Sunday, May 10, 2015

V. N 40 May, 1965

MAY 1965

On May 8 four world records are set, one a near certainty, two are pleasant surprises and the fourth a total shock.
Before we get to that day we need to update the world record in the shot put. Our last report had Randy Matson breaking Dallas Long's WR by an inch and a quarter at 67-11¼. Surely he would cross the 68' barrier soon. Well, yes and no. As far as the record books are concerned, he skips 68 feet entirely, for on April 30 in a triangular meet in Austin, Texas, he throws 69-0¾, increasing his record by an incredible 13 inches. He also throws the discus 195-10½, breaking Bill Neville's college record. Wait a minute, didn't we just report that he had thrown 201-5? Yes, we did and yes, he did. However it seems that an awkwardly worded rule has erased that record.
Matson, Discus
this is only 4 sec. long, watch fast
Matson's 201-5 throw indeed went that far, so what's the problem? Well, it seems that the discus landed at a spot four feet higher than the ring from which it was thrown. Even those of us who sat in the back of the room in hopes we wouldn't be called upon can figure out that if, indeed, the discus landed higher than the spot from which it was thrown, the distance would be shortened and no advantage gained. One would think so, but the rule reads that a throw can not be submitted for a record if the incline is more than 1/1000 (think one inch in a thousand inches). The wording doesn't differentiate between an upward incline and a downward incline. An incline is an incline and if it is more than 1/1000, the mark can't be submitted. This was the rule in 1965. We aren't capable of making stuff like this up. Sorry, Randy.

(This reader would contend that with that standard of measurement required by the world governing body, no record up to this date in 1965 could have been acceptable by any standard of civil engineering known to man since perhaps the Egyptians put down the pyramids.  Maybe you surveyors or mall developers could correct me on this assumption, but I just do not believe any athletic field was ever layed out and maintained to that degree of precision. Land sags and heaves over fairly short periods of time.  Therefore there should not have been a WR in any of the long throwing events if that standard of levelness were required. GB)

A couple of Randy's throws from that period
That fully discussed, let's jump a week ahead to the matter at hand. The scene is the Southwest Conference Championships at College Station, Texas. Randy Matson, the world record holder in the shot put at 69-0¾, steps into the ring. When he exits, he has increased his record a jaw dropping foot and a half to 70-7. That this is the greatest record in the history of the sport is not up for discussion. In a month he has raised the world record 2' 9” or 4.06%. He is currently 6'7 ¼” better than the next best shot putter in the world. He credits his improvement to weight lifting that has enabled him to gain 50 pounds since high school.
On this same day, 1660 miles to the west, the West Coast Relays are being held in Fresno. The gun is up for the 440 relay in which the world record of 39.9 is held by the Australian national team. The crowd is anticipating a tight race among New Mexico (40.3), Cal (40.3) and San Jose State (40,4). This is what they get and then some.
Wayne Herman puts San Jose State in the lead at the first pass, but because Stanford makes a great pass from Eric Fische to Dale Rubin, the Indians have the advantage down the straight. Rubin makes an efficient pass to long jumper Bob McIntyre who holds a slight lead at the final exchange to Stanford's only national class sprinter, Larry Questad. Once again the Indians execute a perfect pass and Questad can't be caught. Stanford's best time this season is 40.8. They were given no chance to win but that is less a surprise than the time, 39.7, a new world record. Questad wins the 100 later in the evening in 9.3, but Frische is a 9.5 guy, Rubin a 9.6 and the best McIntyre has run is 9.8. Individually they don't stack up with the competition, yet with perfect passing, the job gets done. San Jose State and New Mexico take second and third, both in 40.1, with Cal fourth in 40.4. A 440 relay record is nothing new for coach Payton Jordan.
In 1938 he ran on the USC team which lowered the WR to 40.5.
Western powers Oregon State, Brigham Young, UCLA and San Jose State are taking each other on in the distance medley. Mike Gibeau of San Jose gives the Spartans the lead at the end of the 880 leg with a 1:49,5 split, but UCLA's Dennis Breckow is just inches back in the same time. Bob Frey gives the Bruins the lead with his 47.8 leg, but loses ground to BYU as Bob Tobler brings the Cougars to within three yards with his 45.7. UCLA's German import, Arnd Kruger, runs his 1320 in 2:58.3 to lead BYU's Bob Richards by six yards at the final pass, but Pete Mewett's 2:56.9 is the fastest split and brings his Beavers into contention. Although BYU's Bob Delany surprises with a 4:00.1, UCLA's victory is not in doubt. Bob Day runs an easy looking 3:58.4 to salt away the victory with a world best 9:34.0. BYU is second in 9:36.2. Oregon State, with Morgan Groth running a disappointing 4:07.8, falls back to third at 9:44.6, barely holding off Stanford's Paul Schlicke who runs 4:06.0 to finish in the same time. These are the top four times in the country this year.
The Bruins were set to take on Oklahoma State in the two mile relay, but Bob Day suffers a cramp and they scratch, leaving the Cowboys without significant opposition. Surprising LA State has the lead at the first exchange, but then OSU's John Perry breaks the race open with his 1:47.5 and now it is the Cowboys against the clock. 
Lower Right, Jim Metcalf and Tom Von Ruden
Tom Von Ruden does his job with a 1:49.3 and even though Dave Perry, recovering from strep throat, can do no better than 1:51.0, they break Villanova's record by six tenths in 7:18.4.

