Friday, February 26, 2016

V 6 N. 19 Still More Conversations with Darryl Taylor Part Three

This series of emails between Darryl, David Perry, and Dave Kemp center around the 1966 AAU indoor 2 mile relay championship race in Albequerque.   Darryl , David Perry, Dave Kemp, and Dave Mellady competed for the 49er Track Club in this event.

Hello Roy and George-Love all these great articles from what would be the final hurrah for this old 49er!  The 1966 and 1967 Indoor season saw some of the US's top middle distance runners heading West and joining the newly formed "49er Track Club".  I was most fortunate to participate is a series of indoor 2-Mile Relay events with these super-stars while getting my feet wet as a high school English Teacher and Track/X-C coach. I was reluctant to give up what gave me the most profound feeling of achievement and as a result I was able to contribute to some great team victories.
In 1966 we put together a mixed bag of runners for the National AAU Indoor Championships being held in Albuquerque New Mexico's 5000 ft. elevation. 
Dave Kemp-former Marine runner and LA State runner
Dave Mellady-former Marquette, Chicago Track Club and US Marine
Dave Perry-fomer Oklahoma State standout and brother of John Perry
Darryl Taylor-Long Beach State
At some point in our careers, all of us had run under 1:50 outdoors with Dave Perry easily to top talent on our team. Dave came West for this meet after signing with the 49ers so this was his first race on our team. Kemp, Mellady and I had competed against each other several times before teaming up with the 49ers to win the Los Angeles Times Indoor Games.  Splits were encouraging, especially if we could find a replacement for Jim Schultz who didn't break 2:00 on the lead off which put us in a hole right from the gun. Dave Kemp ran 1:56, I ran 1:54 and Mellady ran 1:54 to win the race (as I recall). Something around 7:45.  Mellady ran a 4:08 Mile in an all-comers meet so he was in racing shape while my training partners and I averaged 63.8 for 20x440 the following week. We all felt like we had three parts of the puzzle ready to go. February turned to March and on the 4th we flew to New Mexico where Tom Jennings introduced us to the 4th piece of the puzzle, Dave Perry. A good night's sleep, early arrival at Tingley Stadium Fairgrounds and a good warm-up in the converted Rodeo arena and we were ready to test out our newly minted relay team. With Schultz now at home, Dave Kemp put us on the right track as he blasted 1:51.7 right out of the blocks. I took the 2nd carry and ran 1:51.8 so everything was working perfectly. Dave Mellady, in a slightly off night ran 1:53.9 and gave the baton to Dave Perry. Whoa! That guy took off, never looked back and depending on whose splits you looked at ran either 1:49.9 or 1:50.1. Winning time was a close shave at the world indoor record for an indoor 2 Mile relay at 7:27.4. 
At the banquet, when they announced the winners of our event they simply said that the winning relay team consisted of "Three Daves and a Darryl". We cracked up at that!
Here are a couple of photos of that night, for me a very meaningful race for the National Championship.

     Dave Perry      Dave Mellady       Darryl Taylor       Dave Kemp
Three Daves and a Darryl at Awards Banquet  
Recent Stanford Graduate and new recruit Harry McCalla at lower Right

