Sunday, December 18, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 83 June , 1960

JUNE 1960
It’s the Jim Beatty show. There are two major meets and he is the star of both. On May 28 he tangles with American record holder Dyrol Burleson in the mile. Beatty combines with SCVYV teammate Lazlo Tabori to set a pace designed to take the sting out of Burleson’s kick. Tabori leads through 57.7 and 1:58.0 splits before Beatty takes over on the backstretch. By the start of the last lap Tabori has taken the lead again in 2:59.7 with Beatty in close attendance and the Oregon sophomore 8 yards back.
` Burleson makes his move on the backstretch, going by Tabori easily and moving up right behind Beatty. He follows Beatty around the curve, apparently ready for a big move on the final straight. Unfortunately for Burleson, it is Beatty who pulls away, opening ground all the way to a 3:58.0 finish and a new American record, erasing Burleson’s 3:58.6. Burleson finishes in 3:59.2 with Tabori at 4:00.0. Bill Dellinger, 4:02.7, and Bob Seaman, 4:04.3, run well, but are never in it.
As good as Beatty is, perhaps Don Styron had an intrinsically better mark. After finishing second to Lee Calhoun in the highs, 13.8 to 13.9, the NE Louisiana flyer destroys a strong field in the 220 lows with a 22.1 clocking, just .2 off his world record.
The 880 has the crowd on its feet. Mike Peake takes the field out in 52.5. Jim Grelle isn’t buying. He is 15 yards back and still only 7th at the 660. At this point he comes alive and moves through the field. It is too little, too late. Oklahoma State sophomore Bill Stone holds on for a 1:49.6 victory with Grelle and Jack Wilcox only inches back at 1:49.7.
How would the 880 have gone if George Kerr were in it you may be asking? We’ll never know because the NCAA champ is running the quarter…and running it well. Otis Davis, Mike Larabee and Vic Hall all run 46.3, but that only earns them a close view of Kerr’s backside as he finishes in 46.1.
The 100 sees the big meet debut of Oregon freshman Harry Jerome and an excellent one it is. He explodes out of the blocks to take the lead and though Ray Norton closes, the issue is never in doubt. They both clock 9.4. Doug Smith of Oxy is third at 9.5.
The six relays are split among three teams. San Jose State wins tight races at one and two laps. The Spartans, led off by Bobby Poynter and anchored by Willie Williams, clock 40.1 to hold off NELaTC and Baylor, both at 40.3 in the 440. The same group wins the 880 over Baylor with both timed in 1:23.7.
Occidental’s middle distance strength is on display in the two mile relay and the distance medley as they win easily in 7:34.8 and 10:00.7.
Abilene Christian didn’t come to California to lose. They beat East Texas and the Striders in the sprint medley in 3:20.2 and, though the Styrons give it their best with Dave leading off in 46.9 and Don anchoring in 46.0, ACC edges Northeast Louisiana in the mile relay with both teams running 3:10.0.
The Occidental freshmen have their walk in the sun with national frosh records of 7:37.5 and 3:ll.2. Dave Moon is the stud in the 2MR, anchoring in 1:50.7. Dave Brown, Steve Haas and Dixon Farmer all run low 47’s in the MR.
Six days later, June 3, and we are 330 miles south in Compton for the Friday evening Compton Invitational. Yep, it is the Jim Beatty show once again. Once again he and SCVYV teammate Lazlo Tabori have teamed up in an attempt to break an American record, this time at 5000 meters. They take turns leading. The mile passes in 4:24.9, the two mile in 8:58.3. “Still the pace did not slacken and the cheers of the crowd followed them around each lap. They ran laps of 69.8, 68.3, 67.7, and 63.9 for a 13:28.0, dead-heating for an American record. The Beatty turned on his final drive and gradually pulled away from the ex-Hungarian. His last lap, running hard for only half of it, was in 59.2” for the new record, 13:51.7. Tabori finishes in 13:53.2, while the next finisher is on the backstretch.
