Monday, March 20, 2017

V 6 N. 20 One High School, Two Sub 4-Minute Milers

Tom, Jack and The St. Ignatius Four-Minute Mile Legacy


By Paul O’Shea


It’s a brick wall.  I shall not attempt it again.
--John Landy, after running between 4:02 and 4:03 six times in 1953.  


Fortunately for the track and field world, the determined Australian broke both his vow and four minutes when he set a world record of 3:58 in l954. Unfortunately for Landy, his feat came forty-six days after Roger Bannister’s epic run.


Since those fondly remembered days, more than a thousand men have run under four minutes (but where are their Ran Sub-4 bumper stickers?). Nearly five hundred Americans now claim that distinction.


Only two high schools have graduated a pair of sub-four minute milers, Wichita East High School in Kansas (Archie San Romani, Jr. and Jim Ryun), and Chicago’s St. Ignatius, which gained this recognition just weeks ago.


Thomas Martin Ignatius O’Hara (St. Ignatius ’60, Loyola ‘64) was the first Ignatian under four minutes when he ran 3:59.4 in l963 for Loyola University.  He went on to break two world indoor mile records and earn an Olympic berth. The latest is Jack Keelan (St. Ignatius ’13, Stanford ‘17), emerging at Stanford University as one of the nation’s highly promising distance runners. He ran 3:59.62 in February. The O’Hara-Keelan breakthroughs came fifty-four years apart.
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In the 1960s Tom O’Hara was one of the world’s finest middle distance competitors.  A 4:20 miler for St. Ignatius when the national high school record was 4:03.5, his college career took off at Loyola, where he ran 4:08 his freshman year. With his first sub-four he became the ninth American to crack the barrier following Don Bowden who ran 3:58.7 in 1957.
O'Hara using his St. Ignatius honed skills winning the
USTFF Nationals in Chicago in 1963.


Nineteen sixty-four was O’Hara’s career year.  He broke the indoor mile record twice and made the Olympic 1500-meter semifinal. Landing on the front of Sports Illustrated as O’Hara did, gave the sport immense recognition. SI’s June 22, 1964 cover featured the gaunt and pensive Irishman, with his trademark hair variously described by other writers as “red,” “carrot” and “pumpkin.”



A handful of Sports Illustrated writers provided extensive coverage of track and the Chicagoan, even before the lyrical prose of runner-writer Kenny Moore.  Their stories about O’Hara were headlined, Running Is Such Sweet Torture, Now If O’Hara Really Tries and, And Now There Are Two, after Jim Beatty moved up to the two-mile when O’Hara beat his one-mile record.


That first world record came at Madison Square Garden in the New York Athletic Club meet when O’Hara ran 3:56.6. Closing in 55 seconds, he sliced a huge two full seconds from Beatty’s mark. Three weeks later, in sold-out Chicago Stadium before more than 18,000 screaming fans, O’Hara slipped under his own mark by two-tenths of a second. Running in the Chicago Daily News Relays on the Stadium’s rickety eleven-lap board track, the largest crowd to see an indoor meet roared approval of its hometown hero. It was a mark that would last a decade.


“Even the mayor himself, Richard J. Daley had to scrounge for tickets to the meet,” wrote Tom Brody in Sports Illustrated.  Trackside seats were six bucks, two dollars in the second balcony, where cigarette smoke gathered in a fog.



Speaking of O’Hara as a high school freshman in l956, his coach, Dr. Ralph Mailliard told Sports Illustrated’s John Underwood: “The first time I saw him, I said he should start planning for the Olympics.  I’ve never told a boy that before or since but with O’Hara there was something—something there you could sense.  Guts, courage, dedication, whatever you call it.  He never did better than a 4:20 mile for me, so I deserve no credit, but you could tell it was just a matter of time.”  The Wolfpack coach, however, did indeed deserve a measure of credit, as he guided one of the city’s consistently high performing teams.


Tom O’Hara was never to appear on the Illinois high school stage, as Jack Keelan would do so successfully decades later. St. Ignatius did not join the state athletic association until the mid-l960s.


Following his dominating indoor season O’Hara was a strong favorite to make the l964 Olympic team. He finished second to Dyrol Burleson in the Trials 1500, in front of Jim Ryun. Some thought O’Hara might defeat world record holder Peter Snell in Tokyo, but the Olympic rounds proved more challenging. O’Hara easily came through in the opening qualifier behind Kip Keino, a tenth ahead of the blocky Snell.  In the semifinal, however, bitten by the flu bug the American was seventh and did not advance.


