Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 74 February, 1960

Al Lawrence, John Thomas and JD Martin are the big names in this issue. Lawrence has a magic week, producing a world best 8:46.0 two mile in the LA Times meet on Feb. 13 and then running three miles in 13:26.4 on Feb. 20 in the AAU meet to better Bill Dellinger’s WR by 10.6 seconds. As good as Lawrence is in this meet, he has to share the glory with 19 year old John Thomas who breaks his own WR, becoming the first to jump 7’2”. Seven days later in the Big Eight championships Martin vaults 15’7¼ for an NCAA record.
Let’s dwell on Martin, his Oklahoma Sooner teammates and their opposite numbers at the University of Kansas. The date is Feb. 8, the site is Lawrence, Kansas and it is the much awaited dual meet between these Big Eight juggernauts. Kansas has dominated Big Eight competition during the 1950s. Oklahoma has been closing the gap and maybe now is the time to dethrone the Jayhawks. With two events yet in the scorebook, it appears the Sooners are going to do it. Then Paul Williams of Kansas leaps 23’8” to take the long jump. With only the mile relay left, the Sooners lead 61-56. Details are not given, but apparently Oklahoma doesn’t have much left and Kansas salvages a tie with a 3:24.4 performance.

Stimmie Wilcox of Oklahoma being edged by Kansas runner in mile relay at Lawrence

In three weeks these two will go at it again in the conference meet in Kansas City.
In Kansas City Martin’s vault is the best mark of the Big Eight meet, but stars abound and the competition is fierce. The Jayhawks are defending NCAA champs and have won the last eight Big Eight indoor championships. Kansas wins the battle of top sprinters with Charlie Tidwell besting Dee Givens in the 60 and the 60 lows. Gail Hodgson wins the mile for Oklahoma over Billy Mills of Kansas.

Hodgson leading mile at Kansas City, Mills second from left, Dodson extreme left

Both race again with Mills getting second behind OSU’s Miles Eisenman in the two mile and Hodgson a third in the 1000 behind Kansas’s Cliff Cushman, who, after taking second behind Joe Mullins of Nebraska in the 600, turns the tables on Mullins in this one. Bob Tague adds to the Kansas total with a 1:53.4 win in the 880. The Sooners Mike Lindsay counters by winning the shot with a 57’10½” effort.

Mike Lindsay throwing at KU

As mentioned, JD Martin takes the PV. Teammate Larry Neeley takes third at 14’4” to put the Sooners in the lead with the mile relay left.
J.D. Martin

But this is not the first event for either. Neeley has won the HJ at 6’3½” and Martin has placed second behind Curt McClinton of the Jayhawks in the high hurdles. These efforts have put the Sooners within a point and a half at the start of the mile relay. Can the boys from Norman pull off what they failed to do three weeks earlier? The Sooners’ Bill Noble, Hi Gernert and Bob Ringo give anchor Bob Wilcox a yard lead over the Jayhawks.
bob Ringo

Hial Genert

But look who is anchoring for Kansas. Cliff Cushman, that’s who. Cushman and Wilcox have tangled earlier in the 600 where Cushman was second and Wilcox third. Cushman follows until the backstretch of the second lap where he makes his move, pulling even just before the curve. This is where fate plays a role. As they go into the turn, Cushman’s baton brushes against Wilcox’s leg, falls and is kicked over the edge of the track. Oklahoma wins in 3:21.7 and takes the meet 61.5 to 58, ending Kansas’ streak. The king is dead. Long live the king. Euphoria breaks out in Norman. The town comes alive. Rioting erupts. Cars are turned over, store windows are broken and trash cans are set on fire. Okay, I lied about the last part, but still it was a pretty big deal. I’ll bet Boomer Sooner was sung multiple times on the bus ride home.

The Long Ride Home

Gleaned from various columns. NCAA champ Dick Howard of New Mexico is a hard guy to beat in the 400 intermediates. He is also a hard guy to beat up on. To fill time between track seasons Howard has taken up boxing. He recently won the light heavyweight title for his region of the Golden Gloves…..Germany’s Armin Hary, last reported getting his education at Bakersfield JC, has now joined Dutch long jumper Henk Visser at UC Santa Barbara…..Jim Beatty who edged Dyrol Burleson Feb. 13 in the New York AC Games mile, 4:06.2 for both, is now a statistical clerk at Lockheed Aircraft in Sunnyvale, California.
Among the many ads is one extolling Puma as “the foreign track shoes with all the features’’. Pacific Laminates’ Sky Pole has a “power-thrust….when added inches count”. Having been raised with high moral values, I won’t comment, but feel free to insert your own tasteless double entendre.

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