Herb Elliott runs only to win the mile, but the rest of the field wish they could do as well. He comes home in 57.0 for another monotonous (for him) sub four minute mile, in this case 3:59.2. Jim Grelle, still “not at my peak”, is in close attendance at 4:00.1 with the comebacking Bob Seaman, who says, “I’m hungry”, in third in 4:01.4.
The Styron twins provide major bang for their per diem. Dave runs 10.3 to take the 100 and just misses Adolph Plummer by a tenth in the 220. I don’t know if there was an “Athlete of the Meet” award, but my vote would have gone to Don. His 14.0 earns him a third in the highs behind Lee Calhoun’s 13.5 and Hayes Jones’ 13.9, but the best is yet to come. He beats Dickie Howard “with a great kick off the last hurdle in the 400 meter “mediums” in 51.5. Just to make the evening complete, he destroys Jones in the lows 22.2 to 23.0. Cordner Nelson pronounces it the “greatest hurdle triple in history”.
The shot put is a battle of the walking wounded. Dallas Long withdraws. No explanation is given. Parry O’Brien, plagued by hemorrhaging sinusitis, wins at 62-8¼. Bill Nieder, “still suffering from his hamstring pull, a result of reinjuring his old football knee”, takes an impressive standing put of 62-5½, but can’t take a traditional throw. Third at 59-11 3/4 is Dave Davis. It is explained that he is “weak from four days of milk and donuts”. Remember this is the guy who “disappeared” last month.
The on again, off again Deacon Jones is on in the steeplechase. He follows Phil Coleman until the last curve where he opens up in the last 120 for a 15 yard win in 8:49.7.
Hal Connolly is traditionally the most dominating performer on the circuit. Tonight is no exception. He throws the hammer 224-8 1/2 to win by more than 30 feet.
Mike Larabee comes from behind in the stretch to catch Earl Young and Otis Davis in the 440. The odd thing here is that whereas we have 46.9 as the winning time, the others are given times for 400 meters as Cordner Nelson writes that time at yards was “erratic”. So we have Larabee at 46.9 (46.6m) with Young at 46.7m and Davis 46.9m.
Rafer Johnson appears to be rounding into Olympic shape. He wins the javelin in a PR of 251-9 and finds a moment to run on the Striders’ 880 relay time, splitting 20.7.
California takes the measure of USC and Abilene Christian in the mile relay. Jerry Siebert’s 46.5 third leg gets Jack Yerman off first in the anchor. Yerman runs 46.5 to hold off SC’s Angie Coia’s 46.2 and Earl Young’s 45.9. Cal 3:09.2, SC 3:09.8, ACC 3:10.0. Oh, remember that frosh record of 3:11.2 Oxy set last week? Well, it lasted six days. The SC frosh run 3:11.0 for fourth. The Oxy kids got a good look at the new record holders as they ran 3:11.7 in fifth.
On May 28 the AAWU meet is held in Seattle. Those initials stand for The Athletic Association of Western Universities. Still not clear? That would be SC, UCLA, Stanford, Cal and Washington. SC wins the team title. The best race is the 880 where Cal’s Siebert catches Stanford’s Ernie Cunliffe at the tape, both clocking 1:49.0, a PR for Siebert.
Under the heading of “Late News” we find that on June 10 Charlie Tidwell tied the WR at 100 meters in Houston’s Meet of Champions. His Kansas teammate, Bill Alley, extended his collegiate javelin record to 273-10. George Kerr won the 880 in 1:48.5 and Lee Calhoun continues to look unbeatable in the 120HH, winning in 13.5.
In meet held the next day in New York, Tom Murphy and Al Oerter proclaim their readiness for the Olympics. Murphy runs negative splits (54.4-53.8) for 1:48.2, the second fastest 880 in the US this year behind Ernie Cunliffe’s 1:47.3. Oerter throws the discus 192-5.
Track and Field News, a subscription is still only $3 a year or pick up a copy at your local newsstand for a quarter.

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