After seeing O’Hara establish himself on the indoor circuit, his potential for excelling at longer distances became a possibility.  Australia’s Ron Clarke, who came to the United States to run a series of indoor meets, watched him circle the indoor ovals and said, “O’Hara could run two miles, three miles even, and break world records.”  In fact, the promise in moving up had earlier become reality when O’Hara won the 1962 NCAA cross country championship at Michigan State.


Nicknamed “Mousemeat” by track writers, O’Hara’s distinguishing features began with his stripling frame, a five-nine, 130 pounder who took on the likes of the three Jims (Beatty, Grelle, Ryun) as well as Burleson.  He was so skinny that the L and the A on the front of his Loyola jersey were like bookends scattered under his armpits.  One writer said he looked more like a bellhop than an athlete. Yes, and he always seemed to deliver the message, in less time than you might think.


During Chicago’s notorious winters, O’Hara and the other Loyola Ramblers trained at the Chicago Avenue Armory, an ugly, drafty building built in l907 for the Illinois National Guard.  With an indoor dirt polo field and sharing space with four-legged training groups, the venue gave special meaning to the warning Mind Your Step.


O’Hara was one of the world’s most popular middle distance runners in the Sixties, an athlete with great crowd appeal.  During his career he ran 17 sub-four minute miles. Though Track and Field News world-ranked him fourth in l963, and seventh a year later at the l500/mile, his desire to achieve faded away.


Hal Higdon, one of our sport’s most prolific writers, wrote in a l983 Chicago Tribune story:  “During college, while other students were partying, dating girls, O’Hara had devoted his time and energy to twice-daily workouts, endurance runs along the railroad tracks each morning, searing sprints on the track each afternoon, trips to races in towns like Des Moines and East Lansing on Saturdays, long runs through Lincoln Park on Sundays. O’Hara never lived what he considered a normal life. ‘I was so sick of running I thought I would get away from it for a while and catch up on life.  I even started smoking.’”


Turning the page and moving though the decades, Jack Keelan is the second St. Ignatius alumnus to gain membership to the exclusive sub-four enclave. As sometimes happens, it began by leaving a successful club soccer career behind. The LaGrange Park, Illinois native discovered he could run far and run fast.  So did his new coach and teammates.
Jack and Coach Ed Ernst, after Jack forgot to wear his number.


Ed Ernst, current St. Ignatius head boys cross country and track and field coach remembers a yearling of great promise, winning a Chicago Catholic League championship, but forgetting to affix his participant number.  The first year he ran about 16:30 for three miles. Sophomore year Keelan soon became the Wolfpack’s top varsity distance runner, finishing twelfth in state cross country on Peoria’s storied Detweiller Park course. The next year as a junior he was favored to win the Illinois cross country large school title, but inexplicably failed to qualify in the sectional.  He overcame that disappointment by having an outstanding season on the track.

"Jack Keelan passes Alex Riba of O'Fallon to win the Illinois 3 A 3200 state championship race, running 8:5761 for the win.  Keelan and Riba had battled for the Illinois 3 A state cross country championship the previous fall.  Riba went on to run at Texas A&M."

The two photos of Jack's high school career are by Steven Bugarin, assistant coach at St. Ignatius.




Senior year Keelan’s performance in the large school 3A cross country meet was the tenth fastest in Illinois history.  At the Nike Cross Country Nationals, against many of the nation’s finest individuals and teams he finished 26th. In addition to the cross country title, in the spring he won the Illinois 1600- and 3200-meter races.  Packaged together it was the distance Triple Crown. With times, titles and academic achievement at elite levels, he was on his way to compete for one of the nation’s top running programs, Stanford University.


Now in his fourth year at Palo Alto (he redshirted freshman year), Keelan is deep into an impressive collegiate career.  His first year saw him finish second as an unattached athlete in the U.S. junior national cross country championships.  On the track he ran a 13:45.82 five thousand meters at the Payton Jordan Invitational.  As a sophomore he made the Cardinal top seven in cross country, placing 100th in the NCAA meet.  His five thousand time fell to 13:40. He was Stanford’s seventh man at the NCAA cross country meet as a junior.  In all, he was a member of three teams with NCAA podium finishes. Off the course and track he made the Pac-12 All-Academic second team.


Keelan’s sub-four race this February was less a career target than seizing an unforeseen opportunity.   His best mile had been 4:06.25. Originally the team plan was to run only the Distance Medley Relay at Penn State, with a teammate scheduled to run the mile.  Illness prevented highly recruited Grant Fisher from traveling so Keelan volunteered.  The DMR came the night before the 1600 meters, and he anchored the final leg in a foreshadowing 3:59, which converts to a 4:01 mile.  Twenty hours later he was back on the Nittany Lion track.  


