Sunday, December 4, 2011

Vol. 1 No. 79 March, 1960

MARCH 1960

A conundrum to test your problem solving skills. To wit: An athlete sets a world record. Two weeks later he still is the record holder only now three competitors have passed him and indeed have left him in the dust. Your homework for tomorrow is to have a logical explanation for how this seemingly incongruous situation has come about. Be prepared for class discussion.
Our protagonist is one Parry O'Brien, the two time Olympic shot put champion, the world record holder in both the indoor and outdoor shot, the man who has dominated the event like no other since Ralph Rose 50 years ago. As we pick up our story it is March 5 and O'Brien's co-holder of the WR, 19 year old Dallas Long, has just bettered the 63-2 record they share by five inches. But it doesn't count because it was his seventh throw of the day. Still, the message has been sent.
March 12 sees O'Brien break his indoor WR (62-1¾) at the Milwaukee Journal Games with a throw of 62-5, leaving his most significant competitor, Dave Davis, nearly two and a half feet behind. On the West Coast, Long throws 61-4 in a dual meet.
The next week the track world is shocked by Bill Nieder. Competing in the Stanford Invitational, Big Bill drops it 63-10 from the toe board. And he isn't alone; Dave Davis has raised his PR to 62-8. Long is in the West Texas Relays where he throws 61-8¾. He and Davis (have shot, will travel) will tangle next week in the USC – So Cal Striders meet.
And what a match up it is. Long explodes 64-6½. This jaw dropping effort is needed because Davis is close behind at 63-10½. Nieder's WR has lasted a week.
At the end of the day the all time list reads:
Long 64-6½
Davis 63-10½
Nieder 63-10
O'Brien 63-2
In two weeks Parry O'Brien has gone from world record holder to a distant fourth. Can the Air Force lieutenant find another gear or will the young guys pull away? He will begin his outdoor season next month. Stay tuned.........Oh, and as for that class assignment, O'Brien is still the world record holder indoors.
Speaking of world records, John Thomas just upped his half an inch, jumping 7-2½ in the Chicago Daily News Relays.
Stanford's Ernie Cunliffe has busied himself racing longer than his usual 880. On March 5 the Stanford Winter Championships sees him split 58-2:00-3:03 en route to a solo 4:04.4 mile. Two weeks later in the Stanford Invitational his 2:55.7 1320 relay leg is the highlight of the track activity. “The Stanford co-captain hit 55.7, 1:56.6 and finished strongly, unlike his usual dying half mile windup, in 2:55.7. Only Brian Hewson (2:55.2) has run faster and the best on record by an American is Jim Grelle's 2:57.7.” No results for the Stanford team are given. Eight days later the then politically correct Indians take a shot at the American record for the four mile relay in a dual meet with the Santa Clara Valley Youth Village (identified as SCVYV from now on). Although their time of 16:57.8 misses by 5.2 seconds, it isn't Ernie's fault. His 4:02.4 anchor is the second fastest mile of the year.
Aside from the aforementioned world records, the most amazing performance of the month is that of San Jose State sophomore, Vance Barnes. Not even on the team three days earlier, Barnes, a basketball player with a high jump best of 6-4, is pressed into service at the Stanford Relays when the Spartans third string jumper is injured. Six feet four inches is achieved easily enough and so are 6-6 and 6-8 on his first efforts. Six feet nine inches doesn't come until his second try as does 6-10. When he finally misses it is at 6-11, a foot over his head. We'll have to see what the future holds for this young man.
On March 12 Bobby Morrow makes his 1960 debut in Southwest Recreation meet in Fort Worth, winning special races in 9.5 and 21.3, but real stars are the Styron twins.

Running in the college division, Dave takes the 100 and 220 while Don wins the highs and lows. They both run on the winnng 440 and mile relay teams. Don also runs a heat in the 440 before being relieved of duty for the final when the team championship is assured. His 22.4 time in the lows is the fastest in the world this year and his seventh race of the day.
A week later Morrow's comeback hits a bump in the road when he is defeated twice by Jimmy Weaver who runs 10.5 and 21.0. No time is given for the Olympic champ. Eddie Southern is third and fourth.
After a low key year, Herb Elliot is preparing for the Olympics. On March 5 he runs 1:50.1 and 4:02.1, but nine days later the best he can do is a 1:53.5 sixth place behind some guy from New Zeland named Snell who runs 1:51.3. Five days later Elliot clocks 1:52.1.
Another Australian is setting records in the US. On March 2 in Houston Al Lawrence runs 10K in 29:36.4 to meet the Olympic qualifying standard and set the American record. Wait a minute, he isn't an American. Apparently citizenship isn't required to set an AR. All that is needed is that you set the record on US soil. The record he broke was 30:11.4 set in 1932 by Poland's Janusz Kusocinski.
As T&F News is located in the Bay Area it is privy to the doings of Cal, Stanford, San Jose State and the SCVYV. This time we have Cal time trials for you. Recently Jerry Siebert and Jack Yerman tangled in a 660 with Yerman winning by inches in 1:18.0 for both. In another workout Siebert ran a 1320 in 3:00.0. Other bits and pieces from columns: Glenn Davis is teaching junior high mechanical drawing in Columbus, Ohio. He is ten pounds overweight, but is working at losing it by the National AAU meet..... A high school junior in Compton, CA has just set the class record 48.0 in the 440. His name is Ulis Williams.....Ron Delany and Don Bowden are training together on the polo field in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Both are recovering from tendon problems and hope to race in April......Ira Murchison has recovered from the illness that saw his weight to drop to under 100 pounds. He is now at his usual 135 and feeling strong.
From the Quotable Quotes column come the following. Glenn Cunningham: “Our races were strictly competitive, to beat the other fellow. But in the workouts sometimes I did run all out. Yes, I bettered four minutes. But I didn't think anything about it. I was just curious to see what I could do,”......J.D. Martin:Jim Graham, the Oklahoma State vaulter, helped me a lot when I competed against him last year. He's that kind of a guy. At the Drake Relays I was trying 14-6. I'd never cleared it. Graham told me that I wasn't rocking back on my pole at the top of my jump. On my last jump, I rocked and sailed over. Graham knew that if he gave me that tip I might beat him. Of course, I didn't. He was first and I was second.”

J.D. Martin early in his coaching years, about 1968
We'll close with the first non-track related add I can remember. It is for the Desert Star Motor Hotel in Phoenix, AZ. Among its many benefits are air conditioning, phones and TV, a heated swim pool, and private sun decks. A little short on folding money? Not to worry, all this can be paid for with a credit card.

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