1/2 leap in the triple jump and UTEP's Milton Ottey setting an NCAA record with a 7-7 1/4 high jump.

The 1982 meet also featured two women from UCLA who would go on to become stars at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul - Jackie Joyner and Florence Griffith. Joyner won the heptathlon and Griffith the 200 meters in 22.39.

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(Additional information)

Provo record setters

Following are the records set or tied at the NCAA track and field championships held at BYU.

1967 - 440 relay, USC (McCulloch, Kuller, Simpson, Miller), 38.6; 120 high hurdles, McCulloch (USC), Flowers, (Tennessee), 13.4; 220, Smith (San Jose State), 20.2.

1975 - Decathlon, Pihl (BYU), 8,079; long jump, Ehizuelen (Illinois), 26-11; shot put, Hoglund (UTEP), 70 feet.

1982 - 400 meter relay, Houston (Young, McNeil, Ketchus, Floyd), 38.53; 400 hurdles, Patrick (Tennessee), 48.44; 100, Floyd (Houston), 10.03; high jump, Ottey (UTEP), 7-7 1/4; pole vault, Bell (Arkansas State), 18-1; triple jump, Connor (SMU), 57-7 1/2.