The Miners had been similarly embarrassed at Monday's NCAAs, in which they had been favored to win their seventh team title in eight years. Instead, their seven Tanzanian and Kenyan runners had struggled in the cold, drizzly weather and UTEP had placed a distant fifth with 173 points.
"You could see light opening under the door," said Wisconsin Coach Dan McClimon, whose Badgers were the surprise champions with 59 points. Indeed, after a budget cutback and coaching changes, UTEP may have trouble continuing its domination of NCAA indoor and outdoor track (17 titles in eight years) next year. No team provided a greater contrast to the foreign-runner-dominated Miners than Wisconsin—six of its seven runners are natives of the Badger state and the other lives just over the border in Illinois. "They all live within 150 miles of campus," says McClimon. "We're each other's best friends and, in most cases, roommates," said Badger sophomore Tim Hacker, who finished fourth and was both the first American across the line and the first of the three Wisconsin runners in the Top 20.
Senior Mark Scrutton of Colorado and Birmingham, England had outsprinted UTEP sophomore Zak Barie of Tanzania in the final 500 yards to win the NCAA individual title in 30:13, but he seemed intent on breaking away much earlier in Sunday's race. He passed the mile mark in 4:26, a few strides ahead of little known Pat Porter, 23, who formerly competed for even littler known Adams State College of Alamosa, Colo. However, this was to be a day for surprise winners, and when Scrutton stepped up the pace slightly, Porter accelerated dramatically. Halfway through the race he had 15 seconds on Scrutton. At the tape the margin was about the same, Porter finishing in 28:50, with Scrutton second in 29:07.
"I've always been obscure," said Porter, who had previously won two NAIA titles in cross-country and one in the indoor two-mile. He admitted that his only other claim to fame was having grown up in Evergreen, Colo., the hometown of John Hinckley Jr. "Maybe that's how I won. You know, everyone saying, 'That idiot's going to fade.' "
As it turns out, Porter, like Welch, has a twin sister, Patricia. "But there are no other brothers or sisters," said Porter. "My folks said if they come two at a time, they're gonna quit." Nevertheless, in Gateshead next March 20—and perhaps in the Meadowlands in 1984—Welch and Porter may have the rest of the world doing a double take.