FAIRFAX, Va. -- Combined, their performances lasted a tad longer than 14 seconds at the Mobil 1 Invitational. Andre Cason and Tony Dees hope to make a more lasting impression on the American consciousness this summer.
Cason and Dees are the hottest practitioners of their respective arts on the indoor track and field circuit, and both completed weekend sweeps with victories at George Mason University yesterday. On Friday night, they were dominant at the Snickers Millrose Games in New York.
Cason, 23, who set a world record of 6.45 seconds in the 60-meter -- on Jan. 29 in Belgium, continued his unbeaten season with a 6.54 clocking that beat Leroy Burrell's 6.61 by a yard. Cason, a native of Virginia Beach who ran collegiately for Texas A&M, was on the U.S. team that set a world record in the 400 relay at last year's world outdoor championships, but he's more inclined toward individual honors in 1992.
Fourth at The Athletics Congress championships a year ago, he sounds confident of overtaking Burrell, Dennis Mitchell and 100-meter record-holder and two-time Olympic champion Carl Lewis, thus gaining one of the three U.S. berths in the Barcelona Olympic Games.
"I'm kind of setting the tone for the year," said Cason, who appears shorter than his listed height of 5 feet 7. "This weekend is the first time all year I've faced this kind of competition.
Dees was ranked No. 2 in the world last year in the 110 hurdles, with a best of 13.05 seconds that is the fourth-fastest ever. But his worst race came at TAC, when a pulled abductor muscle in his groin limited him to a sixth-place finish. With Dees out and two-time Olympic champion Roger Kingdom taking off the year to mend an injury, the U.S. contingent at the worlds was Greg Foster, Morgan State product Jack Pierce and Renaldo Nehemiah.
Yesterday, Dees was timed in 7.53 seconds, .01 ahead of Foster. Los Angeles Raiders wide receiver Willie Gault was fifth in 7.83, and Nehemiah did not finish. Pierce, the Millrose runner-up, did not compete.
"Last year is a great incentive for me," said Dees, who at 6-4 towers over most fields. "I want to prove myself this year."
World 1,500-meter champion Noureddine Morceli of Algeria chased the indoor mile record and a $50,000 bonus, but his time of 3:54.41 was more than five seconds off the mark. Russian Maxim Tarasov, who's only two months past his 21st birthday, cleared a meet record 19-1 in the pole vault.
The top three in the high jump all cleared 7-5 1/4 , but Milford Mill High graduate Tony Barton, who's completing his studies at George Mason, settled for third on the basis of misses. Last year was the first in his career in which he didn't raise his personal best. Mount St. Mary's won the Metro 4x400 relay, with Jim Stevenson, a freshman decathlete from England, posting the best split, 48.2.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee came within .03 seconds of her meet record in the 60-meter hurdles with a 7.84-second clocking, and appears to have healed from the ankle injury that kept her out of the heptathlon world championships. Natasha Kaiser upset Diane Dixon in the 400, 52.63 to 52.98, and Romania's Doina Melinte out-sprinted countrywoman Margareta Keszeg in the women's mile in 4:33.97.
The program concluded with another mile, a co-ed race for juniors. Lolita Manning, an 11-year-old who's in the sixth grade at Hamilton Middle School in Northeast Baltimore, was the top female finisher in 5:28.29, beaten only by three older boys.