Thursday, September 1, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 44 July, 1958

JULY, 1958

And a very good issue it is with reports on the NCAA meet in Berkeley and the AAU in Bakersfield.

Glenn Davis might turn out to be pretty good. In the NCAA meet he sets the WR around two turns, running 45.7 to crush Eddie Southern’s 46.5. Jack Yerman is third at 46.6. Eight days later Davis breaks Josh Culbreath’s 50.5 WR in the 440 hurdles with a 49.9. Admittedly the metric times in both these races are superior: Lou Jones 45.2 and Davis 49.5, but, hey, a WR is a WR.

Hal Connolly sets a monster WR in the hammer, 225-4, after a Bakersfield blacksmith repairs the ball that had been “flattened” by hitting a wall in practice. Connolly’s wife, “the pretty Olympic discus champion” Olga, apparently makes her husband nervous when she watches so she hides behind some bushes, only to run out at the announcement of the record, “crying with joy” and gives her “embarrassed husband a bruising hug and kiss”. No mention is made of what happened at the motel later that evening.

Olympic champions of past and future win the miles in these meets. In the NCAA Ron Delany runs 4:03.5 to leave Jim Grelle 4:04.8 and Gail Hodgson 4:04.9 in his wake, then doubles back to take the 880 in 1:48.6 over Frank Murphy’s 1:49.4 to complete a great career at Villanova.

The AAU mile is Herb Elliot’s time to shine. Though countryman Merv Lincoln throws down a 54.7 final lap, Elliot covers it with his own 54.1 to finish in 3:57.9, his second best time and maybe a new world record, but actually only tying a previous WR which wasn’t allowed. Confused? I’ll bet. Sit down, listen carefully and I’ll tell you how this worked. Derek Ibbotson’s 3:57.2 and Elliot’s own 3:57.8 may not be approved because they were….are you ready?... “paced”. Imagine someone resorting to that. If they are not approved, then this time would beat John Landy’s record of 3:58.0. But wait, there’s a catch to that too. Landy actually ran 3:57.9, but four years ago in the dark ages of 1954, records in the mile were not recognized in tenths of a second. Bet you can’t wait to run this by the guys at the Dew Drop Inn tonight.

But not to discredit the rest of the AAU field. Lincoln runs a stout 3:58.5. He is followed by Ed Moran of Penn State, who until three weeks ago had never broken 4:10, but this night clocks 4:01.7, the same time as fourth and fifth placers Jim Grelle and Jerome Walters. They are followed by Don Bowden, 4:02.9, and Gail Hodgson, 4:04.5. Oh, and the future of American miling was visible in the heats. High schooler Dyrol Burleson ran a nonqualifying 4:12.2.

The giants of the discus world tangle in both meets. Rink Babka and Al Oerter “tie” at 186-2 in the NCAAs. The rule to break a tie with the second best mark was not yet in place. Babka takes the AAU 187-10 to 181-6.

As far as developing international competitors, the AAU has made the effort by including the intermediates, hammer and hop-step-jump. The NCAA has none of these. What is does have is team scoring. The first person to recognize a major southern school (think current SEC or ACC), raise your hand. USC 48, Kansas 40, Villanova 33, San Jose State 20, Winston-Salem 20, Illinois 17, the Ohio State University 17, Nebraska 14, California 13, Manhattan 12, Texas 12, Western Michigan 12, Indiana 12, Arizona State 11, SMU 10, Pacific Lutheran 10, Occidental 9, Oregon 9. While there were a lot of fractions in those scores (which I am not doing), what there wasn’t were any relays.

And Negroes are still being identified. Ernie Shelby, who wins the BJ in both big meets, is a regular run of the mill Negro, but Hayes Jones is a medium-sized Negro, Ray Nickleberry a short Negro and John Thomas a thin Negro.

The Frosh and JC Marks list contains a triple-double-double. That would be three sets of twins, each making the list in two events. The Styron twins are in the house. Dave has run 9.6 and 21.2. Don has hurdled 14.5 and 22.8 for NE Louisiana State. The McKeever twins are freshmen at USC. Mike has weight marks of 52-6 ½ and 153-3 ½ while Marlin has thrown 52-5 and 156-8. Finally, we have Mel and Mal Spence of Arizona State. Mel has a 47.9 to his credit while Mal is a tenth back. Not sure about the 880. Mel ran 1:52.3 while Mel is credited with 1:53.0. Obviously one of these is supposed to be Mal. I just report ‘em, I don’t ‘splain ‘em.

On the next to last page, sacrilege, a blow has been struck against Clifford Severn and Adidas. Indeed a quarter of a page is devoted to an ad proclaiming the superiority of Rawlings Fleetfoot track shoes, “the shoes built for that ‘fit and feel’ so necessary to track men”. Not to worry. Cliff and Adidas confidently occupy their usual spot on the lower right corner of the last page.

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