“After the DMR on Friday, coach Chris Miltenberg was happy with how the race went and wanted me to rest up and not run the next day. I told him that I felt really good and wanted to race again.  He said to sleep on it.  The next day we talked it over about an hour before the gun, and agreed I should go ahead.”


Asked what he remembered as he finished first in 3:59.62 and became the 479th American to achieve that milestone (pun intended), Keelan said:  “Crossing the finish line I was just focused on trying to win the race.  Once I saw the time though, I was really more relieved than anything.  While the mile has not been my main focus while in college, breaking the four-minute barrier has been something that my coach and I have been talking about for several years.  So having everything come together and break four was really something special.  


“As far as sinking in, I am not sure it really has yet.  I was blessed with a tremendous amount of support after the race which I am incredibly thankful for, but that barrier has such a special place in distance running, so it still feels rather surreal.”   


Later, Coach Miltenberg said: “He is a great example of a guy in our program who has steadily developed and built confidence with each race.”


When Tom O’Hara learned about Keelan’s own sub-four minute mile, he said: “I’m very pleased to see that Jack ran such a fine race and time.”


The great middle distance runners of the past were articulate about how they viewed the event.  Landy said that every part of the race was tactically important.  “You can never let down, never stop thinking, and you can be beaten at almost any point.  I suppose you could say that it is like life.”


John Walker, owner of 135 sub-four outings said that no one remembers the records in almost every other middle- and long-distance race.  “The mile they remember.  Only the mile.”


Now there is a second name at the top of the St. Ignatius distance running legacy.
------------

Paul O’Shea is a lifelong participant in the track and field world, as athlete, coach and journalist.  After a career in corporate communications he coached a high school girls’ cross country team and was a long-time contributor to Cross Country Journal. He now writes for Once Upon a Time in the Vest from his home in northern Virginia, and can be reached at Poshea17@aol.com.  He attended St. Ignatius High School from 1949 to 1951, but was unable to complete a mile in less than four minutes.


Comment from John Bork Jr.



The failure of Tom O'hara to medal at the 1964 Tkyo Olympics had little or nothing to do with the flu.

Rather, It was due to the fact the Tom's father died, and had him gieving at Tokyo!

Some one can help me here........ but, I no longer remember if Tom went home to his Father's Funeral
and came home and then went back to Tokyo: or, if he stayed in Tokyo, hoping to honor his Father and thus gave way to his grief


John


From Bruce Kritzler:

George,
Great story on the Chicago boys.
Stillwater HS (Minnesota) coach Scott Christensen has produced 4 sub 4 milers - Ben Blankenship, Jake Watson, Luke Watson, Sean Graham.
Bruce


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

V 7 N. 19 Honoring Sportsmanship, Devon Cornelius and Trey Everett

Devin Cornelius
Trey Everett




Too often we get so caught up in the moment of competition that we fail to notice events that transform athletes from aggressive, self centered, win at all costs people into something more genuine, caring and human.  Admittedly we humans have some serious flaws whether ingrained by genetics or reflected by our evolving societal standards.  History has demonstrated unimaginable cruetly of man on man, and our history books are punctuated and demarcated by chains of endless war.   But sometimes that lust for being the victor or being better than someone else is cast away, and the high side of our nature peaks out from behind those dark clouds.

There have been innumerable tales in our sport of such events.  The friendship of Jesse Owens and Luz Long in 1936 under the grey skies of the Third Reich.   John Landy stopping to help up a younger fallen comrade, Ron Clarke during a race.  The embrace of C.K. Yang and Rafer Johnson, teammates and opponents in the Decathlon in Rome in 1960.     Followers of this blog like to read about what happened more than fifty years ago, and we are less interested in today's track when we see our sport has become more and more commercialized, more and more crass in its determination to gain unfair advantage spurred on by financial reward.

Recently at the NCAA Division II Championships something occurred that would cause us to think that we were looking at the past once again.  Two young men, one from Central Missouri University and one from the University of Findlay shared a moment that they will be able to hold onto for the rest of their lives.   I'll let the words of  Marc Arce, University of Findlay track coach tell you what went on, so that you will better understand.   Here is a letter that Marc sent to the AD and President of the University of Central Missouri.  Marc gave us permission to share this with you and hopes that you will pass it on to others.  George Brose

March 14, 2017

Dr. Charles M. Ambrose, President
Mr. Jerry Hughes, Athletic Director
Central Missouri University
500 S. Washington Street
Warrensburg, MO 64093

