Meet director John Cook doesn't want to sound boastful, but then again, he can't help himself.
"This just may be the best meet in the country, including Millrose," said Cook. "I'm not trying to compete with Millrose, but we just don't have a weak event in the meet. There certainly aren't any better meets on the West Coast."
Cook, track and field coach at George Mason University, is director of the fourth annual Mobil 1 Invitational track and field meet, which begins today at George Mason University's Recreation Sports Complex in Fairfax, Va.
Nine world-record holders will participate, including Cuba's Javier Sotomayor, the only person to clear 8 feet in the high jump; the United States' Michael Johnson, ranked No. 1 in the 200 and 400 meters; Romania's Doina Melinte, the world indoor record-holder in the mile; and Germany's Christine Wachtel, the women's world indoor record-holder at 800 meters.
Running against Wachtel are Joetta Clark and Jasime Jones of the United States and Lillya Nuritidnova of the Soviet Union. The field includes eight women who have run 800 meters in under two minutes.
"We spent a lot of time bringing this entire meet together," said Cook. "That's an incredible field. I spent most of my summer over in Europe getting commitments. What really has made this meet take off is that we've got the Cubans and the Russians participating."
One of the featured performers will be Istvan Bagyula, a George Mason junior who won the 1990 National Collegiate Athletic Association indoor and outdoor pole-vault titles.
Bagyula has been first in three indoor meets, tying with Joe Dial for first in Hamilton, Ontario, on Jan. 4, then winning in the Sunkist Invitational in Los Angeles two weeks ago and the USAir Invitational on Friday night in Johnson City, Tenn.
Bagyula had a best of 18 feet, 8 3/4 inches in Los Angeles, but today's field will include six athletes who have cleared 19 feet.
The high jump will include two athletes from Maryland, Jerome Carter of Edgewood and George Mason's Tony Barton, a senior from Baltimore. Barton has a career best of 7-7 and Carter has been over 7-9.
Mobil 1 at a glance
Event: Mobil 1 Invitational
Time: 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Site: George Mason University Recreation Sports Complex; Route 123 and University Drive in Fairfax, Va.
TV: Channel 26
Tickets: Ticketron locations