Monday, September 19, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 56 April 1959 Relays Special

APRIL 1959

The headline reads “63’7” for Dallas Long”, but the story is only four sentences. He had tied Perry O’Brien’s 1956 WR previously, but now he betters it by five inches. And in which esteemed meet did he produce this great effort? That would be the USC – UCLA freshman dual meet.

Bill Woodhouse has taken over for graduated Bobby Morrow at Abilene Christian. A front page picture shows him hitting the tape in a “wind blown” (no mention of the reading) 19.9 220 on a day in which he also runs 9.1w. One of the timers clearly pictured in the background is the aforementioned Mr. Morrow. The meet is apparently a quadrangular at ACC though the schools are not mentioned.

Other front page photos show John Lawlor of Boston University who has just raised the collegiate hammer record to 204-9 and the finish of a race in Portland where Dyrol Burleson is shown breasting the tape a step ahead of Bill Dellinger in 4:09.1. Front page stories include reports on two esteemed major meets, Drake and Penn, and one newcomer, the Mt.SAC Relays, all contested on the same weekend.

But first, let’s go to Lawrence, Kansas for the Kansas Relays held the previous week. Stars of the meet are New Mexico’s Dick Howard, who hurdles 50.4 (meters) to leave Cliff Cushman, 52.2, in his wake, and the home team’s Bill Alley, who though coming off a week with the flu, manages to toss the javelin a meet record 254-9 to beat Howard’s Lobo teammate, the wonderfully named Buster Quist, by 26 feet. Speaking of teammates, Alley’s, the great Ernie Shelby, easily beats the field in the broad jump with a 25-3 effort. Of special note is the third place finisher at 22-11½, one Bill Toomey wearing the colors of the University of Colorado. Oklahoma’s 1-2 punch in the shot put becomes a 2-1 punch as Mike Erwin, 55-7, upsets Mike Lindsay, 54-8. The Sooners also won the distance medley with a team of Gernert 49.6, Ringo 1:56.4, Kleynhans 3:11.4 and Hodgson 4:17.4, totaling 10:12.8. Hodgson blisters a 1:49.4 to make up ground on Kansas in the sprint medley, but comes up 4/10ths short as the Sooners run 3:21.8. Cliff Cushman is a coach’s dream, the utility infielder you can plug in anywhere. In addition to his hurdle effort, he anchors the winning 2 and 4 mile relay teams with splits of 1:53.9 and 4:13.3. Last seen, he had just finished sweeping out the stands and was washing Coach Easton’s car.

And now to Philadelphia for the 65th running of the Penn Relays before a crowd of 41,123. Elias Gilbert and Bill Woodhouse are the stars. Gilbert anchors Winston-Salem to a “fastest ever 480 yard shuttle hurdles victory”, though the time, 57.5, can only be found by scanning the results. He then ties Lee Calhoun’s meet record in the highs at 13.7 before embarking on his maiden voyage in the intermediates where he leads a 1-2-3 Winston-Salem sweep with a 53.6. “Stubby little Bill Woodhouse” wins the 100 in 9.5 and anchors the ACC relay teams to 40.9 and 1:24.5 victories.

In Des Moines, Iowa “the golden anniversary of the Drake Relays is blessed with the golden rays of sunshine for two days” and 14 records are set. Texas tops ACC’s efforts at Penn, running 40.6 and 1:23.9, then finishes the meet with Eddie Southern running 45.9 to hold off George Kerr and Illinois in the mile relay in 3:11.3 for both. Kerr may have come up short in this effort, but he is the star of the day. He splits 45.7, but he has already anchored the Illini to the fastest sprint medley time ever, 3:17.8, with a sizzling 1:46.6. Has the world stopped spinning on its axis? Bobby Morrow is beaten by Ira Murchison 9.4 to 9.6 in a race aided by a 5.7 mph wind. It is only the second time Murchison has beaten Morrow in twelve attempts. But wait, Morrow is back, taking a rare shot at 400 meters. The 400 is greatly anticipated because it matches upstart Dave Mills, the Purdue freshman against the great Glenn Davis. A week ago Mills beat the Olympic champion twice at the Ohio Relays, 46.5 to 47.0 in the 400 and again in the 300, 29.5 to 30.2. Seven days later it is a different story. Davis turns the tables 46.5 to 47.1 with Willie Atterberry third in 47.3. Morrow is fourth at 48.0. There are two mile races. Jim Grelle takes the college race in 4:09.5, but is overshadowed by Dyrol Burleson who wins the open division, edging Lazlo Tabori by a tenth in 4:06.7. Stanford has eschewed the much closer Mt SAC meet to run the distance medley here. Ernie Cunliffe assumes an unusual role to anchor the Indians to a 9:56.5 win with a 4:10.5 split. Michigan State and Oklahoma finish a close second and third. Oregon wins a pedestrian 4 mile relay in 17:15, an event only worth mentioning because Phil Knight (yes, that Phil Knight) runs the second leg in 4:26. The OU shot put duo has righted itself with Lindsay 57-7 and Erwin 56-7 going 1-2. No report of a Midwest meet would be complete without mention of Cliff Cushman. He leads off the winning KU shuttle hurdle team then anchors the winning 2 mile team with a 1:52.8 split before driving the team bus back to Lawrence.