     I would like to take the opportunity to share with you the highs and lows of an NCAA Championships and the ultimate sportsmanship exhibited by Devin Cornelius, a senior member of the track & field team at Central Missouri University.  Trey Everett is a junior at the University of Findlay, who like Devin is a multiple NCAA II All-American.  This past weekend, both young men competed in the heptathlon at the NCAA II Indoor Championships in Birmingham, AL.  This is a two day competition in which the entrants compete against each other over seven events, scoring points based on each event's performance  This was Trey's first heptathlon competition  at a national championships as he previously competed only as a high jumper.  Over the two days, Trey was exceeding our expectations and entered the final event , the 1000m run in fourth place.  Trey was 150m from the finish line when he tripped, lost his balance and unitentionally stepped into the infield of the track.  Several runners passed him, but to his credit, and to the credit and pride of every multi-eventer, he got back on the track and finished the race.  When the  final score was tabulated, Trey lost one place, finishing fifth overall, with Devin one place behind in sixth.  Awards were distributed soon after in recognition of the top eight finishers.

     Unbeknown to most at the time, a protest had been lodged by the coach of the ninth place athlete, requesting a disqualification of Trey for stepping inside of the track, not completing the race distance as prescribed.  Ultimately the referee concurred and disqualified Trey and the Jury of Appeals upheld his decision after extended deliberation.  The decision of this coach to file a protest was questioned by many of my colleagues there, including that of the Central Missouri coach, as Trey did not gain any advantage, rather his mishap resulted in a much slower time in the race.  What this coach does not fully comprehend is that there is a bond that is developed through athletes competing in the heptathlon that extends well beyond those who won or lost.  Devin understands this, as his actions that followed the competition clearly demonstrate.

     Trey accepted the results, taking responsibility for stepping inside the track and returned his fifth-place trophy as requested by the NCAA.  Devin took it upon himself to seek out Trey on the last evening of the meet, following the closing ceremonies.  Accompanied by CMU graduate assistant coach Mathew Harris,  Devin gave his sixth-place trophy to Trey, a gesture that symbolized an injustice had occurred.  Devin's sportmanship exceeds everything that took place during and after that competition.  He understands the comradery that is developed between this select group of athletes over the many times, grueling two-day competition and recognizes the efforts of those competing with  him, not against him.  It is my hope that the coach who filed the protest will one day reach the maturity level of this young man.

     I thank Devin for easing the pain and disappointment that Trey had been feeling.  His sportsmanship is truly felt, not only by Trey, but by our entire team.  With one simple gesture, he impacted many, many people.  Years from now when Trey looks at that trophy, he will not remember how fast he ran, how far he threw, or how high he jumped; but will be reminded of an act of friendship and sportsmanship that will endure forever.

    For me personally , I did not want this act to go unrecognized.  I have been coaching at the collegiate level for over 30 years.  Devin has restored much faith in all that is good in college athletics.  Central Missouri University should be proud of Devin for his accoplishments on the track and his actions off the track.  CMU should also be proud of the influence of his coaches, Kip Janvrin and Kirk Pederen who represent their institution with the utmost professionalism.  You have a first-class program.

                                                                                Sincerely,
                                                                                Marc M. Arce
                                                                                Head Track and Field Coach
                                                                                Findlay University


Comments:
Jon Hendershott loved this story and sent the following comment.  He claims it's off the top of his head and thinks there might be a few cobwebs in the way, but I checked it out and his memory serves him well.  GB

I really enjoyed the post on the two Div. II kids.  Class act all the way by the Central Missouri athlete to give his award to the Findlay athlete.  

Reminds me of the story from the ’08 Beijing Olympics when the sprinter from the Netherlands Antilles, Churandy Martina, ran a totally-unexpected 2nd in the 200 (behind some guy named Bolt). Wallace Spearmon of the US was 3rd. While the 3 medalists were on their victory laps, the word came down that Spearmon had been DQ’ed for running a couple of steps inside his lane line on the curve.

Then, when officials were checking video of the race, someone noted that Martina did the same.  So he too was DQ’ed.  From silver to nothing in just a short time. American Shawn Crawford initially finished 4th but was moved up to 2nd; American Walter Dix finished 5th but got moved up to 3rd.

Some time later, Martina got a message in his room at the Olympic Village saying there was a message for him on the main desk.  He went downstairs to get the message and found an envelope.  Inside was a silver medal and a message reading (paraphrasing) “This belongs to you; you earned it. Not me. Shawn Crawford.” 

I met Martina once in brief passing, but never got to ask him about that incident.  But it embodies the spirit of the Olympics to me.

My best, George — Jon.

V 7 N. 18 Ed Whitlock R.I.P.

Ed Whitlock
Ed Whitlock passed away yesterday.   He ran his last competitive race in December,  ran a marathon in October, just 4  1/2 months ago.  He was 86 years old.  He was not just an old marathoner.  There are lots of them.  He was simply the best man who, after the age of 70, ever ran across the face of the earth.

