While he waited, Brown watched Kibiri duel 1988 Olympic champion Peter Rono of Mount Saint Mary's in the 1,500 meters. Rono was stepped on in the first lap and had a shoe ripped away, yet somehow still led out of the final turn. "But when I kicked, my foot slipped," said Rono. Kibiri glided by to win in 3:39.53. Ten more points for the Cougars.
Tennessee high jumper Randy Jenkins's lifetime best was 7'4�". He equaled it in Eugene. "But he saw we needed points," said Brown. "He jumped 7'5�". We needed more. He jumped 7'6�"." Jenkins placed second to Southern Illinois's Darrin Plab, although both cleared the same height.
As Jenkins rose, Washington State's Tony Li, of Beijing, the fastest qualifier in the 110-meter high hurdles, was going askew. The hurdle finalists ran aided by a stiff tail wind. Li started well but found the wind nudging him closer and closer to each approaching barrier. "It was so strong, it finally pushed me into the eighth hurdle," said Li. "That knocked me out of my lane." And out of the race. The net result of the high jump and 110 hurdles was a 16-point swing to Tennessee. When the Vols' Aric Long won the decathlon with 7,916 points and teammate Brian Brophy placed third, with 7,762, Tennessee had a final score of 51 points to Washington State's 42. Oregon was third, with 36.
The best mark of the meet came from Nevada Reno's Kamy Keshmiri, who set a collegiate record of 218'5" in the discus. At 22, he has thrown the discus for 14 years and has twice won the TAC nationals. Otherwise, he's hard to quantify, pacing the field between throws with such great slow menace that his open joy after the record throw came as a surprise. "I felt such a rush that it pretty much kept me from throwing farther," Keshmiri said.
In the women's team competition, Louisiana State's inexhaustible stable of sprinters, hurdlers and heptathletes staked the Tigers to 78 points and a fifth straight outdoor title. Not that Texas, which finished 11 points back, didn't provide a burning orange streak in the person of Carlette Guidry. A senior, Guidry had experienced little magic in past NCAA outdoor championships. She even false-started and was disqualified from the 100-meter final in 1990.
But when she took the baton to anchor the 400-meter relay a yard behind LSU's defending sprint champion, Esther Jones, and finished a yard ahead of Jones, "the black cloud was gone," as Guidry put it. "The meet turned sweet."
Guidry has hit the weights hard this year. When she moved away from Jones in both the 100 and 200, winning in wind-aided times of 10.91 and 22.44, Jones knew why. "I had the stride frequency," Jones said. "But not the strength. Carlette prepared better."