This is how Jim Metcalf who ran first leg of that race for OSU remembers the events.

"The reason LA State, I thought is was San Diego State; anyway, the reason they had the lead was that I had trouble runinng fast times solo as a soph. I had run 1:52+ lead off at Kansas or we would have broken the record. at Drake, I ran 1:50 and change because Ohio University ran their third best guy, a 1:49 man, first ,in hopes of getting a lead, then their second guy who was slow could finish even with John and then they had Barry Sugden and Darnell Mitchell who had been on the US national team.
I beat their guy about 5 yards and and by the time John got thru with their second guy the race was over.... and we held them off with Dave being ill.
At Fresno, Hig convinced a buddy of his who was coach at LA State to run his anchor man lead off so I would have someone to run off of. He ran1:49 and I ran 1:50.7...their other three guys were just average. that is why they had the lead after the first leg."

They weekend of the big relay meets, Penn, Drake and Mt. SAC disappoints in comparison. At Penn the biggest news is the high school triple jump record of 49-5 by Bob Beamon of Jamaica High. Smog and 90 degree heat are negative factors at Mt. SAC, but Ed Burke supplies the highlight by beating world record holder Hal Connolly by four inches in the hammer throw with a personal best of 221-2.
Cold weather and a damp track are obstacles at Drake, yet Baylor and Southern put up marks that defy the conditions. After Ohio University takes the first section of the sprint medley in 3:17.7, just two tenths off Oregon State's collegiate record, Baylor erases the Beavers from the record board in the second section, running 3:17.0 on the strength of Rex Garvin's 1:47.7 anchor.
The Jaguars of Southern dominate the sprint relays, winning in 40.5, 1:23.2 and 3:06.5 with the latter being the fastest mile relay in the world this year. Two weeks later they lower that mark to 3:05.7.
Clarence Robinson with his coach Hugh Hackett, a local HS football and track coach in Albequerque; came to UNM as head track coach in 1958
The best mark of the big relay meet weekend belongs to New Mexico's Clarence Robinson who used the Drake long jump runway to record a leap of 26-9¾, equal to third on the all time list.
Remember last month's report of Jim Ryun claiming the high school mile record at 4:04.8, a mark inferior to his 3:59.0 of last year which didn't count because it was achieved in open competition? No need to fret further about this injustice. In the Kansas state meet he passes the 1320 in 3:02.0 then turns on the afterburners for a 56.3 final lap and a high school record of 3:58.3, also the fastest time in the world this year. One wonders what he can do with competition.
Ryun's HS race May 1965 3:58.3

Speaking of national high school records, there is a new one in the long jump where Johnny Johnson of tiny Pacific Grove HS in California jumped 25-4¾ to better the mark of Oscar Bean by ¼ of an inch. Oh, remember that Beamon kid who set the TJ record? He's second at 25-2.
There are intriguing circumstances in the game of musical coaching positions that seems to be going on. In an earlier report we told you that Kansas assistant, Bob Timmons, Jim Ryun's former high school coach, was going to Oregon State as an assistant and would replace Sam Bell who would become the new coach at Cal at the end of the season and that Ryun would be joining Timmons in Corvallis. Now we read that San Mateo College coach Berny Wagner will be the new Oregon State coach and that Bill Easton, the respected long time coach at Kansas, is being fired. Could this all be related somehow? More news as it becomes available.
(If anybody wants to reopen this can of worms, they can send a comment via the comments section below.  I think I know the story, but it is pretty touchy amongst those who were in Lawrence in those days and the succeeding years.  Maybe this is a journalistic cop out, but I'll wait a few weeks before telling the story as I have heard it. GB)

1 comment:

Richard Trace said...

Noooooo....we can't stand a wait of a few weeks.

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