Beginning our 7th year and over 2500 pages. A blog for fans of Track and Field from the 1950's and 60's, culled from various articles in sports journals of the day with added commentaries from readers who lived and ran and coached in that era.
We're the equivalent of an American Legion post of Track and Field but without cheap beer. You may contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or write a comment at the end of a given posting.
Monday, June 5, 2017
V 7 N. 33 March, 1967
Fewer meets this month than last, but the emphasis is on quality, not quantity. March 3-4finds us at the AAU nationals in Oakland. The following weekend Detroit hosts the NCAA Indoor Championships at venerable Cobo Hall.
Tracy Smith #398
The Smith boys are the stars of the AAU meet. Tracy, who has just left Oregon State to join the Army, spots Oscar Moore 40 yards in the three mile, then makes up that deficit and more to win by six seconds in a world record 13:16.2. The assembled press vote him Athlete of the Meet. Though Tracy's time is a world record, it may not be recognized as an American record. Say what? The AAU rules clearly state that indoor records have to be run on boards and this one was run on a “composition surface” laid on boards. One wonders why the AAU would hold its national championship on a track invalid for record setting. Likely that is the least of the questions about the AAU.
San Jose State is skipping next week's NCAA meet. Instead of flying to Detroit, the Spartans' mile relay powerhouse motors 36 miles up I-880 for this conveniently placed opportunity. With Tracy already having done the Smiths proud, it is now Tommie's turn to do right by his last name.
The San Jose lads are missing a regular and thus are down 25 yards when Lee Evans takes the baton on the third leg. By the time he hands off to Tommie Smith the margin is 15, a deficit made more difficult by Tommie running into the 49ers third runner, Don Payne, right after the exchange. Ahead are the 49ers Dave Crook and the Baltimore Olympic Club's Edwin Roberts.
This is what the crowd has waited for. Handicapped by the collision, Smith appears to have too much to make up on world class anchor men. Ah, but this is Tommie Smith. There are no limits. He catches them on the final straight to win by half a stride in 3:14.9 to 3:15.0 both. Tommie's 46.5 split matches his time in the San Francisco WR race, but is more impressive because of the hindrance at the start.
San Jose State coach, Bud Winter, is nothing if not innovative (see note at the end of this report). Apparently there are no words to describe Smith's performance, so Winter makes up a couple. “We have come to expect beyondness from Tommie, but his performance was wayoutness. It was Superman and the Green Hornet stuff.”
Not all the wayoutness was on the track. Long jumper Bob Beamon, a recent transfer to Texas Western (now UTEP) from North Carolina A&T, shows considerable beyondness as well. He leaps an American record of 26-11½, 15½ inches beyond his previous best. Former record holder Ralph Boston comes up 4 inches short.
High schooler Bill Gaines nips Jim Hines, Bobby Brown and Harry Jerome in the 60, as all four ran 6.0. Sam Bair surprises the field in the mile. The Kent State student sneaks past Richard Romo on the inside as the former Texas star moves to the outside to hold off Jim Grelle. Both Bair and Grelle run 4:03.2 with Romo two tenths back.
On this same weekend college athletes are getting ready for next week's NCAA meet. In the Big Eight meet in Kansas City, Jim Ryun becomes the only man to break four minutes in the mile on a 12 lap to the mile track, clocking 3:58.8. Make that the only man to break four minutes twice. He did the same on this track last year.
The Big Ten meet is held in Madison and the Wisconsin Badgers don't let the hometown fans down, edging Michigan 56¾ to 53 on the back of Ray Arrington. Arrington finishes third in the mile in 4:06.8 before winning the half in 1:50.3. Forty minutes later his 48.4 anchor brings Badgers home third in the mile relay to secure the victory. Iowa, 3:13.1, Michigan State, 3:13.6 and Wisconsin, 3:13.8 all better the San Jose State record set this very evening. Why no record recognition? Those of you who have been paying attention to previous reports, repeat along with me, “Because it wasn't run on an 11 lap to the mile track.” Indeed this track is 8 laps to the mile on a clay surface.
