Tuesday, January 26, 2016

V 6 N. 6 Trail, British Columbia, a Gold Mine of Track and Field

According to Statistics Canada, Trail, British Columbia's  population was 7,320 during the Canada 2001 Census.  It is the site of the world's largest non ferrous lead and zinc smelter.  Sounds invigorating.  

You may think not much goes on in Trail, BC 10 Km north of the US border.  Well, they do produce their fair share of NHL hockey players as mentioned on Wikipedia.  There's no mention of track and field in that source, but here's a story about their track and field legends.

 We often find these  stories when we are not looking for them.  This one fits that classification.  In the preceding posting on this blog I was searching for a picture of Paul Pearson, a near four minute miler from Canada in the mid 1970s.    I typed in 'Paul Pearson Canada Track and Field' on google and found no photographic reference to Paul, but I did see the photo below and was intrigued by it, especially the guy in the sweater and bow tie. Plus the guy in the middle was holding what looked like a pair of track shoes.    I thought , "Is this Bill Nye, the Science Guy's father?"  So I clicked on the photo and up popped the answer.
The Haley Brothers Pat, Joe and Paul of Trail, British Columbia

No relation to Bill Nye, but two of the guys Pat and Joe Haley have a pretty decent track history.  Previously the only thing I knew about Trail, BC was it being the home of the  Trail Smoke Eaters hockey team that won the world hockey championship in 1961 when that championship was still played by amateurs.  In an old Chad Mitchell Trio album one of the singers Mike Kobluk mentioned that he was from Trail, home of the Smoke Eaters.  That was my only neurological connection to Trail.   So let me tell you about the Haley boys.

First let's mention Joe who is seen holding the track spikes in the picture. These were probably the spikes that legend says were home made  when lack of funding made those kinds of thriftiness part of one's daily routine.   In 1934, Joe competed for Canada  in the Empire games pulling in a silver in the high jump.  In 1936 he was the first Canadian Olympian to represent Trail, BC in the Olympic Games where he was in a ten way tie for 12th place at 1.85m.   He also competed in the '37 Empire Games (6th place) and once held the Canadian high jump record.

Grey haired Pat on the left was a first class sprinter although the 1940 Olympic games of Tokyo that were cancelled due to WWII would have been his chance for international fame.  He was a 9.5  100 yard sprinter running at Washington State.  Undefeated for two straight years in the Pacific Northwest.  Then in 1937 ,  with Pat, running for Canada's 4x110 yard relay at the Empire games he became  a gold medal winner, and his Canadian team set a World Record in gaining that victory.
Pat Haley

We found nothing about the third Haley brother  Paul on the right except we surmised he was the Beau Brummel of the family with a tremendous sweater collection and not shy about  wearing them in public.

As we'll see, a number of Trail, BC track boys drifted south to Pullman to compete for the Cougars.

Next on the Trail honor roll is Tony Tenisci
Tony Tenisci
Trail has a large Italian community and Tony proudly represents that heritage.   He  also starts raising the ante in Trail track and field.   In 1968, 69, and 70 he was Canadian Senior champion in the hammer throw.  In 1968 he also held the North American Junior record in the event as well as the world indoor record.   Frankly I never knew there was an indoor hammer record.

He too drifted down to the US and competed for Washington State and was an All American in 1969, 70, 71 and 73.  He participated in both the Commonwealth Games and Pan Am Games in 70 and 71.  He went on to establish the first women's team at Washington State as head coach from 1978 to 1983 and then moved on to the University of Pennsylvania where became  one of the top technical coaches in the US and has published numerous articles.  He is also the Director of Throwing Events at the Penn Relays.  His NCAA history is   1969  3rd  186-1,  1970 7th 188-7, 1971  8th 186-5, and 1973 7th  190-1.

Diane Gerace

Diane was a silver medallist for Canada in the HJ at the 1963 Pan Am Games.  She also held the BC records in the Shot Put, Long Jump, and High Jump and Pentathlon.  She was on the Canadian team at the 1964 Olympic Games finishing 5th in the High Jump with 1.71 m and 15th in the Pentathlon.

Don Bertoia

Next comes Don Bertoia who has a Pan Am gold medal in the 800 meters in Sao Paulo (1963) that was also a games record at the  time.  To boot he earned a bronze in the 1500.  In 1960 he won the Canadian indoor 800 and also represented Canada at the 64  Olympics in Tokyo.  In 1962 he picked  up a bronze at the NCAA's   competing for the Washington State Cougars  with a 1:48.5 timing.

