Big Blaze in the Mighty Burner

Sophomore quarter-miler Larry James set a new indoor world record and anchored his mile-relay team to victory as Villanova won a surprisingly easy NCAA championship from favored Southern California.

  1. It had been a slow 1:52 half mile but Villanova's Dave Patrick acted as if he had just run three seconds faster, beaten Jim Ryun by 30 yards and broken his own indoor world record. He rushed into the tunnel alongside the track at Detroit's Cobo Arena and threw an arm around teammate Frank Murphy, who had finished second. "We did it!" he shouted. "We did our job, Frank." The time? "I didn't even hear it," Patrick said. "I guess it was pretty slow. But that doesn't matter—not this weekend."

    All that mattered to the Villanova captain was who won and who placed in each event of the NCAA indoor championships. Southern California, with stars like Bob Seagren and Lennox Miller and great overall depth, was the defending champion and favored as the meet began. But Villanova had one record-breaker of its own, three strong relay teams and a belief that every athlete on the squad could help to pull off an upset.

    "We all think of one another in everything we do during the year," said Patrick. "So...

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