Ryun was against a wall, too. He needed a good race to reassure himself and to help his team. "I know this may sound corny," he said, "but I have to run well for the other 19 guys on the team. I don't want to let them down. And I think we can win this damn thing."
Ryun had an unusual plan for the mile—go out fast and try to burn the drained Liquori. He went out, but Liquori stayed with him through a 60-second quarter and then went by him as they passed the half in 2:03. Ryun came up on Liquori on the final turn. "He could have cut in if he'd wanted to," Liquori said. "I would have broken stride, and the race would have been over right there. But he didn't cut me off. He's too much of a gentleman."
Ryun's victory at the tape and Kansas' unexpected points in the pole vault and in the mile relay gave it the championship, the Jayhawks scoring 41� points to runner-up Villanova's 33.
Later, lying with his knee iced and his feet wrapped, Ryun looked past those surrounding him. Liquori was walking by. They both smiled, weakly. "Excuse me," Ryun said. "I'd like to talk to Marty alone for a while."
"He just said it was a good race," Liquori said later. "And he wanted to explain that he really was hurt. How do I feel? Well, a year ago I held Jim Ryun in awe. But this time I came closest ever to beating him. I lost by two inches. I think I proved something."