Theresa Lenardon
Theresa Lenardon (Center)
In 1980, Theresa was Pan Am Games Heptathlon champion.

Gerry Moro

Gerry Morro at one time held the Canadian pole vaulting record.  Competed for Oregon.  He was a member of the Canadian Olympic teams in 1964 and 1972.  In 1965 Gerry placed third in the NCAA pole vault with a jump of 15' 8 1/2".

Garry Hill  

We're obviously saving the best for last.  Garry Hill's history with Trail is best said by the boys at the Trail  Hall of Honor.   Here is their write up.

"Like all good Trail kids,  Garry Hill had dreams of being a big sports star, but this 1965 graduate of J.L. Crowe (HS) never got any farther than being the BC juvenile boys record holder in the triple jump and earning a track and field scholarship to Washington State University.

In 1969 when it came time for him to graduate with a degree in Bacteriology and Public Health, he had a choice between running a sewage plant and moving to California and going to work for Track and Field News,  'the bible of the sport'. The choice was easy.

Garry started in the postion of Statistician and became one of the youngest members ever in the Association of Track and Field Statisticians, creating several innovations in the sports's record keeping which have been adopted worldwide.

In the 35+ years at the magazine, Garry moved through the ranks, eventually becoming editor and co-owner of the pubication for the last 18  years.  In conjunction with his work at the magazine, Garry has become one of the world's preeminent track and field public address announcers, working regularly for the IAAF, headquartered in Monaco.

Garry announced both the 1996 and 2004 Olympic Games in Atlanta and Athens, and also manned the microphone at World Championship competitions in seven different nations between 1991 and 2004.  Next year as a run-up to the 2008 Olympics, he will be announcing the World Junior Championships in Beijing.     This obviously could be updated. ed.  Not to worry, he got the 2012 Olympic  games as well..

Outside the realm of statistics, some of Garry's editorial work can be found at 
From the Editor TF&N
Since this blog was founded on the basis of summarizing old Track and Field News issues, we'd like to thank Garry for not suing us and shutting us down.   And once again I think you can see how often the stories just seem to write themselves.

So here's to the town of Trail, BC and their contributions to the sport of Track and Field.

For  more information on the town of Trail:

Trail Home of Champions

Trail BC Wikipedia


Loved the photo of Don Bertoia, my teammate at Washington State University in the early sixties.  I was very much in awe of him
when I turned out for the track team my freshman year.  He was a year or two ahead of me in school, and as they say, was the real deal.

Note the condition of the track surface we ran on in the those days.  
Immediately behind Don is the Student Union Building, where I spent a lot of time.  
In the background is the Library, where I should have spent that time.  

The track no longer exists in that location, nor do the stands behind Don, which were sadly empty at the time.
The track had a 220 straight-away that melded into the 440 oval at the homestretch, common for track facilities in those days.
The 220 yard dash and 220 yard hurdles could be run on the straight-away or the curve.

Brings back fond memories of good times long ago.


Jim Allen      

For those who don't recall, Jim Allen was the No. 2 ranked 400IH hurdler in the world in 1963.  Injury kept him off the 64 Olympic team.  ed.

Jim Allen interview

Garry Hill sent these additional bits of information about Trail, BC.

Few other tidbits.

Pat Haley (a mucky-muck at the local power company) hired me for summer work when I was in college.

Diane Gerace is the mother of former Laker/movie star Rick Fox.

Gerry Moro was Oregon’s first 16-footer (at a time when it meant something; believe it made the main front page of the Eugene Register-Guard)

The first ever NCAA Indoor pole vault champ (’65) was another Trail guy, Bob Yard of Washington State.

You mentioned lots of hockey people, but it should also note that Trail was also the home of the National League rookie of the year for ’04, Jason Bay.

When I was inducted into Trail’s Hall of Fame (for t&f journalism, not my physical skills!), also in the class was not only Bay, but also another rookie of the year (hockey). I was in tough company! 

Phil Scott adds:  Gerry Moro was also a great Decathlete and was Sam Adams UCSB assistant for many years. He now owns a Winery in Northern California. I talked him not long ago.

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