Whereas the Big Ten and Big Eight meets are two day affairs, the IC4A meet in Madison Square Garden jams heats and finals into one very long day. Villanova doesn't need Dave Patrick, as their 36 points double runner up Army, but it was nice to have him along. After running 4:11.8 in qualifying, he takes the mile final in 4:09.4. Then he anchors the two mile relay to victory with a 1:51.7 split after a 1:53.8 leg in the morning's prelims. Erv Hall and Charlie Messenger win the highs and the two mile. The Wildcat mile relay team also takes home gold. Next week Jim Ryun and the Kansas Jayhawks await in the NCAAs.
Speaking of the NCAAs, we are now in Detroit's Cobo Hall where the collegiate cream of the indoor crop will compete Friday and Saturday, March 10 and 11. The feature race,Friday's 880 matching Dave Patrick and Jim Ryun, doesn't disappoint. Both have qualified with times in the mid 1:50s, but Ryun has also run a heat in the mile just 90 minutes earlier. Patrick goes out hard and opens up a 20 yard lead with a 52.4 quarter. Ryun is never in it. He makes up five yards but no more. Patrick's 1:48.9 gives him the indoor world record replacing Tom Von Ruden's all size track mark of 1:49.0 run on Louisville's oversized track. Ryun is a well beaten second at 1:50.7, his first defeat at a distance between half a mile and two miles since August 1965.
The following day, their positions are reversed. Ryun whips through a 55.6 final quarter to win the mile in 3:58.6 over Sam Bair's 4:01.0 PR. Patrick runs well on the anchor leg of the Villanova distance medley team, but his 4:00.6 can't catch the 4:01.6 of Kansas State's Conrad Nightengale. K State wins the battle of Wildcats, running the fastest ever indoor time of 9:44.6 to edge Villanova's 9:45.2. Had Patrick ended his day at that point, his trip home would have been more fun. Instead Villanova coach Jumbo Elliot goes to the well once too often. Twenty eight minutes after the DMR, Patrick has the baton in his hand once again, this time on the anchor leg of the two mile relay. Things don't go so well. He struggles through a 2:07 leg before collapsing, exhausted. Pretty sure he managed to keep his scholarship though.
Bob Seagren (17-0¼) and Paul Wilson (16-4¼) go 1-2 in the pole vault to provide eleven points for the Trojans who win the team title with 26. Hurdler Earl McCullough and the Trojan two mile relay team also help out with wins. Oklahoma, Kansas and Villanova follow with 17, 16 and 15 points.
But enough of indoor track with all its variables: odd sized tracks, illegal and legal surfaces, different banking. From now on we will be outdoors where God intended track meets to be held. It is May 25 and Neil Steinhauer, basking in the California sun, has just sent world record holder Randy Matson a very clear message. In the Sacramento Invitational the Oregon senior pops the shot 68-11¼. Only Matson with four throws over 69 has done better. And just to fill out his afternoon, Steinhauer hurls the discus a personal best 186-0.
Bits and pieces: ABC-TV broke the bank when it paid four and a half million dollars for rights to the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. The Games will be televised in color.....Fourteen world records have been set at Mount San Antonio College since the start of the Mt. SAC Relays in 1960, more than any other venue during that time......They're back! Bobby Morrow and CK Yang, retired as athletes, are now coaching. Morrow with the Houston Striders while Yang is the coach of the California Track and Field Association.....Fifty years ago was a less racially sensitive time. This issue of T&FNews has outed Darel Newman as a white guy, referring to him as “the fastest Caucasian sprinter in history”.....Nowhere To Go But Up Department: Augora High in Southern California just started a track program on an ominous note, losing its first meet 111-0.......Here is the Bud Winter tidbit we promised. Seems Bud has been considering a way to shave a tenth of a second off sprint times by cutting holes in the seat of track pants, the very essence of wayoutness......Dick Railsback, UCLA's 16-6 vaulter, has a twin who isn't the least interested in pole vaulting. As the magazine says, “Why should she be.?” Yep, that's the punchline. A girl vaulter, imagine that.....Even sillier, how about this? “A long distance running club for old runners has been formed under the title of the Seniors Track Club. For information, write to Howard Barnes, 30 Bayshore Ave., Long Beach, CA.” Old runners and girl pole vaulters, boy, that'll be the day.
(George: note that Darel Newman is also Darrell Newman is also Daryl Newman, depending on who is writing the story. For our purposes we will use the nom de jour of Darel as TFN spelled it that way.)