Monday, October 3, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 57 May, 1959

MAY 1959

The large photo on the front page of Track and Field News (Don't look for that photo in this blog) attests to the quality of Oklahoma pole vaulting. Standing on the left of the height indicator that points to 15’5” are Oklahoma State’s Jim Graham and Aubrey Dooley. On the right is Oklahoma’s J.D. Martin. The caption: “These three vaulters have taken part in some fantastic completion recently. On May 16, in the Big Eight meet, Jim Graham won at 15’ 3¼” from teammate Aubrey Dooley, 15’ 0¼, and Oklahoma sophomore J.D. Martin, 14’ 10¼”. It was the greatest collegiate vaulting in history. Just three days later they met in a dual affair at Norman, Oklahoma. Graham and Dooley went 15’ 5” and Martin had to settle for third even though he soared 15’ 3¾”.

The West Coast Relays in Fresno on May 9 are followed by the Coliseum Relays the next week and, yes, the Big Ten, Big Eight and Pacific Coast Conference meets are all reported.

Ray Norton is the star of the day at Fresno. In the prelims he runs a wind-aided 9.3. In the final Bobby Morrow takes a slight lead early on, but Norton “gained it back and won by something like two inches”. The photo on page five seems to define “something like two inches” as a foot. Bobby Poynter is third another foot back. Norton and Morrow are 9.4. Poynter is 9.5. The officials had a rough day. The photo clearly shows Vic Hall taking fourth by a clear foot over Orlando Hazley, who gets the officials nod for fourth. Apparently a photo causes them to reverse this decision. Another snafu is caused by the relay official who makes Norton wait in lane four for the final pass in the 440 relay. This is awkward as the rest of the San Jose State team is running in lane two. Somehow the exchange is made, but Occidental benefits with a 40.8 win. But wait, we aren’t through. Max Truex doesn’t get the gun on the gun lap of the 5000. Not to worry, the officials give him one on the next lap. There is no next lap. Truex stops. “I know when I have run 5000 meters.” Unfortunately though Truex stops, the official watches don’t. He is given an estimated 14:17.

In the shot, Bill Nieder finally puts that pesky freshman, Dallas Long, in his place. Well, almost. Nieder leads at 62-3 until the last round where Long tosses a 62-5¼ winner. The two will be back at it next week. Of note is the absence of one P. O’Brien. Charlie Dumas clears 7-0 and has a close miss at 7-1½. Brazilian Olympic champ Adhemar da Silva gives American triple jumpers a lesson, winning by 2½ feet at 52-4.

New Mexico’s Dickie Howard runs 50.8 in a one turn 400IH race that is essentially a time trial: 54.6 is second. Stanford’s two mile relay team thumps USC by over three seconds as Ernie Cunliffe follows legs by Lassen, 1:52.8, Chesarek, 1:50.9, and Lundh, 1:52.4, with a strong 1:49.3 to total 7:25.4. Next week will be tougher. A very good Penn State foursome will be at the Coliseum.

Speaking of the Coliseum, here we are. It is next week already. The competition is good, but the times are not fast, the result of a grass track. The great Glenn Davis carries the day with two victories. He opens with what is advertised as a 440 dual with Purdue freshman, Dave Mills. The bear jumps on Mills back at the start of the home stretch, but here comes Mike Larabee. Davis has enough in the tank to hold him off, 46.5 to 46.6. Mal Spence of ASU is third, 46.8, and Jack Yerman of Cal is fourth at 47.2. Mills finishes, sadder but wiser, fifth in 47.4. The intermediates are even closer. Coming into the straight Josh Culbreath has a foot on the Olympic champion with Willie Atterberry in close attendance. As Davis moves past Culbreath by inches, Atterberry takes a header on the ninth hurdle. Davis edges Culbreath with both running 52.1. The grass may have made the times slower, but Atterberry has to be grateful for it as he is up and running again, finishing third in 55.8. Was Bobby Morrow’s loss to Ray Norton last week an aberration or a preview of things to come? Tonight the Olympic champion holds Norton off, 9.6 for both. The mile provides some excitement. With the field bunched at the 1320 (3:09.2), Houston’s Aussie, Barrie Almond takes the lead on the backstretch, only to have Penn State’s Ed Moran move past just before the curve. But then Jerome Walters takes over at the head of the stretch only to have Bill Dellinger prove that he who kicks last, kicks best. Dellinger wins by four yards in 4:07.5. Walters, 4:08.2, and Moran, 4:09.5, are bridesmaids. Dellinger is back in the 2 mile. But after 5½ laps of running with Max Truex, he drops out holding his side. Truex wins in 8:49.5. The 880 is the night’s most exciting race. George Kerr follows Tom Murphy through a 54.2 split before opening up five yards on the backstretch. Murphy isn’t done. He is on Kerr’s heels as they navigate the final curve. Kerr moves away again, only to have Murphy make a final drive at the tape. They cross the line shoulder to shoulder in 1:49.4 with Kerr the winner by six inches. Hal Connolly proves once again that he is the man in the hammer, throwing 217-9 to beat the field by 30 feet. Perseverance pays off for Bill Nieder as he finally beats Dallas Long, 62-6 to 60-11. Some of the joy in this accomplishment is diminished as Long has had the flu all week and is throwing in his sweats. And yes, Perry O’Brien is in the house, but not in the shot. He throws 175 in the discus to lose to Rink Babka by four feet, but beat Rafer Johnson by the same margin.