His likeability was second to none.  Self depricating humour was his forte.  Who else trains exclusively in a cemetery and could say, "At least nobody bothers me there."?   He didn't seem to follow any scientific principles or give sound advice.  He merely ran and ran regularly and a lot.  He was gifted with genetics, and when he discovered this gift he used it to the fullest.  We try to teach children this behavior, and Ed was a prime example.
Ed in his favorite training area

I've not seen Ed since 1976 when I was living in Quebec.  We raced several times on the track, perhaps never on the roads.  He was 45 years old then and looked every bit of 60 years.  But oh did he have  wheels.  I could never out kick the man, and he was thirteen years older than me at the time.  Ed raced from his days as a school boy right through to the end.  There may have been some breaks in his racing while he was establishing a career as a mining engineer in his adopted Canada.  He was an Englishman who became a Canadian.   If we look at various senior runners and their running histories, we find very, very few who ran all their lives.  The seniors today seem only to have discovered the sport after the age of about fifty. They aren't carrying the endemic injuries that end careers too early.   But Ed was the exception.   No one lives or runs forever, but no one ever saw Ed in the End Game.   The cycle of  life inevitably caught up to him.  But it is one of the only things that ever did catch up to Ed.   Rest in Peace , Ed.

George Brose


Click below to see Ed's obituary in the Globe and Mail

Ed Whitlock The Globe and Mail  by Marty Klinkenberg

Saturday, March 11, 2017

V 7 N. 17 February, 1967

FEBRUARY 1967

    How time flies. It is February 1967 already. Let us turn the pages as we go back in time half a century. To show you how complete we are, let's start with January, specifically Wednesday the 26th when the venerable Millrose Games is celebrating its 60th running. Australian steeplechaser Kerry O'Brien has been here only two days but already has created overweight baggage problems for his flight home. The 20 year old O'Brien, already fifth fastest steeplechaser ever, destroys the two mile field in the last quarter mile to win in a meet record 8:39.6, leaving Pat Traynor (8:43.0) and Tony Benson (8:43.8) in his wake. For his efforts he is faced with stuffing his duffle bag with three large trophies, one for winning, another for being selected the meet's outstanding athlete and permanent possession of a “big silver cup for the best time over a three year period”. No, we are not quite sure what that means nor do we see the difference between winning a trophy and being granted permanent possession of one, but we have our best people working on both these issues and will undoubtedly have a clear explanation for you later in this report.
Kerry O'Brien

    Two nights later O'Brien and luggage arrive in Boston for the Boston AA meet. The potential problems on his flight home are exacerbated by winning the two mile, setting a meet record and being awarded another of those cumbersome most outstanding athlete trophies. His 8:38.4 is the fastest in the world this year, but doesn't come easily, as he has to run 58.1 on the final quarter to hold off Tom Laris (8:38.8) by three yards.

    O'Brien was not the only one leaving with a seasonal world best. Ricky Urbina blazes 1000 yards in 2:08.1 for that distinction.
Judge Ricardo Urbina (ret'd.)
Georgetown Track Legend
Photo: Washington Post

 The 600 provides a preview of a things to come as Martin McGrady is credited with a “mild upset” for holding off Dave Hemery and Bill Crothers in 1:09.9. Let's keep an eye on this McGrady kid. He may have found his race.
McGrady appearing on TF&N cover
in 1968 beating Lee Evans and Jim Kemp
    On the same night, 3088 miles away in Portland, world indoor shot put record holder Neil Steinhauer puts more distance between him and the accepted gold standard of the event, Randy Matson, when he puts the iron ball 67-10, a spectacular improvement of 15 ¼ inches. Indeed he nearly averages his old record as his six tosses average 66-6 1/8, topping Matson's best average of 65-10 ¼. Apparently there's a new sheriff in town.
Neil Steinhauer
    Ralph Boston notches his fourth hurdle – long jump double of the season, 7.1 and 25-8 ¼ . Charlie Greene outsprints Harry Jerome and San Jose State teammates Bob Griffin and Tommie Smith, all timed in 6.1.
Ralph Boston
    Wait, there's more this evening. Travel with us 1362 miles (yes, we love Google maps) Southeast to Albuquerque for the appropriately named Albuquerque JC meet where three world records are set, only one of which is benefitted by the ten lap to the mile track. That would be Theron Lewis' 47.1 440. Wendell Motley's old record of 47.3 is tied by Jim Kemp who is second this evening. Jim Hines of Texas Southern ties the 60 record of 5.9 in a heat before winning the final in 6.0. This is just business as usual, for Hines ran that time twice last week in the NAIA meet.
Jim Hines

