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Track Roundup : Dial Goes 19-3 1/2 to Break Own U.S. Outdoor Record

<i> From Times Wire Services </i>

Pole vaulter Joe Dial soared to a U.S. record of 19 feet, 3 1/2 inches in Sunday’s second annual Safeway Olympian Track and Field Invitational at El Paso, Tex.

Dial, formerly of Oklahoma State, bettered his own mark of 19-2 3/4 on his first jump. The bar vibrated for a second and then stood still. Dial, 23, came close on his third and final attempt but failed at 19-6 1/2.

It was the seventh time this year that Dial has vaulted 19 feet, including an indoor world record of 19-4 3/4 in February that lasted one week. Those 19-foot vaults occurred on five different tracks.

“It’s getting easier to jump 19 feet,” said Dial, who said he’s now aiming for 20 feet. “I felt good today. Things are just improving each week.”

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At 19-6 1/2, Dial bumped the bar with his feet on the second attempt and had cleared the height on the final try, but tapped it with his chest.

“I think I’ll be ready for 19-6 next week,” he said. His next competition is at the University of Oklahoma.

Dial received the most outstanding award in the all-day meet watched by an estimated crowd of 4,500 at the University of Texas at El Paso’s Kidd Field.

World record-holder Willie Banks closed the day with a fitting encore in the triple jump. He leaped 57 feet, 8 inches on his final attempt--the best jump in the world this season.

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He set the world record of 58-11 1/2 last year at the U.S. national outdoor meet in Indianapolis.

Banks, triple-jumping for the first time this year since last October, made 56-1 and 56-3 on his first two attempts.

Banks said he felt everything falling in place on his fourth jump, but meet officials moved on to the second flight. He waited 40 minutes before the finals, where he went 56-4, scratched and sailed 57-8.

“That’s the world best,” Banks said. “I can’t believe it. The last one was the best.”

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Sam Graddy, an Olympic silver medalist, ran the 100-meter dash in 10.11 seconds to defeat a field of world-class sprinters at the 16th annual Martin Luther King Jr. International Freedom Games at Emory University in Atlanta.

Graddy also ran the anchor leg on Tennessee’s 400-relay team, which finished first at 39.48, ahead of Georgia and James Madison.

In women’s events, LaVonna Martin, also of Tennessee, won the 100-meter high hurdles in 13.14, and the 200-meter dash in 23.38.

Graddy’s 100-meter time was one of the best in the world this season, and beat a Woodruff Stadium record of 10.22, set in 1984 by former Auburn star Harvey Glance.

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But the time was not a personal best for Graddy, who won the silver medal in the event and a gold on the 400-relay team during the 1984 Olympic Games.

“I’m in shape for the outdoor season this time,” Graddy said. “This is my fourth outdoor race and the only one in which I’ve had any real good competition.”

Wallace Spearman of Athletic Coast finished second in the 100, ahead of Kirk Baptiste of Athletics West.

Lorenzo Daniel, a Mississippi State sophomore, won the 200 meters in 20.17. Spearman finished second and Graddy third.

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Last year, Daniel set a junior world record of 20.07.


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