On This Date in College Track And Field History: March 15
The track and running world has come to a screeching halt in an effort to battle the spread of COVID-19. In an effort to fill the void I’m taking a deep dive into my various archives and pulling up what I find in the history of college track and field.
1997, Berkeley, CA: Meb Keflezighi won the 1500 meters in 3:47.41 to lead his UCLA Bruins to a win over Cal and Idaho. Amy Acuff won the high jump (1.87/6-1½) as the UCLA women defeated Cal and Nevada.
1985, Oklahoma City, OK: Arkansas won their third straight men’s NCAA indoor championship while Alabama won their first – or so it seemed. Later that spring it was found that Liz Lynch, who won a mile-3000 double for the Crimson Tide, took prize money at two road races (one just a week before the NCAA indoor meet), she was declared ineligible, the title was stripped, and head coach John Mitchell resigned. The meet itself had problems: the lack of a curb meant all multi-lap distances were short, and the final day attendance of 4,379 was shockingly poor.
AP wire story
1980, Detroit, MI: Suleiman Nyambui easily won a mile-2mile double at the new Joe Louis Arena to lead his UTEP Miners to the NCAA indoor championship team title. UTEP scored in 10 of the 18 events, and coach Ted Banks’ reliance on older foreign athletes led to a new rule effective that fall that restricted years of competition after age 20. Texas A&M’s Curtis Dickey won the 55 meters, his last collegiate race before entering the NFL draft.
AP wire story
1969, Detroit, MI: Jim Ryun nipped Marty Liquori in a near-dead heat to win the mile at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Both were given the identical time of 4:02.6. Ryun’s win clinched the team title for his Kansas Jayhawks over Liquori’s Villanova Wildcats. Liquori still believes he actually won this race, and it was the last time that Ryun ever beat him in their nine head-to-head meetings.
1968, Detroit, MI: Jim Ryun won the 2-mile on the first day of the NCAA Indoor Championships with a hard last lap, handing two-time defending champion Gerry Lindgren his first ever defeat in a college championship. Two world indoor records were set by Villanova’s Larry James (47.0 for 440 yards) and UTEP’s Bob Beamon (27-2¾). Beamon entertained the crowd of 8,380 with more than “just” a world record as he had a foul measured at 27′ 7¼” and also won the triple jump. AP wire story
1958, Tucson, AZ: USC’s Rink Babka threw the discus 183-11 to break the Arizona Stadium record previously held by Sim Iness. The Trojans won all but one event in the triangular with a final score of USC 115½, Arizona 32, New Mexico 14½. Only one other collegian threw that far in all of 1958, Kansas’ Al Oerter, who tied Babka for the win at the NCAA Championships.
1947, Chicago, IL: Illinois’ Herb McKenley broke the world indoor 440 yard record with a run of 47.9 at the Illinois Tech Relays held in the University of Chicago field house. The old record was his own 48.0 set a week earlier at the Big Ten Championships. The record previous to that had been held by Bob Ufer, who was later known as Michigan football’s longtime radio announcer.
Daily Illini article
1941, Cleveland, OH: Georgetown’s Al Blozis broke the world indoor shot put record with a mark of 56-4½ at the annual Knights of Columbus meet at the Cleveland Arena.
1924, Evanston, IL: Illinois’ Dean Brownell broke the world indoor pole vault record with 13-⅝ as his Illini won the team championship. Illinois so dominated the competition that second place Michigan had only half of Illinois’ score.
Daily Illini article