Saturday, December 31, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 84 July 1960 Part I NCAA and AAU meets

JULY 1960 part 1

As this issue covers three major meets, the NCAA, the AAU and the Olympic Trials, in order to give proper coverage without this entry rambling on, we will cover the first two in this portion and save the Olympic Trials for part 2.
June 17 and 18 finds us in Berkeley for the NCAA meet. Kansas surprises USC 50-37 to take the title on the strength of a Charlie Tidwell double, 10.2 and 20.8 (curve), Cliff Cushman's 50.8 victory in the 400H and a javelin win by Bill Alley at 268-9. The latter is not surprising as just last week the Kansas star set the WR with a throw of 283-8, breaking Al Cantello's 282-3½. SC strikes out on the track. All their points come in field events.

Click several times on this photo to enlarge and move on to two other photos

The best races come at one and two laps. Heats and semis in the 400 are run Friday to pare the field down to eight finalists. Ted Woods, “a 19 year old Negro sophomore at Colorado” (yes, after a year of enlightenment, Cordner Nelson is back to outing Negroes) demolishes an excellent field with a stunning 45.7. Vic Hall's 46.1 is only good for second.
The 800 is even better. Heats of 13 with three qualifying for finals are run on Friday. These start from the chute, break for the pole and go three turns. Ernie Cunliffe, Bob Tague and George Kerr are heat winners. The final portends the future: “An odd situation in the final saw the runners negotiate half a lap in lanes with staggered starts.” Wonder if that will catch on?
To the surprise of no one who has been following this history, Ernie Cunliffe takes the lead at the break for the pole. George Kerr is taking no chances. He is right on Ernie's butt. Cunliffe goes through the 400 in a blazing 51.7, followed by Kerr, Jerry Siebert and Oregon's Sig Ohlemann who is “looking bewildered”. Down the backstretch the three leaders open significant ground on the field. But here comes Jim Slack of Yale closing up to make it a four man race on the curve. “Then Kerr shot by Cunliffe, followed by Siebert. Kerr pulled steadily away from Cunliffe, but black-haired Siebert, elbows flying and head cocked, remained three yards back all the way to the tape. Stack closed a little on Cunliffe.” Only three men have run faster than Kerr's 1:46.4. Siebert's 1:46.9 is only a tenth off the previous collegiate record. Cunliffe finishes in 1:47.6 and Stack is 1:48.4. A measure of the quality of competition is that 1:50.1 earns last place.