The Mount San Antonio Relays has an auspicious start. “The west coast’s only two-day affair, which will continue to occupy the same dates as the much older Penn and Drake Relays, outclassed the old established meets by a wide margin in comparison of winning marks.” Jerome Walters moves up from the mile to challenge Bill Dellinger at twice the distance and almost pulls it off. Dellinger holds on for an 8:48.2 victory, two tenths off Phil Coleman’s American record, but only after a heated battle with Walters who runs 8:49.4. England’s Gordon Pirie is third at 8:59.3. Max Truex, after an easy 13:59.5 three mile win the night before, attempts to become the first American to break 30 minutes at 10K. ‘Twas not to be. Within range at five miles and reportedly looking good, he walks the backstretch on the 21st lap, then resumes running only to drop out at the end of the lap. His five mile time of 24:15 betters the American record at this distance, but his name doesn’t go into the record books as a runner must finish the attempted distance to receive credit for a record set en route. Bob Soth wins in 30:42.2, the fifth fastest time recorded by an American. The early rumblings of Speed City can be heard as Ray Norton and Bobby Poynter clock 9.5 and 9.6 to go 1-2, then combine with two other San Jose students to run the 440 relay in 40.4, “the best ever by a west coast quartet”. Dallas Long holds off Bill Nieder in the shot, 61-10 to 61-6 as Perry O’Brien confines himself to the discus where he throws 181-2 to finish behind Rink Babka’s 189-4. In a near exhibition, Hal Connolly throws the hammer 215-4 to win by over 30 feet.

Cordner Nelson’s column, Track Talk, analyses the coming NCAA meet. UCLA and USC are ineligible this year. San Jose, lead by Norton, looks strong. Oregon, Cal and Penn State are listed as outsiders. Houston and Arizona State have the potential to win. Texas, riding the broad shoulders of Eddie Southern, has a good shot and Michigan is a “solid threat”. Then there is Oklahoma. “Coach Bill Carroll has Mike Lindsay, a 16-20 point man in the shot and discus, Gail Hodgson, who might win the mile, and Dee Givens, who could score 12 points or so in the sprints. Add 56’ shot putter Mike Erwin and 14-6 vaulter Larry Neely, and the total could be well over 40 points.” But Nelson’s favorite is Kansas. With Charlie Tidwell (100 and LH), Ernie Shelby (BJ and LH) and Bill Alley (JT), the Jayhawks could score 40 right there. Add Billy Mills in the 3M, Cliff Cushman in the 400IH and a host of other potential scorers, the boys from Lawrence could run away with it. We’ll find out.

The coach at North Phoenix seems to have a pretty good handle on field events. Two years ago Vern Wolfe produced the national record holder in the pole vault, Jim Brewer 15-0 1/8. Last year Dallas Long crushed the NR in the shot with a throw of 69-3. This season it is the turn of Karl Johnstone who has thrown the discus 185-2 to break Al Oerter’s NR by a foot. Seems like some enterprising university might want to snatch up a coach like this.

In this time of world turmoil it is comforting to know that Cliff Severn is still selling Adidas, “the three striped sport shoes” and TFN subscription continues to go for $3.

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