By Sam Blackman
Clemson Finished second at the NCAA Men’s Indoor Track and Field Championships in 1992 and 1993. The following are two stories detailing the accomplishments of the men’s team both years.
Extraordinary performances by eight athletes-including national championship runs by Michael Green and James Trapp-propelled the Clemson men’s track team to a second place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships at Indianapolis on March 13-14, 1992.
The Tigers finished second and barely missed unseating perennial national champion Arkansas which claimed the team title for the ninth straight year. Arkansas’ 17 qualifiers finished with a total of 53 points, while the Tigers got 46 points from eight competitors.
No team had scored as many as 46 points in the NCAA meet for the last 11 years. Typically, a 36-point performance is good enough to win the national title.
Clemson was led by Trapp, who won the NCAA title in 200-meter dash on Friday, and by Green, who bettered his own world-leading time in both the trials and finals while winning the 55-meters.
In addition to winning two national titles-the first individual championships ever for the men’s track program-seven Tigers claimed All-American honors, while coach Bob Pollock was honored as national coach of the year.
Wesley Russell placed third in the 400-meters with a time of 46.43 seconds, while Cormac Finnerty was third in the 3,000 with a time of 8:00.96. Andrew Beecher placed fifth in the 800 with a time of 1:49.40, and Trapp finished fourth in the 55 with a time 6.22 seconds.
Anthony Knight (7.21) and Larry Ryans (7.26) placed third and fifth, respectively, in the 55-meter hurdles.
“It was just a tremendous effort by everybody,” said Pollock. “It was really unbelievable. To come here with only eight guys and still make a run for the national championship is quite an accomplishment, and to come home with two national titles and seven All-America plaques is even better.
“The competition was tremendous-it probably ranks as one of the greatest NCAA meets ever. I really don’t think we could have done any better.”
“To be named national coach of the year is a great honor,” Pollock said. “But I’d love to trade it for the national championship.
“But, again, I’m proud of our performance. We were solid all the way through. Everybody was outstanding.”
A 1-2 national championship punch by Michael Green and Wesley Russell carried the Clemson men’s track team to its second straight second-place finish at the NCAA championship meet last weekend at Indianapolis.
Green successfully defended his national title in the 55-meter dash, as he overcame a slow start and pulled away from the field in the final. Green’s time was 6.15 seconds. He won his 1992 title in 6.08.
Green, the Jamaican national record holder and the owner of the world’s fastest 1993 time at the 60-meter distance, became the first two-time NCAA track and field champion in Clemson men’s history.
While Green won the 55-meter dash as the favorite, Russell turned in a championship performance in the 400 meters — an event considered wide open.
A senior from Carnesville, GA, Russell paced the field in qualifying for the final and then won the championship race with a time of 45.92 records.
Russell had finished third in the 1992 NCAA indoor championship.
Senior Cormac Finnerty finished third in the 3,000 meters for the second straight year and earned All-America honors for the third time in his career.
Sophomore Duane Ross finished fourth in the 55-meter hurdles and also received All-America recognition.
Clemson finished with 30 points to place second in the team championship behind Arkansas, which became the first team in any sport win 10 consecutive NCAA titles. The Razorbacks, who edged Clemson for the 1992 title, finished with 66 points. Tennessee placed third with 25 points. Coach Bob Pollock earned district coach of the year honors.
Pollock said the meet was a satisfying one for the Clemson men’s team.
“Just to qualify for the NCAA meet is a tremendous accomplishment,” said Pollock. ‘To finish second in the nation for the second straight year is almost unbelievable, considering the caliber of the competition.
“Our training and preparation were perfect, and the guys were able to perform when it counted.”
Pollock said Green ran “very consistently through the trials and semifinals...He knew he had a job to do and he didn’t take anything for granted.
“He didn’t get off to his best start in the finals, but made up ground quickly and showed that he was clearly the class of the field.”
Russell, Pollock said, “ran a brilliant race.” “He took it out at the start and led from start to finish,” he said. “His time was the third fastest ever run at the NCAA championship.
“His time, 45.92 on a 200 meter track – that’s flying. Wesley has made just unbelievable improvement.”
Finnerty had the fastest time in the 3,000-meter trials, but was forced to set his own pace in the finals. He led until the final 50 meters.
“We were hoping Cormac wouldn’t have to lead,” Pollock said. “The pace was a little slow, and no one wanted to lead. After a while he picked up the tempo and tried to break away.
“At the end, he was trying so hard that his form broke down. The two guys chasing him were great milers – fast people who knew how to kick. He’s an All-American, but he was disappointed because he wanted the title.”