    Bob Seagren pulled a muscle in his back two nights ago in the Millrose Games. Trooper that he is, Seagren not only competes, but takes a shot at his 17-1 world record. Efficiency is his watchword as he takes but three attempts, 16-0, 16-6 and 17-2 for the WR. Thanks for coming, Bob.
Bob Seagren
    Three world records make for an I-was-there night for any fan, yet the crowd favorite this evening is 17 year old high school kid Jerry Proctor who wins the long jump at 26-2. How good is this? Let us count the ways. He breaks his own high school record of 25-10 ½. His worst jump is 25-5 ¼, equal to the previous best ever HS jump indoors or out (Doyle Steele last year). No aberration this, not only did he jump this distance twice, he had another effort at 26-1¼. Oh, he also beat a pretty good field, Bill Miller, Gayle Hopkins and Bob Beamon. The kid may have a future. Stay tuned.

    We would be amiss were we not to mention that the 49er Track Club records the third fastest two mile relay ever, 7:25.6, more significantly the fastest ever on a ten-lap-or-smaller -to-the-mile track. Harry McCalla opens with 1:52.9. Darryl Taylor picks up the pace with a 1:51.4 carry, handing to Tom Von Ruden who sizzles a 1:49.2. Preston Davis finishes with a 1:52.1. Job well done, guys.
Lindgren and Baillie
(photo listed for sale on E Bay)



    The big news the next weekend comes from the west coast. On Feb. 4the Seattle Invitational sees New Zealand's Bill Baillie hanging with state favorite Gerry Lindgren for 20 of the 22 laps of the two mile. At this point Lindgren goes to the afterburners to open a gap of 40 yards at the tape. His 8:31.6 is history's third fastest (Ron Clarke 8:28.8 and Jim Beatty 8:30.8) and heightens track fans' anticipation of his match with Clarke in San Francisco in two weeks. Baillie finishes in 8:37.8. Darryl Horn sets meet records of 25-8 and 51-0 in the horizontal jumps.

    The initial San Diego Invitational the same evening plays to a capacity house of 11, 781 with over 2000 turned away. The primary attraction is the matchup between the two big guys in the shot put, indoor world record holder Neil Steinhauer and the holder of the outdoor record, Randy Matson. A month earlier Steinhouer broke the world record in handing Matson his first defeat since the 1964 Olympics. Since then he had increased that mark as reported earlier in this report.

Matson putting another kind of ball.
A little one on one before an indoor meet with Steinhauer and Matson might have sold
a few more tickets.
    The magic isn't there for either. Steinhauer pops 66-2¼ on his second toss but Matson is stuck in the 63s until getting 65-4 on his fourth attempt. Steinhauer can't improve, but with Matson throwing only 60-1 on his penultimate effort, he may not have to. With Matson throwing first, the pressure is on the big Texan. He responds with a 66-10½, placing the burden on the Oregon senior. History does not record the length of Suoerduck's response, as he fouls, giving Matson the win and tying the year's indoor series at 1-1.
    When he toes the line for the start of the 1000, Tom Von Ruden's best is 2:10.2. Two minutes six and eight tenths of a second later he breasts the tape with the third fastest clocking in indoor history. Only Peter Snell and Bill Crothers had run faster and then just barely at 2:06.0 and 2:06.4.
    The USTFF is held on the following Friday, Feb. 10 in New York. As well as San Diegoans supported their meet the previous week, the New Yorkers don't. Only 4409 spectators see Villanova's Dave Patrick blaze a 55.6 final quarter to finish the season's fastest mile, 4:00.6.
    The big news on this weekend is produced in consecutive evenings in Texas. On Friday in Fort Worth, Randy Matson destroys, crushes, smashes, demolishes (your turn, you pick a word) Neil Steinhauer's 67-10 shot put record. Not only does he throw an amazing 69-2, his average for six puts is 67-11.
    What can he do for an encore the next night in Dallas? Hopefully you are seated. He blasts a 70-7½, a quarter inch beyond his outdoor record. Track and field officials are notorious for nit-picking. They find the throwing area exceeds the maximum slope allowable by, well, it isn't stated, but we bet it isn't much, so it doesn't count as a record. Doesn't matter to Randy who says, “I'm just happy I could do so well, so soon.”

    That very night a sell out crowd at the Times Indoor Games sees Ron Clarke run away from Bill Baillie in the last half mile of the two mile to win 8:41.8 to 8:48.2 and Bob Seagren set the pole vault world record....sort of. Yes, the USC sophomore clears 17-3 to break his own record by an inch, only to have the pole go under the crossbar, which no longer is a sin, but back in the day this was sufficient to negate a clearance. Maybe next week, Bob.

