Friday, October 13, 2017

V 7 N. 68 May, 1967

MAY 1967

    Let's say you have the power to transport yourself back half a century to April and May of 1967 and can watch one meet. Which would you choose: Mt. SAC Invitational, Drake Relays, Penn Relays, West Coast Relays or San Jose Invitational? Be careful.....Are you sure?....Really?......Well, you're wrong as you will agree when you have read further.
    April 28-29 has more track than you can shake a baton at. Working our way across the county we have Penn, Drake and Mount SAC. This edition of the Penn Relays is significant because Franklin Field has entered the 20th century. Yes, the venerable cinder track on which the first 72 meets have been run has been replaced by a $200,000 Tartan track and the results are spectacular. The meet record in the mile relay had been 3:11.8. Rice clips nearly five seconds from that with a 3:06.9 clocking and the other five teams in the final all qualified with sub 3:11.4 clockings.
    The highlight of the Drake Relays, viewed by a capacity crowd of 18,000, is Jim Ryun's celebration of his 20th birthday. On Friday night he takes the baton on the anchor leg of the four mile relay down 50 yards to Kansas State's Conrad Nightingale. With winds gusting as high as 36 mph, he isn't able to close much ground on the first three laps, but on the last lap the magic that is Jim Ryun is on display with a 54.0 finish to catch the K-Stater 15 yards from the tape with a split of 3:59.1 for a total time of 16:43.0.
Not the same race described but a similar result.  This was 1969
    Saturday afternoon sees Ryun getting the baton for the anchor mile of the distance medley just a few steps behind Georgetown's Bob Zieminski. He catches, then follows Zieminski with laps of 56.8, 62.5 and 62.4 before shifting into overdrive. His 53.9 final go round produces a 3:55.6 mile and brings the Jayhawks home in 9:33.8, the fastest DMR ever recorded, two tenths better than UCLA's 9:34.0.

Conrad Nightingale
Dr. Conrad Nightingale now runs the Hill Country Veterinary Clinic
in Bandera, TX