Relays, you want relays? We got ‘em. Texas, powered by Eddie Southern, takes the 440 and 880 in classic battles with San Jose State, edging the Spartans, 40.8 to 40.9 and 1:24.7 to 1:24.9. ACC is third in both. The Longhorns are looking to make it three for three in the mile relay, but come up short to Villanova. The Wildcats get Ed Collymore off to a 5 yard lead over Southern who blazes a 45.4 but misses catching Collymore’s 45.8. Villanova 3:10.4, Texas 3:10.7. And now to the much awaited matchup of Penn State and Stanford in the 2 mile relay. For whatever reason the Nittany Lions don’t run Moran and it costs them. A 58 second first lap kills any chance of a record. By the mile mark the Indians have a 12 yard lead. But here comes Dick Engelbrink! Running the fastest split of the day, he passes Don Chesarek, a quartermiler toughing it out for the team. But in the homestretch Chesarek battles back and turns the tables on Engelbrink to give Ernie Cunliffe a two yard lead. Cunliffe looks to put this away with his usual go for broke first lap only to see Chuck King pass him on the backstretch. Ernie C. follows for a lap before returning the favor and opening up a comfortable margin at the tape. Stanford (Dick Lassen, 1:55.2, Bertil Lundh, 1:51.0, John Chesarek, 1:50.9, Cunliffe, 1:50.1) 7:27.3; Penn State ( Davies, 1:55.8, Schwab, 1:51.8, Englebrink, 1:50.0, King, 1:50.7) 7:28.3. There is a photo of teammates Lundh and Lassen supporting Cunliffe as he recovers from his effort.

And now to the conference meets. On May 16 in Norman, Oklahoma the Sooners host the Big Eight meet and a jim dandy one it is too. Kansas scores 125 to win as expected. Oklahoma State surprises in second with 90, edging the home team with 74. Charley Tidwell edges Orlando Hazley by inches in a 9.4 100, anchors the winning 440 relay and then ties his collegiate record in the 220 lows around a turn in 22.9. Hazley is also having a pretty good day. He rebounds from his 100 loss to take the 220 in a meet record 20.9. Additionally he anchors the Cowboys’ second place 440 relay team before zipping the mile relay anchor in 46.5 to close out a six inch win over Kansas State and Deloss Doss who anchors the Wildcats in 46.1. Both teams clock 3:10.5. The superb vaulting of Graham, Dooley and Martin has already been covered. The 880 provides some fireworks as Nebraska’s Joe Mullins outlasts early leader Mike Peake of Colorado to win 1:49.0 to 1:49.5. The mile is a one man show. The Sooners’ Gail Hodgson goes out like a man possessed, 59.0 – 1:58.7 – 2:59.1, and puts in a penultimate 220 in 30 before pulling the plow home to a 4:06.2 clocking, good enough to break Wes Santee’s meet record. Miles Eisenman outlasts Billy Mills in the 2M, 9:04.8 to 9:06.0. Oklahoma’s Mike Lindsay and Mike Erwin place 1-2 in the shot, 57-7 and 56-10. Once again there is a Bill Toomey sighting. He places third at 22-11 in the BJ. As an aside, he is on the national list at 24-8. He is not listed in the results of any other event. What there isn’t is any mention of the ubiquitous Cliff Cushman.

The Big Ten meet is held in Ann Arbor on May 23. Illinois outdoes the hometown boys 65-45 with no other team over 19. Times are depressed by a soggy track. Willie May doubles in the hurdles, 14.3 and 22.8. George Kerr’s 1:50.1 880 establishes a new meet record. Only the winning times are listed. Field events have the placing marks. The first three broad jumpers are within 2½ inches, but you aint seen nothing yet. Wait until you read about the PCC broad jump.

Speaking of the Pacific Coast Conference, here we are in Seattle on the same day. USC takes the title with 54 points. UCLA is second with 37. This is an especially poignant meeting as it is the last one the PCC will have as it is disbanding “because the powers that be couldn’t control cheating in recruiting and other abuses in football” (something involving Reggie Bush’s grandfather). Cal’s Willie White sets the only meet record with a 23.0 in the lows, but three records are tied by Oregon athletes. Roscoe Cook sprints 9.5 and 21.0 and basketballer turned quartermiler Otis Davis blazes 46.4, besting Cal’s world class Jack Yerman who clocks 47.0. Charlie Dumas is a double winner 14.2 and 6-8¾. Now to the previously mentioned broad jump. UCLA’s Jimmy Johnson (later 49ers Hall of Fame CB) ties for first with Darryl Horn of Oregon State. John Kelley of Stanford and Luther Hayes of SC tie for third. Here’s the kicker: they are within 3/4 of an inch of each other, 24- 9¾ to 24-9! Oddly, heats are run in the 880. I can find nothing that would indicate heats in any other event. Cal’s Jerry Siebert (1:52.0) and Stanford’s Ernie Cunliffe (1:51.5) are the winners and match up in the day’s best race. “As usual, Cunliffe bolted into a big lead, this time barely hanging on for a tenth of a second over Siebert”, in 1:49.2.

We close with a couple footnotes. On May 16 in San Diego Hal Connolly breaks his own record in the hammer with a throw of 226-1 and then asks the officials to measure the ring. It is slightly egg shaped with the long dimension being too long, ergo no record. In “Late News” mention of an exhibition shot put competition in a meet in San Jose on May 23. Bill Nieder crushes the WR with a put of 64-6½. No further information is given….USC has won 85 consecutive dual meets and Herb Elliot was married on May 2…..Three things you can count on in life: death, taxes and Cliff Severn having his Adidas ad on the back page.

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