    This is a memorable evening for track fans as the Mason-Dixon Games are being held on Freedom Hall's spacious 8 lap to the mile track. As the turns on a 220 yard track are less tight that those of the traditional 160 yard 11 laps to the mile tracks, the M-D meet has produced at least one world record every year since 1962. This night is no exception as four WRs fall.

    Three weeks ago Theron Lewis broke Wendell Motley's 440 WR with a 47.1 effort in Albuquerque. Tonight Tommie Smith puts that on the ash pile of history with a 46.2 clocking which also displaces Mike Larrabee's 46.8 400 meter record. Tom Von Ruden runs negative splits, 56.5 and 52.5, to shave eight tenths off Tom Farrell's 1:49.8 WR. Inexplicably 8 lap to the mile times are lumped together with 11 lap to the mile times, but apparently a time run on a larger track is not valid for record purposes as the fastest ever indoor time is 1:47.7 by John Woodruff in 1940 on a 263 yard banked track.

    Further evidence of the difference between 8 and 11 lap tracks is offered by Southern University's mile relay team. The previous night in New York the Jaguars ran 3:16.7. Tonight they lop 9 tenths off the record they share with Texas Southern at 3:10.2. Neil Steinhauer wins the shot at 65-8, but we may want to keep an eye on the second place finisher who nets a lifetime best of 63-4½, 24 year old George Woods.

    On Friday, Feb. 17 15,382 spectators view the 99th running of the New York Athletic Club Games, nostalgic because it is the last to be held in the original Madison Square Garden which is soon to be torn down. Villanova's Dave Patrick, who missed breaking the four minute mile barrier by six tenths of a second last week, dominates a good field, pulling away for a 3:59.3 victory and moving to fourth on the all time US list.
Dave Patrick
Finishing in a bunch between 4:01.9 and 4:02.6 are Richard Romo, Dave Bailey, Tim Danielson, John Camien and Tom Von Ruden.


    If Von Ruden's 49erTC teammates miss him in the two mile relay, you couldn't prove it by the Oregon team. The Ducks had the lead at the last handoff, but 49er anchor Preston Davis is up for the challenge. His 1:50.1 carry gives the Long Beach squad a four tenths of a second win in 7:29.8.

    On the same evening Stanford senior Jim Eshelman is the star of the fifth annual Golden Gate Invitational in San Francisco, vaulting 16-10½. His six inch improvement moves him past John Pennell, into second on the all time indoor list. In a change of strategy, Ron Clarke allows Jerry Lindgren set the pace in the two mile. With four laps to go, the great Aussie makes his move and appears to have the race in hand. Lindgren bides his time before responding with two laps left to pull away for his first win over Clarke in six tries, 8:32.6 to 8:35.8.
Lindgren and Clarke in years prior
    San Jose State has chosen this meet in their backyard to take a shot at the 11 lap to mile WR in the mile relay. After two 49.7 legs, Lee Evans zips a 48.2 quarter and hands to Tommie Smith who counters any thought than a long legged athlete can't run such tight curves, with a stunning 46.5 split. The Spartans' 3:14.1 easily tops the record of 3:15.6 set two years earlier by Morgan State.

    Cecil Turner of Cal Poly nips USC's newly enrolled football prospect, OJ Simpson, in the 60 with both clocking 6.1 PRs.

    Now it is the next evening and we are back to mundane 160 yard tracks. Track size doesn't concern Bob Seagren as he increases his three week old pole vault WR to 17-3 in the Cleveland K of C meet. It appears that USC has another sprint prospect in Lennox Miller who takes the 50 in 5.3.

    On this same evening in Vancouver, a mile match up among Ron Clarke, Dyrol Burleson and Kip Keino doesn't come off as one might expect. Burleson turns on the gas to win in 4:03.4. Surprisingly, Ray Haswell and Dave Roberts take the next two spots in 4:03.7 and 4:06.1 with Clarke a well beaten fourth in 4:09.9. What about Keino?, you may ask. Being boxed on the last lap, he is discouraged and drops out. What? How about that “A winner never quits and a quitter never wins” adage? Don't fret. Twenty-four minutes later there is the enigmatic Kenyan lining up for the start of the two mile. Long story short, he wins in 8:37.6, his fastest indoor time.

    Before we tell you about Jim Ryun's exploits Feb. 23, we have to give you some background. On Wednesday, the 15th, he finishes fifth in a dual meet with Oklahoma. How can this be? There must be an explanation. Yes, there is. He had run two hard workouts the previous day and another the morning of this meet. Compounding his competitive handicap, is the fact that this is a 600 yard race, no more than a workout. Three days later he wins the Kansas Federation two mile in an unpressed 8:44.2.
Ryun about to pass Glen Ogden
    Now it is the dual meet with Oklahoma State on his 220 yard home track on the 23rd. He has lessened his training and is ready to run fast. And he does. His 1:48.3 eclipses Tom Von Ruden's recent 1:49.0, but doesn't qualify for the world record because it is run on a clay track. Indoor records must be run on boards. Go figure.
Keino on a better day

    We used the word enigmatic earlier to describe Kip Keino. Though history will remember him as one of the greatest distance runners of all time, he is at a hit or miss period in his career.