Ed. Note:  Both men would go on to represent the US in Mexico City, Ryun at 1500 and Nightingale in the Steeplechase.
    Most of the 10,000 watching the Mt. San Antonio Relays will opine that the winds harmed the meet. The discus throwers will disagree as the 25 mph quartering gusts delight the big boys. Jay Silvester, returning after a year off with a shoulder injury, throws 203-6. Bill Neville cranks out 202-9 and Jon Cole throws 199-4.
Jay Silvester
    How often do you get the two best college teams in the country going against each other in a dual meet these days? Okay, let's rephrase that. How often do any teams have a dual meet? Return with us now to those golden days of yesteryear, specifically May 6, 1967 when the Trojans of USC and the Bruins of UCLA tangle for the mythical dual meet national championship.
    The Trojans win 10 of the 15 events but the Bruins take 14 second places and win both relays to score a lopsided 83-62 win. Earl McCullouch gets a great start and beats Ron Copeland in the highs in a slightly wind-aided 13.3 to 13.4. McCullouch also takes the long jump in 25-2¼. Lennox Miller takes the sprints in 9.4 and 20.6. SC's Geoff     Vanderstock and UCLA's Roger Johnson come off the last hurdle in the 440 intermediates together but Vanderstock wins the run in 50.2 to 50.6, the fastest times in the world this year. Bob Seagren vaults 17-0½, his bestin six weeks. Gary Carlsen takes the discus at 196-8.
    In essence, the meet comes down to the relays which the Bruins win by oh, such a slight margin. The 440 relay sets the tenor of the day with the Bruins team of Bernard Okoye, Don Domansky, Ron Copeland and Harold Busby coming out on top by a tenth in a world and college record tying 39.6, but not American record as the first two are foreigners.
    By the time the mile relay is run the meet has been decided, but the Bruins aren't letting up, winning by two tenths in 3:11.1, Had the Trojans taken both relays, it would have been a one point meet in which a Bruin stumble could have been the decider.
Remember our challenge to pick one meet? The West Coast Relays might bear some consideration. The first balmy weather of the season combined with a “lightning fast” (dirt) track produce two world records, three American records and four collegiate records.
    Bud Winter has preached world record at Fresno to his San Jose State 880 relay team. The four young men do not disappoint. Ken Shakelford leads off in 21.1. Bob Talmadge stretches the lead with a 20.5 leg. Lee Evans takes off too soon and has to slow to keep from running out of the zone thus producing a less than optimal (for him) 21.1. Not to worry, as Tommie Smith is on the anchor leg, And what an anchor leg it is, 19.4, the fastest 220 split ever recorded. The Spartan foursome delight their coach with a 1:22.1 clocking, reducing Abilene Christian's record set in 1958 and again in 1961 by half a second. Without Evan's faux pas, one wonders how low the record would have gone. Actually it's a two for one special as the 800 meter record goes in the books as well.
    These guys aren't sitting in the stands, downing hot dogs and cokes. No, 35 minutes later the same quartet is up for the mile relay. This time the lead off duties fall to Talmadge who responds with a 47.5 effort. Shakelford holds the lead with a 46.4 second lap. So far, so good, but no indication of what is to come. Evans makes up for his earlier impatience by joining Smith in the “fastest split ever” club with a 44.2. Smith's 45.3 is nearly a disappointment. The 3:03.5 clocking knocks a full second off the American record held by Arizona State and Southern University, but falls seven tenths short of Trinidad's world record.
    May 19 finds us in Eugene for the AAWU meet. Let's take a side trip down the historical acronym trail. The Athletic Association of Western Universities is what the PAC-12 is now.....sorta kinda. The founding group in 1958 was USC, UCLA, Washington and California. Stanford hopped on board a month later. Washington State joined in 1962, followed by Oregon and Oregon State in 1964. The group was also known as the Pac-8.
    Today the one US city that is a track and field hotbed is Eugene. Fifty years ago it was the same. With UCLA and USC coming off that great dual meet, the Ducks of Oregon are facing an uphill climb. Yes, the Trojans and Bruins score big in most events, but the Ducks did then what they do now, dominate the distances. With 80 points in the 880, mile, two mile and steeplechase, the local lads tally 129 points, leaving SC (107) and UCLA (87) in their wake. Superduck, Neil Steinhauer's 66-4¼ is the top mark. SC's and Jamaica's Lennox Miller leads the way for SC with 9.3 and 20.6 wins in addition to anchoring the winning 440 relay in 39.9. Fred Kuller and that football guy, OJ Simpson, take second and third in the 100 in 9.4 and 9.5 and, along with Earl McCullough, help out on the relay
    Tommie Smith and Lee Evans have been running crazy fast splits on San Jose State's great relay teams but they don't run against each other......until the afternoon of May 20 at the San Jose Invitational on their home track. The race will be at 440 yards with the 400 meter and 440 yard world records the obvious goal. The history books need to be consulted to find the last race either has lost. For both of them that would be 1964.
    The stadium seats 1000, no problem for most meets. This day the crowd swells to 5000, “many of them stacked five and six deep standing along the backstretch, others perched on rooftops and more on telephone poles”.
    The record for the 440 is 44.9 set in 1963 by Adolph Plummer. Four hundred and forty yards is 402.3 meters. Obviously Plummer passed 400 meters in less time but as there was no watch at this distance, Plummer's metric record is also 44.9. This tied him with Otis Davis and Carl Kaufman in the 1960 Olympics and Mike Larabee in the 1964 Olympics. Okay, are we clear on this? As their will be times at both distances, today's race will clean up this awkward bookkeeping mess.
    There are others in the race, but the crowd's attention is focused on Tommie Smith in lane three and Lee Evans in four. The problem Evans has is that not only does Smith have better basic speed, but relay legs have proven him to be a great come from behind finisher. What to do?
    At the gun Evan's strategy is obvious, take it out hard, open up a lead and hope to hang on. His 100 meter splits are 10.9 and 21.7, putting him up by two tenths at the halfway mark. In the third 100 Smith switches to his “Tommie-jet” gear, passing his teammate and opening up a three tenths lead at 330 yards in 33.5 seconds. Now it is a matter of holding on and hold on he does, crossing the finish in 44.5 for meters and 44.8 for yards. Evans is clocked at 45.3 for yards. No split is given for meters (Sorry, Lee, we only have one watch at the 400).
    Let's revisit your choice of which meet you would want to see. Unless you picked the San Jose Invitational, we were right, weren't we?
Charley Greene
Bits and pieces: When asked why he wears dark glasses when sprinting, Charlie Greene replied, “For reentry.” note: If you haven't researched Charlie on the internet, it would behove you to do so. Track isn't the only thing he has done well.....Tracy Smith is pleased with Mihali Igloi's coaching regimen. After having run a world leading 8:32.6 two mile in the West Coast Relays, the former Oregon State star says, “I am working harder than I ever thought I could. Coach Igoli has me running five hours a day. But he let me rest before this meet. I only ran an hour this morning.”......Page 17 sports a photo of a high jumper clearing a personal best of 6-10¾ in a flawed execution of a unique style. The caption explains the procedure. “He runs away from the bar, makes his approach, then pivots around on his final take-off.” Simple as that. Okay, kids, you now know enough to try this at home. The jumper is Dick Fosbury, a kid at Oregon State. Wonder if this will catch on.
    Now it's time to take a stroll down Advertisement Memory Lane. Do you remember what you were buying or hoping to buy in 1967? How about the Puma #275 track shoe? Or, if you want a step up, the Puma #295 Mexico with the patented heel protector and unbreakable bottom? These babies have a large foam padded tongue with lacing guide, special rubber reinforcement at the ball of the foot and uppers of Super Kangaroo Suede in red or blue. They're available from Sports Beconta, Inc. in New York or San Francisco. Live in Piqua, Ohio and you'll have to buy from their catalog which also offers glass and steel vaulting poles, javelins, discuses, starting blocks, standards and measuring devices.
    Turn the page and we have ALUMINUM spill proof rocker hurdles that are streamlined, carefree and safe (yes, carefree). They are the first choice for “Tartan” tracks. The catalog is available from Aluminum Athletic Equipment Co., Box 145, Wynnewood, PA 19096.