Oh, what a night that was!  I'll go a little farther back in time, to the West Coast Relays at Fresno.  I remember running the 2 mile relay that night.  I ran leadoff leg for CalState-LA.  We were a "courtesy" entry into the big race that included USC and Ok.State.  If memory serves me right the Ok.St. team consisted of Tom VonRudden, Dave Perry, John Perry, and (this one I cannot remember)  Ed.  That fourth man was James Metcalf  The race was a great one for Cal-State LA, but Ok.St. and USC both broke the existing world record with Ok.St. getting the win on a great final 880 by Dave Perry.  As the race unfolded I could hear the announcer calling the race over the P.A.  What I remember most of all was him calling "Its the Cowboys and Trojans, Cowboys and Trojans"  over and over.  I thought to my self, "I'm in this race as well"  and was motivated to push hard.  I finished the first leg in first place with a 1:50.3 split.  Handed off to Sam Clayton who ran 1:50.4, then Dick Barton with 1:51.6.  Then, due to an injury to our normar #4 we had to use a 200 type guy who ended up running around 2:08.  Disappointing for us, but great for OSU and USC. 
The Race in Albuqurque was something else.  We got there a couple of days ahead of the race, but had only 3 runners.  Dave Mellady was back in Milwaukee attending to serious family business.  I recall calling him and he was out shoveling snow!  I said we really needed him for the race, so he was able to arrange a flt. to join us on the day of the race.   The race was tough, with each leg having the Lobo runners go out like rockets and getting big leads, with each of the 49'ers closing the gap to even at each handoff.  Dave Perry had such a great surge at the end of the final leg to eek out the win.  Afterward, I couldn't understand why I had such a headache and throwing up!  I was reminded we were about 7,000 ft elevation.  Then it all made sense.  The dinner afterward was a proud moment for all of us, but especially for Tom Jennings as he had put his heart and soul into the 49er Track Club.  This was such a great bunch of guys, and I just wish we could all have been together for a longer time.  Great Memories.  Great to see Dave Perry's comments.  No one was tougher than him.  -Dave Kemp

This is really nice of you to send this on .   It's the kind of thing I hoped to see more of from readers,  so I really get a kick  when something like this arrives.  We'll get this on really soon.   
Someone recently sent me a DVD of the 64 Colesium Relays.  Think I saw your blond head in one of the races.  I can send you a copy if you don't have one.  George


Dave Perry sent this to me.  I think it belongs on your desk as well.

Hi George,

Reading Darryl's letter brought back a memory of that night.  1966 was the

year after my senior year at Oklahoma State.  Coach Higgins had lined me

up to run a series of indoor meets all over the country.  Canada, East & West

coast.  Just prior to the AAU in Albuquerque, I had won the 600 at the LA

Times Indoor Meet, and met briefly for the first time my future 2MR teammates. 

Tom Jennings put us together to run at the AAU Indoor Championship shortly
after I joined the 49er Track Club.
What Darryl didn't mention was the great team fielded by New Mexico University,
and we were running on their home turf.  On that team was John Baker, the person
a movie was based on who sadly died of cancer at an early age, and Clark Mitchell,
one of the greatest high school half-milers in California track history.  Let's just say it
wasn't a walk in the park.  They were definitely the favorite that night.  It took a
helluva time to win, and a tremendous effort by everyone on our team.
It was a very memorable night, and I was fortunate to share it with        some really
great guys.  A gung-ho enthusiastic bunch who loved the sport.
Amazing that Darryl has such a detailed memory of that night so long past. 
We didn't realize it at the time, but some of those brief flashes in time would
have a way of crystalizing in our memory.  There was nothing quite like some of those experiences.                                                                                               
David (OSU '65)

From Roy after seeing this post

 The Jim Schultz mentioned maybe couldn't break 2:00(damn sure he could, but just maybe not at that time) but he sure kicked my ass when I was a 49er (name coming from the fact that the school "Bellflower"  was founded in 1949).  He was a Bellflower runner.  So was his much younger brother whom I coached at BHS.  Great kid who ran 2:01 or so and was a XC stalwart.\

DAVE KEMP breaks for the pole behind (?)  NYAC (?)  University of New Mexico (?)

Great crowd in the stands,   did the recent NCAA indoor meet draw than many?

Darryl Taylor waits for the baton while Dave Mellady races New Mexico (?)

                                 David Perry Finishes Off With a 1:49.9 and a Team 7:27.4

                  Note the timer having a smoke trackside.  Not an unusual sight in those days.
Dave Perry    Dave Mellady    Darryl Taylor    Dave Kemp

Former Marines congratulate each other after winning National title.

1 comment:

skwilli said...

Nice. The 4 x 800 is the best event in track and field.

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