    In Toronto's Maple Leaf Games on the 24th, he is leading with half a mile left in the three mile. Money in the bank, right? No, for an unexplained reason, he falls off the pace and finished ninth. Dave Ellis holds off Van Nelson 13:35.2 to 13:36.0. Sixth place is 13:51. No time is given for Keino.

    Ryun will be running the 880 in the NCAA meet in two weeks, but even with his recent 1:48.3 to verify his status as favorite, he may have a serious challenge on his hands. On the 25th, Villanova's Dave Patrick clocks 1:49.1 on a 160 yard track in Baltimore, the fastest ever on a track of that size. Your reporter can't wait until the action goes outside where all tracks are the way God made them, the same size.

    Oh, speaking of outside, Texans already are. On the 24th, in a meet with Baylor, Randy Matson tosses the rock 68-8¾. It is 50 and windy the next day in Houston, but that doesn't prevent Texas Southern's 440 relay team from running 39.9. Anchor Jim Hines returns to hold off East Texas State freshman John Carlos in the 220 by a tenth in 20.9.

    Now tidbits culled from the On Your Marks column: Ralph Boston is contemplating another athletic endeavor when his track career is finished. He has plans to play for the Kansas City Chiefs of the AFL. A wide receiver or defensive back, you may be thinking. No, a punter....
Clyde Glosson

Clyde Glosson is one of the fastest men in the world based on his times last year, 9.2w and 20.6w, yet his Trinity University coach not only won't use him on the anchor leg of the 440 relay, he won't put him on the relay team at all. Here is the question for the more astute of Clyde Glosson?  Clik here  Clyde G
   
Not heeding the directional advice of Horace Greeley, Western Michigan assistant, Bob Parks. is going east, specifically to his alma mater, Eastern Michigan where he will assist this season before becoming head coach at the end of the season.
Bob Parks
We'll keep an eye on the young man.......Back in the day, Mel Pender raced the best sprinters in the world. Difficult as that was, it didn't prepare him for the tension of his current occupation.
Mel Pender
He is an Army platoon leader in Viet Nam, “hacking my way through the jungles of the Mekong River Delta”..........We all remember the image of 8000 pigeons being released at the recent Tokyo Olympics. The MPFA (Mexican Pigeon Fancier Association, but then you knew that) is preparing a challenge. They have promised that in next years' Mexico City Olympics the sky will be filled with 10,000 pigeons, a spectacle we will cover in detail...

..And now the reason why Clyde Glosson will not carry the baton for the Trinity Tigers: there are only two guys on the team, Clyde and some guy named Fred. The team bus is the coach's VW bug......As proof that this was a simpler time, we'll close with this notice, “Results of the postal competition sponsored by T&FN are now ready, and are available by sending a self addressed envelope with ten cents postage for first class service.”


Where did you find all those recent GREAT pics.....especially the one of Boston going over a lumber yard of hurdles. I will tell you that moving those monster barriers was not a job for the timid.......or the weak. That is one part of "back in the good ole'days" I do not miss one bit. 

(along with having to line the track before every meet).    Steve


that Ralph Boston photo, hit that hurdle you were done for the week....I remember those NCAA guides.  They covered the results of even the little bitty conferences like the Prairie College Conference (I think that was the name) that Principia was in.  I remember going through those leagues, looking for those in which I had a faster time than what won their championship.  Weren't many, maybe one.  Think it was an amalgamation of agricultural colleges in western South Dakota, appropriately named the WSD 4 conference...
.....Do you realize that somewhere there is someone who knows someone who accidentally sees our site and tells those people of the Glen Ogden photo.  Eventually this leads to the comment, "Grandpa, you are on the internet.  Boy, were you skinny."..Roy

Such incredible memories, guys. Never to be repeated for me. Went to the "Old Guys" gathering right down the road in Seal Beach a couple of week-ends ago. Great group of "old" guys. I'll just mention some names:
Ron Allice
Laszlo Tabori
Bob Soth
Les Berman
John Rambo
Ed Caruthers
Reynaldo Brown
Bob Larson
Don Ruh
Kevin Hogan
Martha Watson
***many others
76 guys/gals in attendance. Gathering will be moved to Mt. SAC as a permanent venue once the renovation is complete.
Thanks for keeping the fires burning!
Darryl Taylor