    The next ad brings a tear to your reporter's eye. “HOW THEY TRAIN” 880 to 6 Miles. Somewhere in a box stored in a cabinet somewhere there is a copy. The cover has been torn and mended with tape. Track and Field News, Box 296 Los Altos, CA 94022.
Half of page 9 is devoted to Nutrament, “the proven pre-competition meal”. Much as you loved it before, it now has 25% more protein and, in addition to chocolate, vanilla and cherry, comes in rich Dutch Chocolate.
    A whole page of stopwatches available from T&F News. Another nostalgic moment. Your reporter had the Minerva 10 second split. It was the most wonderful item he ever held in his hand. Long after his coaching days this marvelous piece of machinery was stored in its box in his desk. Upon occasion it would be taken out, held, started and stopped a couple times and put back. Loaned it to a friend only 6-7 years ago. Thought he got it back, but can't find it. Life in a microcosm.
    Remember Track Newsletter, the mimeographed few pages full of results that “speeds to you each week during the peak of the season by Air Mail.” That would be 24 issues each year for $6.
    Puma isn't the only company with a shoe named for next year's Olympics. The Brooks Mexico City 68 “is the strongest lightweight track shoe ever made”. Yep, lighter than those unnamed German imports. In case your patriotic fervor isn't stirred, the ad writer cuts right to the chase. “America is the best track nation in the world and this American made shoe is the best track shoe in the world.” Hard to counter logic like that.
A quarter of the next page is taken by an ad for the New Balance Trackster which looks like the saddle shoes you wore at the sock hop. The ad writers have hit upon “More Hustle” as the prime selling point. Half the following page is devoted to Riddell Gold Award Racing Shoes which are “fit for action” and give you “more speed, comfort and wear per ounce”. The catalog is available at 2720 S. Des Plaines Ave, Des Plaines, Illinois 60018.
    Of course you remember the ever present ad which always graced the last page. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, concentrate.....yes, there it is, the full page Adidas ad, which in this case promotes the virtues of the Tokyo 64. There are three numbered facts that the good folks in Munich would like you to remember: 1) Adidas was the first to manufacture track shoes with four spikes. 2) If it hadn't been for Adidas there would be no superlight track shoe with removable spikes. 3) Adidas and only Adidas is permitted to sell a shoe of reverse suede kangaroo in the U.S. (That would be the result of US patent no. 3,224,117.)
    Okay, that's it for this month. Remember we'll be meeting at the Dew Drop Inn 5:30 Friday. Last one buys the second round. Be prepared to give a report on Charlie Greene's post track career. Note: that patent number may be on the quiz.        Roy Mason

Editor's Note:   Roy Mason, our esteemed colleague and co-conspirator, writes these wonderful synopses of  T&FN each month sort of.  Well, really whenever he feels like it.  Because he finally got this one out, five months late,  the board has decided that he can stay on staff but at a reduced salary.  Also his office will be moved from a corner room overlooking Monte Carlo, and back down to the broom closet at the end of the hall.

And of further note.   Roy lives in Ukiah, CA and is currently surrounded by the spreading wildfires in that state.  Please keep him in your thoughts as well as everyone else living in that tinderbox.

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