CORVALLIS, Ore. — Controversy has always been part of any UCLA-USC athletic competition over the years. But the Bruins and Trojans usually confine their squabbles to their own backyard.
But UCLA and USC brought a different type of quarrel to the Northwest Friday in the Pacific 10 track and field meet--and it involved the women.
UCLA's Gail Devers, a busy, multi-event performer, had apparently won the long jump on her last attempt, a personal record-equaling effort of 21 feet 10 inches.
Hold everything. USC Coach Fred LaPlante filed a protest that Devers had jumped out of turn on her last jump and her mark should be disallowed, according to the rules.
The protest was upheld momentarily and Devers was placed third, her standing before her last jump. That left California's Sheila Hudson in first place, with USC's Yvette Bates and Wendy Brown in second and fourth.
But UCLA Coach Bob Kersee appealed the ruling to the meet's jury of appeals, maintaining that Devers had been allowed by an official to jump out of turn, so that she could report in time for the start of the 100-meter trials.
"I told an official if I didn't get over to the 100, I would be scratched out of it," Devers said, "and he said go ahead and jump now."
The jury of appeals reinstated Devers in first place, reasoning than an athlete shouldn't be penalized for an official's error.
Now it was LaPlante's turn to appeal the appeal, but the last verdict stood. Devers was, indeed, the winner of the long jump.
"Gail never asked to jump out of order and I'm surprised the official let her," Kersee said. "She still had time to report for the 100 and get back for her last jump in the regular order.
"But I don't blame Fred for protesting. If we were wearing different jackets, I would have done the same thing."
Devers not only won the long jump but easily won her heats in the 100, 200 and 100-meter hurdles. She'll be in those final races today along with running the anchor leg on the 400-meter relay team and, possibly, anchoring the 1,600 relay if the Bruins need her to win the meet.
Form generally prevailed in the men's competition as USC and Oregon stayed on course in their showdown for the team title.
UCLA is expected to get most of its points today in the sprints, hurdles and both relays. The Bruins didn't waver much Friday on a mildly warm, but windy day.
Jim Banich won the shotput with a throw of 63-5 1/2, while teammates Chris Sweeney and Brian Bluetreich, were third and fourth, respectively.
Kevin Young and Jim Connolly finished third in the long jump and javelin, respectively; Mark Junkermann was fourth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase; Dave Wilson got fourth in the hammer throw and walk-on George Yuster was a surprise sixth in the 10,000.
USC's Fredson Mayiek, a native of Kenya, was even more surprising. He finished second in the 10,000, ahead of two Oregon runners, inadvertently helping the UCLA cause.
USC's Robert Reading, who was second in the 110-meter hurdles in last year's meet, couldn't compete because of a pulled muscle. Another Trojan, George Porter, hit the 9th and 10th hurdles and sprawled to the track in the 400-meter hurdles and didn't qualify. . . . The women's 3,000 was the most competitive race of the day with Oregon's Annette Hand and UCLA's Polly Plumer alternately surging into the lead. Hand regained the lead on the final turn and held off Plumer to win in 9:13.86. . . . In men's competition after seven events, Washington State led with 57 points followed by Oregon, 51, and UCLA 47. USC had only 13 points. In women's competition after six events, Oregon had 41 points, Arizona, 32, followed by USC, Washington and UCLA with 30, 24, and 22 points, respectively. . . . USC's Diana Clements won the shotput at 55-5 1/2 and said that she felt capable of throwing 57 feet. . . . UCLA's John Stanich won his 800-meter heat in a lifetime best of 1:48.5.