Southern Cal’s Balazs Kiss, the world leader in the hammer throw, broke the meet record three times in winning his third consecutive title in the NCAA track and field championships Wednesday.
Kiss’ stunning showing overshadowed victories by two of the meet’s marquee performers, long jumper Kareem Streete-Thompson of Rice and discus thrower John Godina of UCLA.
The 23-year-old Kiss, a native of Veszprem, Hungary, finished the best series of his career with a winning throw of 261 feet, 3 inches and became the Trojans’ 100th NCAA individual champion, the most by any university in the meet’s 74-year history.
Streete-Thompson, the 1995 world leader in the long jump at 28-1 and ranked No. 2 in the world in 1994, completed a sweep of the NCAA indoor and outdoor titles, winning at 27-2.
Godina, the collegiate leader in the discus and fourth in the world this year at 213-0, won his second straight title at 202-4.
Kiss, undefeated in three years of collegiate competition, is the first Southern Cal athlete to win three titles in a row since shot putter Dallas Long from 1962-64.
It was a remarkable performance considering Kiss was bothered by leg cramps and dehydration throughout the competition. He also didn’t practice the past three days because of a groin injury.
“I felt like pulling out after the first three throws,” Kiss said, “but I wanted to put on a show for the people.”
Although the crowd was sparse at the University of Tennessee’s track, Kiss put on a good show. He opened with a throw of 257-8, breaking the meet record of 257-0 set by Ken Flax of Oregon in 1986. Kiss followed that with his second meet record, at 260-7.
After a foul in round three, Kiss uncorked his winning throw - and third meet record. He finished with tosses of 253-7 and 259-1.
Even though he set the college record of 268-10 in the Pac-10 championships on May 19, his series included two fouls.
Kiss had hoped to break Lance Deal’s stadium record of 270-8 set last year in the USA-Mobil Championships.
“I had a chance of doing it,” Kiss said, “but I kept cramping.”
Kiss is only the second hmmmer thrower to win three NCAA titles. The other was Washington’s Scott Neilson, a four-time winner from 1976-79. Kiss, a junior, will have a chance to match Neilson’s feat in next year’s championships at Eugene, Ore.
Alex Papadimitriou, the Western Athletic Conference champion from Texas-El Paso and last year’s runner-up, again finished second.
Arkansas, favored to win its fourth straight men’s title, got a big boost when Godfrey Siamusiye, the Southeastern Conference champion in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, 5,000 meters and 10,0000 meters, won the 10,000 at 28:59.60.