Dyrol Burleson wins the 1500 by over three seconds in 3:44.2 in a race that had significant pushing and shoving. After the race he threatens Kansas' Bill Dotson with “a punch in the nose”.
Other highlights include a 61-9 shot put victory by Dallas Long and a 7-0 HJ win by John Thomas. Missouri's Dick Cochran takes the discus by 12 feet with a 188-3½ throw and John Lawler of Boston U sets the collegiate record in the hammer at 209-2. Luther Hays of SC is 12th in the broad jump, two feet behind winner Ralph Boston (25-5½), but rebounds to take the HSJ with a meet record 50-11½. Rafer Johnson's little brother, Jimmy, on his way to the NFL Hall of Fame, stops by long enough to win the 110HH in 14.0. Another pretty good NFL player, Bernie Casey of Bowling Green, is fourth in 14.3.
J.D. Martin of Oklahoma vaults 14-9 for the win. Apparently there is no placing by misses and attempts as seven tie for second at 14-6, another nine tie for ninth at 14-0 and four more tie for 18th at 13-6.
That we are still in the stone age of NCAA competition is made clear by the fact that there are no relays.
Now a week has passed. It is June 24-25 and we are in beautiful downtown Bakersfield for the AAU meet. Whereas many athletes have qualified for the Olympic Trials by placing in the service championship or the NCAA meet, this is the ticket to ride for those not in the service or college. Mess up here and you are watching from the stands for next week's trials. Many of those who had previously qualified chose to skip this meet in preparation for the trials.
John Thomas demonstrates his readiness for the trials, jumping 7-2 for a world record. Ira Davis and Kent Floerke stage a spirited dual in the HSJ. Davis' American record of 53-4¼ takes it, but Floerke is right there at 52-10¼.
Ray Norton catches Paul Winder in the 100 (10.5), then proves his superiority at twice the distance, clocking 20.8 to leave Les Carney two yards back.
There won't be a 10,000 in the Olympic Trials. It is contested right here, right now. Only the first American will have the spot on the team as no one else is close or will be close to the qualifying standard. Aussie Al Lawrence and Canadian Doug Kyle run 1-2, but the happiest finisher is Max Truex in third whose 30:16.3 gives him a six second margin over Pete McArdle. The race was supposed to start at 10:10. No mention is made of why it didn't get off until 11:58 pm. Bakersfield once again proves why it is the armpit of the nation, allowing runners to bask in the comfort of an 80 degree evening.
The 400 is arduous both from the perspective of competition and scheduling. Heats and semis are run on Friday. Technically that is not correct. For whatever reason, the semis don't come off until 12:40 Saturday morning. Fifteen year old Don Webster violates curfew when he qualifies for the final with a 46.7. Deloss Dodds has the fastest semi time of 46.3.
The serious competition in the final comes from the outside lanes. Working inward from lane nine it is Otis Davis, Webster, Earl Young and Dave Mills. Young holds the lead halfway through, but in the curve here comes Davis. He powers past Young and into the lead. Young hangs on, but begins to fade in the straight where Mills and Willie Williams go by. Davis opens distance to the tape, clocking a meet record 45.8. Mills, Williams and Young run 46.2, 46.3 and 46.4. The rest of the field don't have to hang their heads. Dodds, Bill Knocke, Webster and Keith Thomassen all run 46.8.
The 800 is missing those who qualified in the NCAA meet, but, after heats and semis on Friday, Saturday's final provides some excitement. Favorite Tom Murphy takes the field out in 52.8 with NAIA champ Ted Nelson in close attendance. Murphy leads through 600, but Jim Cerveny, taking advantage of second opportunity to qualify for the trials after not making the final in last week's NCAA meet, is moving up. Cerveny's kick corresponds with the bear jumping on Murphy's back. The Oxy ace pulls away in the straight for a 1:48.4 win. Wichita's Lew Merriman nips Murphy at the tape, 1:48.7 for both. Nelson is fourth at 1:49.1. Art Evans and Jim Dupree are 5th and 6th to punch their tickets for next week.
The 5000 is a formality for Bill Dellinger and Jim Beatty. With half a lap to go Dellinger pulls even with Beatty and they chat their way to a tie in 14:26.4. Actually Dellinger is given the win by the first place judge who put the officious in official.
The javelin is a dual between former world record holder Al Cantello and new record holder Bill Alley. “Intermittent breezes” restrict the distances, but Cantello takes advantage of a rare calm moment to seal the victory with a heave of 271-9. Alley throws 259-2½. They will meet again next week at Stanford. Former WR holder Bud Held, troubled by a bad back, is 11th and fails to qualify for the trials.
There are four 26 foot jumpers in the broad jump but a strong headwind curtails distances. Dutchman Henk Visser is the only competitor to go 25 feet at 25-2. The surprise here is the third place finish of Oklahoma freshman Anthony Watson who becomes a legitimate contender for the Olympic team with a 24-9 effort.
The Lee Calhoun – Hayes Jones hurdle show doesn't disappoint. Jones is out early, but by the fifth hurdle Calhoun is reeling him in. They hit the tape together with Jones getting the win in 13.6 for both. Willie May is third in 13.9.
The pole vault field suffers from scratches by JD Martin and Don Bragg who have already qualified for the trials. Six vaulters clear 15-0¾ with Aubrey Dooley winning on fewer misses. Wait a minute, lets go back a week to the NCAA pole vault that had multiple ties. The NCAA doesn't use the misses rule, but the AAU does. Go figure. Remember those erstwhile fans who stayed for the 400 semi last night at 12:40? Bet they were the same ones watching Bob Gutowski take the last vault of this competition at 12:51 Monday morning.
Lazlo Tabori leads the 1500 with a lap to go. He throws down a 56.8 final go around, good, but not good enough, as Jim Grelle has a 55.3 in the tank and wins in a meet record 3:42.7.
The discus is never in doubt. Olympic champ Al Oerter dominates with four throws over 190' and a best of 193-9½ to leave Missouri's Dick Cochran's PR of 188-10 four feet behind. Although throwing well, Cochran says his back has gone out on him. We will have to wait a week to see how this plays out in the OTs. Rink Babka is third at 185-5.
The steeplechase provides a closer finish than the 100. Deacon Jones follows Phil Coleman over the final water jump and passes him on the last hurdle, but Coleman isn't done. He rallies to take a photo finish in 8:55.6.
The 10,000 is not the only settled spot set on the Olympic team. Two weeks earlier Rafer Johnson takes Vasily Kuznyetsov's WR in the decathlon by an astounding 326 points, recording 8683 in the OTs in Eugene His UCLA training partner, China's CK Yang, joins in the record breaking fun, scoring 8426 to top the Russian's best by 69 points. Phil Mulkey makes the team with a PR of 7852. Hometown youngster Dave Edstrom, though injured, hangs up 7350 to become the third member of the team.
The editors throw a bone to the US women. Their national competition is given a paragraph in the Late News column. Seems the US women might have a chance in the sprints. Wilma Rudolph has broken the WR in the 200 on a turn, clocking 22.9 to drop Betty Cuthbert's 23.2 from the books. Rose Lovelace of Cleveland breaks the AR in the 400 with a 58.3. She enjoys this distinction for a day before Irene Robinson's 57.1 takes it away. The 800 AR also falls. Pat Daniels (later better known as Pat Connolly) runs 2:17.5.

The next entry will be devoted to the Olympic Trials at Stanford in a week. See you there.

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